Silver Surfer tagged posts

Have a Merry Christmas – Marvel Style

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A 1978 inhouse ad from the House of Ideas – and merchandising – showcased the beginning of the graphic novel and trade paperback era.

Aside from The Incredible Hulk 1979 calendar, the advertisement promoted the Fireside books published from 1974 to 1979.

Have a Merry Christmas – Marvel Style

Have a Merry Christmas – Marvel Style

Fireside was an imprint of publishing house Simon & Schuster. Stan Lee’s vision was to offer a more traditional format featuring Silver Age stories at affordable prices.

Fireside and Marvel teamed for 24 such books during the six-year association. Origins of Marvel Comics hit bookshelves in 1974 followed by Son of Origins of Marvel Comics in 1975. Bring on the Bad Guys and The Superhero Women were published in 1976.

The return of Jack Kirby to Marvel was heralded by The Silver Surfer The Ultimate Cosmic Experience. It also marked a reunion with collaborator Lee.

Other books included The Best of Spidey Super Stories, The Incredible Hulk, Marvel’s Greatest Battles, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, Doctor Strange Master of the Mystic Arts, Captain America Sentinel of Liberty, The Mighty Marvel Superheroes Fun books one through five, The Mighty Marvel Comics Strength and Fitness Book, The Mighty Marvel Superheroes Cookbook, How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, Marvel Mazes to Drive you Mad, The Mighty Marvel Pin-Up Book, Marvel Word Games and The Might Marvel Jumbo Fun Book.

All stocking stuffers to be sure.

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1989 Marvel Universe Thanksgiving Parade Performance and Spiderman Balloon

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Willard Scott and Deborah Norville introduce Marvel’s 1989 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float. Melba Moore dishes out a performance of her “Holding Out for a Hero” amid Cap, Spidey and the Silver Surfer posing. Emma Frost tosses in a few kicks for good measure.

Costumes look like a rehash from the 1987 offering.

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1987 Marvel Comics Parade Float

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Leaves are turning, stores are pimping Christmas and sale ads are hawking turkeys. Must be Thanksgiving.

And, it is.

Almost.

Along with football from the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions, there’s the over eating and family squabbles. To kick the day off is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. As the culinary bouquet wafts from the kitchen, those not involved beyond devouring the dinner are watching the second-oldest American parade unfold in the living room.

For three hours.

The parade began in 1924 in Newark, NJ, then transferred to Macy’s in New York City. Character balloons began appearing in the parade in 1927. It went on hiatus during World War II, 1942 to 1944. The parade was first broadcast on network television in 1948.

Being a part of New York City, Marvel Comics was represented by Spider-Man in 1987. Attached was a camera that has become known as the Spidey-Cam.

Also introduced that year was a Marvel Universe float featuring a multitude of heroes and villains.

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Marvel Treasury Edition 13

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As America packed away its bicentennial banners and fervor, Marvel began packaging its third, and final, Holiday Grab-Bag. And, that’s what it was, a holiday-less hodge podge of reprints pulled from Avengers (1963) issue 58, Daredevil (1964) number 86, Marvel Team-Up 6 and Tales to Astonish (1959) 93.

Roger Stern was a lowly assistant editor in charge of choosing reprint material for Marvel’s stable of twice-told-tale books. He was tasked to fill the last of the holiday specials with suitable material. Having already used what little was available the previous two years, Stern was faced with a daunting task.

Marvel Treasury Edition 13

Marvel Treasury Edition 13

As Stern told Back Issue magazine, issue 85, Christmas in the Bronze Age, from 2015; he pulled the most tear jerking stories he could find to fill the book. Choices made, he found the book was still 10 pages short. Stern approached Editor Archie Goodwin who freed money for what Stern termed a “framing sequence” for the stories.

Fanboys were given the Giant Superhero Holiday Grab-Bag Nov. 16, 1976, complete with a Gil Kane/Joe Sinnott cover featuring the Marvel mainstays. Stern penned the opening story, “Tis the Season,” showcasing the super heroes playing in the snow. Reprints included “…As Those Who Will Not See!” with Spider-Man and the Thing, “Even an Android Can Cry” featuring the Avengers, Hulk and Silver Surfer shared “He Who Strikes the Silver Surfer” and “Once Upon a Time – The Ox!” showcasing Daredevil and Black Widow.

This was the final Marvel holiday special until the 1990s. By then the House of Ideas would have a better catalog to choose from, even tossing in original material.

For me, nothing will ever beat the original specials from the 1970s. They were the perfect size to lie stomach down on the floor and marvel – pun intended – at the craftsmanship of those earlier Marvel Age stories.

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Marvel Holiday Special 1996

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Marvel Holiday Special 1996

Marvel Holiday Special 1996

Not since Amazing Spider-Man 192 has there been as entertaining a face-off between J. Jonah Jameson and Spidey. Not a Creature Was Stirring is refreshing, fun and Mark Waid at his story-telling best, teasing the title characters and readers.

Jonah’s greed backfires while attempting to publicize his philanthropy. The end result has JJJ and Spidey pinned beneath warehouse roof rubble as snow mounds about their fast freezing bodies. Nothing ever ends well for the Bugle publisher and this story is no exception. Jonah’s pride falls victim after deciding to do what’s right.

Unto Others focuses on Kitty Pryde, her Jewish heritage and mutant birth rite. Hatred and ignorance form a common bond between Kitty and a young girl who only wishes to see her father’s face again. The history of Hanukah is tossed in for good measure.

Silver Surfer stars in Hark! The Herald! Galactus’ former minion faces a paradox only faith can solve.

Ambush at Angle Rock shakes the trail dust off the Rawhide Kid character for a western holiday and the only weak spot in the special.

Wolverine rounds out the book with Humbug. A walk around town and head full of thoughts brings little comfort to Logan at this time of year – though he wishes the spirit could touch him.

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