Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Essential Avengers

My pal David McRobie over at Xenorama has mentioned his favorite run on the book Avengers several times, most recently here. Well, I have my own favorite run of the book, too. Not only is it different from David's, but it actually precedes my birth!

Part of why I was so disappointed in the old edition of Essential Avengers Vol. 3, and so jazzed about the upgraded current edition, is because it contains issues #55-#68, plus Annual #2. Those are MOST of the issues from that favorite run of mine. Go through to #76, and there you go. My favorite run of The Avengers is #55-#76.

Only why this particular run of issues? Those are the issues that were reprinted in the pages of Marvel Super Action in the late-1970s/early-1980s. Beginning with #14 (second part of the Masters of Evil/Crimson Cowl story) through the title's cancellation with #37 (conclusion of an Arkon story that brought Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch back into the fold), MSA was the Avengers book I preferred over the regular title. It was fun to be up-to-date, but there was something about the older stories that appealed to me.

I know now that it was the work of Roy Thomas and a talented array of my artists that swayed me. John & Sal Buscema, Gene Colan, and even Barry (not yet Windsor) Smith pencilled the book during that stretch. There was also the thrill of discovery in buying a new issue. I mean, I was familiar with characters like the Vision, Yellowjacket, and Nighthawk from then-contemporary Marvels, but it was special to read their first appearances myself. It was sort of like getting a key to the Secret Knowledge.

Speaking of which, one of the assets of the Essential collection is that many of those old reprint comics had to be edited in some way. Not so the Essential! While it may be in black & white, it contains the full story as originally intended. In many ways, it will be like learning new things about old favorites. I can't wait!

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