DC beat Marvel to the holiday punch with the first of the Christmas specials beginning in 1974.
The Marvel Treasury Special was released Nov. 26 of that year on the heels of DC’s Limited Collector’s Edition (C-34) that hit newsstands Nov. 7.
Whereas DC had decades of material to draw from, Marvel had a little over 10-years worth of stories to plumb.
Naturally “Have Yourself a Sandman Little Christmas!” led the list.
It was a reprint from Marvel Team-Up issue one starring Spider-Man and the Human Torch battling Sandman. A sappy story that brought out the season in both heroes who allowed Sandman to visit his mother on Christmas Eve. The good deed does not go unpunished leading both heroes to a continuation of the story in issue two.
The remainder of the book is what the title promised: a grab-bag.
Marvel Treasury Special (1974)
In “Mortal Combat with…Sub-Mariner” is reprinted from Daredevil issue seven. Namor makes land fall to seek out Matt Murdock to serve as his lawyer. The sea prince wishes to sue the surface world for its exploitation of the other three quarters of the Earth. Murdock’s alter ego is called upon when he refuses to take the case.
Black Widow stars in the next story taken from Amazing Adventures (1970) issue five. An unremarkable story. Maybe the most noteworthy of the book is Neal Adam’s assumption of penciling chores on the Inhuman’s story.
Fantastic Four issues 25 and 26, a two-part tale, finish out the book. The Thing and Hulk go toe-to-toe in issue 25 with the Avengers guest starring in the second part.
Far from the holiday specials to come in the 1990s, but at least setting a precedence for the company.