Thursday, September 23, 2010

"Those Whimsical '70s Reprint Editors"

I did not start the message board thread that gives this entry its title, but I contributed to it and think it contains some interesting comics knowledge that is in danger of being ignored. So with thanks to the poster going by the handle "bettybrant" (I think this is actually a fella, by the way) for getting the ball rolling, we'll outline some revelations here.

It began with the revelation that Marvel Triple Action #45 does NOT contain excerpted panels from Avengers #52 as noted in the GCD index, but rather three completely new pages. This led to some discussion as to the reasons why this was done and who might be responsible for these new pages. At this point, I'd say MTA editor Jim Salicrup is the best candidate for scripter, and Sal Buscema seems the popular choice as penciller.

It could have ended there, but happily, it didn't. The discussion turned to other 1970s/early 1980s Marvel reprints, and more specifically, to new material prepared for them. Among the goodies that were posted were a number of new covers, some retooled covers, and a brand-new splash page used in Marvel Super Action #17.

By this time, the link to one of the best resources for these books on the net, Arthur's Marvel Comics Reprints Website, was posted (though sadly, it has not been updated in several years), and I figured the revelations were drawing to a close. Then "Urban" posted the "Avengers Hall of Fame" features that ran in the final three issues of Marvel Super Action, and in the middle of people trying to guess who DREW them, Roger Stern himself popped up and told us that he WROTE them. Wow! He also said that he believed they were pencilled by Bob Budiansky (a name that is not usually mentioned in these situations) and possibly inked by Josef Rubinstein.

(Uncle Roger also confirmed my long-held theory that Marvel Super Action #4, the "Marvel Boy" issue, was a tactic to maintain a trademark on that name. It was simply easier to slot reprints into MSA than it was to prepare a new story for a character with that name.)

There were a couple more cool things that subsequently turned up : proof that the cover to Marvel Super Action #32 was actually by Marie Severin, and a side-by-side comparison of the Hulk back-up that ran in Marvel Super Action #34 and the pages from the U.K. strip that served as its basis. Crazy, wild stuff that I never would have dreamed of learning when I was buying these books new off the newsstands!

The thread has quieted down now, and is probably done. But I don't want to lose the knowledge that I gained from it, so I wrote this entry to both link to the thread and summarize what I consider its most important points.


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Xenorama said...

that's... interesting (the first poster).

boy, those reprints were a godsend back in the day, though so spottily distributed it was hard to find two issues in a row. I remember reading an original Avengers in a tabloid size, and then reading the triple action and finding out that the stories were slightly edited (it was Hank and Jan's wedding) to fit the page count.

C. Elam said...

@yukina - I took a look at your site, and it seems interesting!

@Xenorama - Believe it or not, a casual look seems to indicate that's NOT a spam comment, but rather legit. It seems to be a Japanese tokusatsu blog.

I was lucky that I managed to get most of the Avengers issues of MSA off the stands. Granted, it was often not the SAME stands, but that was par for the course back then.

Xenorama said...

well how about that! sorry yukina, it looks really cool.

Chris, that was part of the fun back in the day, discovering a comic you had been waiting for. I remember once my family flew to Idaho and I found two Micronauts comics (#6 and #7) together in a store. and I needed those issues!

I kind of miss those days.