Saturday, 10 January 2015

FAVOURITE COMICS OF THE PAST PART THIRTY-THREE - 1974 MARVEL TREASURY SPECIAL GIANT SUPERHERO HOLIDAY GRAB-BAG...


All artwork images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Some mental images are indelible.  Such a one is me standing
in the entrance of my Secondary School's Technical Block, gazing
at the cover of GIANT SUPERHERO HOLIDAY GRAB-BAG
Volume 1.  I believe one of my classmates (who was a friend) was
there also, and we were waiting for the bell to ring at interval's
end to be allowed access to the 'Teckie' building.

The year was 1974 and I assume that it must have been
approaching the holiday season for such a publication to be on
sale.  If so, my schooldays were fast coming to an end, as, when
the school closed for Christmas, I wouldn't be returning after the
two week break.  To be honest, I'm surprised I was even there that
day, because I'd gotten into the habit of 'doggin' it ' (a word
which had an altogether different meaning back then) and
didn't usually attend with any degree of regularity.

See that building in the distance?  That was the Technical Block.
And the area to the right of the tree was the entrance...

Not for every period, that is.  I'd take my absence from a
few lessons and roam around the town centre, whiling away an
idle hour or two, before returning for the subjects I didn't quite mind
so much.  I suspect that it was on one such unsanctioned sojourn that
I'd bought the accompanying MARVEL Treasury  Edition, which
is why I had it with me in my schoolbag.  Looking at the replacement
I received today, my now-demolished school is miraculously re-
created and I'm again standing in that doorway waiting for
a now-silenced bell to ring once more.

...and this was the view (sans fence) that would've been mine from
the doorway over 40 years ago.  What you see  no longer exists 

It seems so close and so faraway in equal measure, and the
memories stirred within me are at once both sweet and sad at
the same time.  Sweet because I was but a youth, standing on the
threshold of the future;  sad because most of that future is long
behind me and I never seemed to see it as it passed me by.

Have you any fond reminiscences of this particular pub-
lication that you'd care to share?  Go on - re-live your youth
once more, before the moment passes beyond your ability
to recall and is gone forever!
  







22 comments:

Graham said...

I had this one!! I LOVED it. This was around the time that I started reading Marvel, so it was great to see these old stories.

My favorites were the DD/Subby battle royal with that great WW art (I didn't even realize at the time that DD had a different costume prior to this story) and of course the Hulk/Thing war. Seems like I had just gotten the FF Treasury Edition a few weeks before this one, so my Marvel education was running full steam ahead.

I was so glad that they came out with those Treasury Editions because it was a great way for us new readers to find out what had gone on before.

Kid said...

I loved them all, Graham, and had most of the early ones. The one reservation I had about them 'though, is that the pages were cropped from their original size, as the Treasury Editions were of slightly different dimensions. Also, FF #4 was slightly abridged from its original printing in one of the FF TEs. However, the bigger size certainly had visual impact.

Graham said...

When I started reading Marvel and DC, they were doing their Giant-Sizes, 100-Page Super Spectaculars, and the Marvel Treasury Edition/DC Limited Edition series. Plus DC was doing their larger-sized regular books, going from 48 to 52 eventually. That was a lot of room for reprints. I really was able to catch up pretty quickly with those.

Now it's so easy to find out things that happened in the past with each series, thanks to the internet and all these great blogs. Before, your resources were pretty limited.

The size and abridging really didn't bother me back then, because I didn't know any better. Knowing what I know now, it would though.

Kid said...

I only knew that the FF tale had been abridged because it was different from its appearance in The Mighty World of Marvel, which had also been abridged - but in a different way. (I'd also read it years before in Marvel Collectors' Item Classics, but hadn't retained it to do a comparison.) Nowadays, we have all these great Marvel Masterworks and Omnibus editions, but those first cut-up reprints yet have their own charm.

Colin Jones said...

I'd only started reading Marvel comics in November '74 so I suppose this would have been advertised in those early issues, I certainly remember that terrific festive cover. But the one I had was the 1975 Holiday Grab Bag, I assume you've got that, Kid ?

Gey Blabby said...

I think I might have this one still, lurking in a box somewhere. I liked the nice contents page by Romita, but I could have done without his alterations to Big John's cover.
The best thing about this issue, however, was the Black Widow story by Thomas, Colan & Everett. I had it originally in Amazing Adventures, where it was a back-up story to Neal Adams' Inhumans. To see it printed in the bigger size was wonderful and really suited Colan's art; to my young eyes his version of Natasha was incredibly sexy (see shower scene, for instance).

I was only brave enough to play truant once. it was the last two periods on a Friday (music), but what I failed to realise was that that was a favourite time for other people to dog it as well, so we ended up with six people off at the same time. Needless to say, first thing Monday we were all called up to the 'heedie's' office for three of the belt - our music teacher was an old woman and would have dropped dead if she'd had to belt us all herself that many times.

Kid said...

Yup, CJ, got it - and what's more, it's the actual copy I bought back in 1976.

