What better way to get ready for the new year than with a look at some of these beauties. Yet more proof, were any needed, of what an absolute doofus I was as a kid. It simply never occurred to me that all those great things I saw advertised in Marvel's ad pages could be mine. I used to see things like these fantastic calendars and wish I could get 'em, but you had to have american money! Where could I get that? Anyway, these things are, of course, treasure troves of exclusive art, like this strange composite of The Avengers here. is it a re-drawing of some classic Buscema poses, or is it the real thing?
Or this Bee-ootifull Romita original. So weird to see Luke Cage, and especially Conan, grinning like loons alongside everybody else.
October is Halloween, so by law, every pic for that month had to feature the Marvel monsters. Here's Marvellous Mike Ploog's superb Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, Man-Thing & Werewolf By Night.
I'm always fascinated by the bizarre choices Marvel used to make of which characters to show off on their promo stuff. Doc Doom and The Vision is a little odd, isn't it?
Here's Jazzy John's masterful cover to the '76 calendar. I think the only other Bicentennial thing Marvel did that year was Kirby's Captain America's Bicentennial Battles, which is odd. Beautiful cover though, as I say.
But here's more nationalistic flag-bearing with George Washington crossing the Delaware alongside The Avengers. I'm not suggesting Hawkeye isn't as true-blue as, say, Cap, but I just don't see him volunteering for this little trek. He'd be spending the Bicentennial in some bar somewhere, wouldn't he?
Another Halloween fest here, this time from Frank Brunner, with Drac, Manny & Wolfie re-enacting The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow, years before Tim Burton.
And here again, is another strange grouping. Apart from the fact a few of these guys became Defenders, what on earth do they have in common? Not to mention Shang-Chi possibly wanting to celebrate the chinese new year, if anyone bothered to ask his opinion. And I still, nearly every day, have to pinch myself to believe that Marvel ever got away with a character called The Son Of Satan.
On to '77 though, with this wonderful cover that looks like Kirby inked by Romita. Though I'm willing to be corrected on that, there's no way, f' instance, Jack drew that Spidey.
Here's a rejig from that year of Doc's first story, originally by Ditko of course, this version, equally obviously comes from Gene The Dean.
And talking of The Defenders ( as we sort of were ), here's Our Pal Sal's reinterpretation of their first adventure. As much as I love Gerber's Defenders ( which is to say, a whole hell of a lot ), I also can't get enough of these early Thomas / Englehart issues. It was just about the only time I ever really liked Subby, and the idea of a group who genuinely don't get on was irresistible.
More Colan here, with a brilliant scene encapsulating everything that was great about his & Marv Wolfman's Tomb Of Dracula.
And finally, from the 1981 Spidey calendar, heres' John Byrne's illo of all of the webbed wonder's Team-Up buddies. I'd say name 'em all, but that'd be too easy.
Tomorrow: The DC calendars. (Which I also never realised I could buy!)
I'm a writer and cartoonist, responsible for ' The Infernal Gods Of Electric Disaster' & ' Essential Showcase Presents: Stan & Jack ' ( both available on Lulu ), along with the odd thing I've done with old pal Sean Phillips.
I think the 1970's was the best era in comics' history. And I can prove it...
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