If there’s anything that is indicative of this accumulation disease that I have, it’s the fact that at one point, I needed to seek out a few issues of Marvel Age for use in both “In Country” and my 2017-2018 podcast miniseries “Origin Story” and that eventually led to me just grabbing an issue of the series out of a bin any time I saw one. And beyond collecting G.I. Joe and The Transformers in 1987 and all of the X-Men titles for a couple of years in the early Nineties, I’ve never been a huge Marvel collector. So how and why did I wind up with twenty-one issues?
I think that my motivation was being interested in Marvel in the 1980s, and while I have recently read some Eighties Marvel (some of Walt Simonson’s Thor, for example), I don’t have the means to read everything I want to right now (and yes, I know … Marvel Unlimited. It’s kind of a reward I’m working toward as I unload comics), but I could do the Eighties Marvel version of “watching TV by reading TV guide.” And here’s what I got:
- #15: June 1984 — an interview with Archie Goodwin
- #23: February 1985 — ROM: Spaceknight
- #26: May 1985 — Epic Comics’ Starstruck
- #29: August 1985 — Vision and the Scarlet Witch; The West Coast Avengers
- #32: November 1985 — Paul Smith on the Uncanny X-Men
- #35: February 1985 — A Day in the Life of Marvel Comics
- #37: April 1986 — Marvel’s 25th Anniversary Kickoff
- #39: June 1986 — X-Factor
- #40: July 1986 — G.I. Joe Special Missions
- #42: September 1986 — Epic’s Steelgrip Starkey, 1986 Annuals
- #43: October 1986 — Howard the Duck, the movie
- #46: January 1987 — X-Men vs. Fantastic Four
- #50: May 1987 — “Which New Universe Star Will Die?”
- #54: September 1987 — Spider-Man’s Wedding
- #55: October 1987 — Iron Man’s New Armor and Armor Wars
- #56: November 1987 — Meet the new G.I. Joe characters
- #57: December 1987 — Captain America’s new look
- #103: August 1991 — Wonder Man
- #108: January 1992 — Spotlight on John Romita Jr.
- #110: March 1992 — Cage
- #118: November 1992 — The Incredible Hulk
It was a long journey, a lot of articles, and a lot of Fred Hembeck cartoons. A number of the articles were obvious hype but were good hype of series that I wasn’t too familiar with (I am going to track down a few of the series that looked interesting). There was also a lot of hype for various New Universe titles that I was never interested in and only really know for it being an enormous misfire.
There was also a lot of nostalgia inside those pages. I’d look through the coming attractions and not only see what was on the stands, but think about what I might have been reading (usually a random G.I. Joe issue) and what I missed because I had interests elsewhere. I also felt like I was getting a good feel for what Marvel was like throughout the Eighties and into the early Nineties because since these issues encompassed the better part of the decade, I saw the change in tone when it came to the company’s books. By the time I got to the last issue, even though the Hulk was drawn by George Perez, it still looked like the flashier stuff I’d been seeing in 1992 as opposed to what I had personally deemed “classic Marvel” of the 1980s. Granted, that’s probably because when I was a kid in the 1980s, those books were a little beyond me and the Nineties books were aimed right at me. But I still got the feeling that I was watching the company–and by extension, comics–change over the course of these issues.
I’m told there is actually a market for some of these. I do know my LCS has one issue, which has some early Black Costume Spider-Man designs in it, on the wall for a decent amount of money. I figure that most of the ones I’ve got here are worth about a dollar or maybe less (based on their condition–they were all fifty centers and some show it). So I’ll see what might I might be able to get.
Keep, Sell, Donate, or Trash?