Friday, December 19, 2008

Marvel Solicits - December 1983

Continuing my look at the Marvel subscription solicits of the '80s, I came across this one in issues cover dated December 1983: Doctor Strange summoned to spread the word of the return of the "4 Extra Issues" promo seen a little over a year earlier. And, by the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth! Even though the cost of an individual issue didn't change between '82 and '83, the subscription price has gone up by 50 cents, but the benefits and terms of the deal remain.

I like the idea that with his right hand he is magically unfurling the newspaper of choice for Marvel's Sorcerer Supreme: Conjurer's Courier (wonder how often that goes to press?). Notice how he is promoting this limited time offer with his words, but he also seems to be actually communicating through the mystic arts with his other hand as well.

In the list of titles Marvel was publishing at the time, US 1 is the only one I didn't recognize. After some interweb digging, here's what I was able to find out about it: It was a 12-issue series created by Al Milgrom and G.I. Joe's Herb Trimpe. If not cut from the same cloth, it certainly seems to be a spiritual brother to Marvel's motorcycle themed Team America that ended its 12-issue run the same month US 1 debuted. Other than that, the title seems pretty forgettable to all except those whose corner convenience stores carried it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cat's in the Cradle

My kiddo made a cloth-bound book for my wife and me in his second grade class that he gave to us last night. The book is titled The Important Thing about My Mom and Dad. It's four pages long: title page, page about mom, page about dad, about the author page. Here's the page about me:

And yeah, that's the Hulk he drew.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hercules Revisited

I had half of the issues of Bob Layton's Hercules: Prince of Power miniseries from '82 and '84 in the Original Collection, but my wife and I were at a local comic book show recently and I found both four-issue limited series for a buck each, so I figured it was time to fill that hole in the collection and in my Herc history.

I recognize the names of the comic book writers and artists of my youth, sure, but I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to recognizing their specific styles. But I do know I enjoyed Layton's work here when I viewed it through the nostalgic lens of a 12 year-old. Layton's irreverence plays perfectly with this over-the-top character.

The first series kicks off with Herc's father, Zeus, banishing him from Olympus until he learns true humility. This premise sets up a couple of fun single-issue adventures for Herc after picking up a Rigellian Recorder early in the first issue to document his exploits. I think the four issues are woven together perfectly and conclude with Galactus and Herc having a drink together, Galactus letting his hair down, and Herc bedding Frankie Raye. Good times!

The second series picks up with Herc still in exile and now permanently ditching the green-and-orange sash outfit for the black-and-red number. His Rigellian Recorder is still with him, but early on he picks up a Skrull outcast named Skyppi to the detriment of the story. The green-skinned shape-shifter is whiny, arrogant, childish, and played for laughs.

The up-side to this miniseries is the Thanos/Captain Marvel element, along with the use of Mentor and Eros on Titan (marred only by a Skyppi/Eros mistaken identity subplot that falls horribly flat). The last book draws the entire eight issue arc to a brawling father-son conclusion that I thought carried the appropriate weight, if a little bit too easy. But it does harken back to the beginning of the arc that began in the '82 series, and is ultimately satisfying.

So, to recap, the first series boils down to a little bit of sex, a lot of scrapin', and the search for a good drink. The second series brings Herc home with his lesson learned, but only after making us suffer through the unfortunate antics of a sidekick Skrull. "Embrace change," indeed.

But it was all worth the ride. So, dig 'em out of your collection if you've got 'em, or check out your quarter bins for some Mount Olympus-sized '80s fun!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Marvel Solicits - September 1982

I have been doubling back on the Original Collection lately and reading a lot of the old Marvel Comics miniseries from the '80s. Stuff like X-Men and the Micronauts, Magik, the Hercules sagas, and the Falcon. They take me back to my youth, but what really makes me feel like I'm 12 years-old again is all the peripheral noise around the stories. Rereading these as they were originally presented -- with all the great ads and Bullpen Bulletins and solicits -- kicks wide open the doors of childhood, replacing the stale air of memory with a fresh breeze of nostalgia. The Marvel subscription solicits are particularly fun. And I thought I'd scan and share some of them here in the coming days and weeks.

First up is Doctor Doom. This one from the first issue of the Bob Layton Hercules: Prince of Power limited series, cover dated September 1982. It holds particular sentimental value to me because the first comic book subscription I ever purch
ased was using one of the Doctor Doom solicits. I got 16 glorious issues of G.I. Joe for the price of 12, starting with issue #7 and running through issue #22. I didn’t need Doom to convince me that was a good deal, but I’m sure it didn’t hurt.