Sunday, February 07, 2016

Spidey Goes Back to the Future

Back and front cover to Marvel Treasury Edition featuring
the Sensational Spider-Man
#22 (1979) by Bob Budiansky and Joe Sinnott.
Recently is was reported that  Marvel Comics will be reviving their long defunct Treasury Edition format for the purposes of reprinting issues of the recently released Spidey title. While I have little desire to purchase a treasury edition for a title I can still pick-up on the rack (were I so inclined) this news has caused a burst of nostalgia in many a fanboy, including yours truly, which of course was the desired effect.

For purposes of scale, left is the
Treasury Edition and to the right a
traditional comic book.
This news also prompted the recall that I actually have a copy of a Marvel Treasury Edition from 1979 piled among other odd-sized issues, mostly from independent publishers. That, in addition to the perception that you were getting 4-5 issues in a single "package", seems to me to have been the key selling point for this uniquely proportioned title. Back in the 1970's, magazines and larger editions were something of a rage. Though the $2.00 cover price would have been expensive for those of us conditioned to spend 35 cents of our allowance per comic book, it was after all larger, so it must be cooler, or at the very least better.

Though I can't recall exactly how it came into my possession, as I often find with older Marvel comic books, it has many of the attributes of a classic Marvel story--which ironically is also what is missing, in my estimation,  from most current Marvel titles. I still love Gil Kane and Sal Buscema's pencils, as well as the story-telling of Len Wein, featured in issue 22. Back-in-the-day, comic book narratives were much more tightly written, and frankly, more action oriented. Nowadays, out of the perceived necessity to reprint titles in trade paperback, every single story arc is stretched out over 5 to 6 issues, many times to the detriment of the story.

As a ten-year old, I totally bought into the
mythology of he Marvel Bullpen, and peaks
inside, such as this one drawn by Mary
Severin, were always welcome.
But Marvel Treasury Edition #22 (1979) is chock-full of classic Marvel goodness. It collects four issues of  the Marvel Team-Up title that showcased stories in which Spider-man would (Surprise!) team-up with other Marvel heroes of varying degrees of popularity. Again, way back in the late 1970's, early 1980's this was not as common an occurrence as is the case now. Also included within is a Bonus Pin-up (on which reprint editor Jim Scalrup declares "what else would you do if you had an extra page to fill up and nothing to put on it?" for what in effect is a J. Jonah Jameson poster!) as well as Stan Lee story about the famed Marvel Bullpen's prepping for an upcoming Spider-man comic strip in a three-pager entitled "Here We Go-A Plotting!".

Like many, I miss what I perceive to have been the hey-day of Marvel Comics, when super-heroing was fun and colorful, and when heroes didn't need to be "anti-" in order to be interesting. Though I am unclear as to how attractive a new Marvel Treasury Edition will be to the modern collector (let's face it, it won't fit in a long box), if the stories told in Spidey reflect this earlier style of story telling, I may just check it out. Until then, however, I have Issue 22 of Volume 1 of the Marvel Treasury Edition, and many long-boxes full of back issues, to remind me of my affection for marvel Comics.

Gil Kane drawing Stegron the Dinosaur Man?
Take my money NOW.

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