******

It's a nice Special, GB - I'm glad to have it back again. When it comes to doggin' school, it helps if you can produce convincing forgeries of letters from a parent - luckily I was a master at it.

Colin Jones said...

Kid, by the time I was 16 (in 1982) you had to wait till Easter if you wanted to leave school. Also, in the run-up to Christmas and after the exams were over the teachers didn't seem to care if pupils didn't show up (we called it 'bunking off'). I remember at Christmas 1979 I took several days off after the exams and only showed up on the final day of term to collect my report but the teachers didn't say anything - usually though I went to school as normal in the run-up to Christmas, up to and including the age of 12 (in 1978) we'd bring in games and so on. But once we'd passed 13 all that stopped because obviously we were too "mature" to bring in games.

John Pitt said...

That Hulk/Thing scrap was a belter! I had recently discovered the Hulk in Smash and was telling a school mate about it, who told me he knew of him from a couple of years back and had a couple of old comics with him in which he would sell me or trade. So he brought these 2 old FF's in and what a surprise! The Hulk was GREEN!!
What I couldn't understand ( and still can't ) though, is all throughout the 2 issues he was known as BOB Banner!
And yet when I found more Marvel comics with him in ( TTA ), he was back to being Bruce again!

Kid said...

I could probably have left school sooner, CJ, by just not turning up. I doubt theteachers would've been bothered. For all I know, maybe I wasn't 'officially' supposed to leave until Easter (like you), but the start of the Christmas holidays just seemed like a natural point to leave - by simply not going back. In fact, I seem to dimly recall being asked if I was returning (some did), but I don't think I did, unless I've simply forgotten because it was for only a brief time.

******

Stan usually gave his characters alliterative names because he found it easier to remember them, JP. (Although he called Spidey Peter PALMER in ASM #1.) So, he knew Banner's name began with a 'B' when he was scripting that story and therefore simply called him Bob. In actual fact, his full name is Robert Bruce Banner, but I forget if he was called such before or after that classic Hulk/Thing battle. If he was known as that before, then Bob, being a nickname for Robert, is not really an error, I suppose.

Colin Jones said...

Kid, I didn't actually leave school at Easter myself as I stayed to do 'O' levels (then on to the 6th form) but Easter was the official earliest leaving date. Your mention of Peter Palmer is an amazing coincidence - I'm currently reading a book about the origins of Marvel called 'Marvelous Mythology' and only THIS MORNING did I first read of Peter being called Peter Palmer by mistake - I'd never heard of that before today but now twice in a few hours !!!

Kid said...

Cue Twilight Zone music...

John Pitt said...

I never knew of the Peter Palmer thing either. I'm going to HAVE to find some images from that AS-M#1 now with Palmer in!!

Kid said...

It was corrected for most subsequent reprints, JP, although the mistake has now been restored to recent Masterworks and Omnibus printings. Interestingly, it wasn't corrected for its reprinting in the 1968 Pow! Annual.

Colin Jones said...

Kid, I forgot to mention that the book I'm reading also said that Stan Lee originally intended the Invisible Girl to be PERMANENTLY invisible and she'd have to wear a lifelike mask in public rather like the Invisible Man and his bandages and sunglasses - I thought you might find that interesting given your lifelong affection for Sue Storm. And Johnny's ability to 'flame on' was originally going to be only for periods of 5 minutes at a time.

Kid said...

That's been common knowledge for years, CJ. It's in Stan's typed synopsis of the FF #1. I think I've known that for at least a quarter of a century. "Do keep up, 007."

P.S. Stan also said that the Comics Code wouldn't allow the Torch to throw fireballs, but Jack had him throwing them all the time and the Code didn't seem to object.

Colin Jones said...

Oh well, it was news to me - yes the fireballs thing was mentioned too. That Grab Bag cover reminds me that when I started reading POTA I'd see pictures of other Marvel characters like on that cover and I was fascinated especially by the Thing - a creature who seemed to be made of orange stones, how weird and wonderful was this new thing called Marvel comics !!

Kid said...

I keep forgetting you're but a lad, CJ. I'd first discovered the Marvel heroes in the Power Comics back in the mid-'60s, when the Thing's skin didn't look like rocks, it looked like dinosaur hide. I think they should have kept him the way he looked (huge, lumbering)in FF #1.

Colin Jones said...

Would you have kept his personality from FF #1, Kid ? Because in the beginning he was quite scary and aggressive - when The Complete FF came out in 1977 I was able to read the early FF stories for the first time and it was a real surprise to see how different the Thing was back then both in appearance and personality.

Kid said...

Yes, although, to be fair, that personality continued for a few issues before being softened somewhat when he became the FF's most popular member amongst fans. I preferred him as a monster, not the wise-cracking cartoon 'teddy bear' that he later became.

John Pitt said...

I think they called him Robert Bruce after the 2 Bob issues in response to letters about it, but I would need to check FF#27, but I reckon it was a gaff, Ian.

Kid said...

I know that's how Stan later explained the RBB name, saying it came about because of Bruce being called 'Bob' in the 2 FF issues, but given his bad memory, one never can tell. (I see what you did there.)

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