Thursday, 31 December 2009

Mighty Marvel Calenders

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!)


  1. Same here, Pete. The only thing I ever got from Marvel USA was FOOM magazine, and that was via an ad in the UK reprints. ( And that was a bit, er, erratic in its schedule. )

    Have a Happy New Year, mate!

    BTW I've tagged you with an end-of-decade meme on my blog, if you're interested. Could be fun!

  2. No idea what a meme is, but ok!

  3. Pete --

    Great survey of those fun calendars. As you may have seen over on Bronze Age Babies, I have the 1976-1978 Marvel calendars, as well as the Dr. Strange and Hulk calendars that followed shortly thereafter. Of course they are not now in mint condition, but at our age, it's the nostalgia factor not the investment, isn't it?

    Thanks for some cool memories today!


  4. Heya Pete, thanks for the fine blog! Looking at that '77 cover, at that Thing and some of the faces, I'm gonna hazard a guess that it's a Rich Buckler pic. He was doing a ton of house-ad art and other little side projects like this for Marvel at the time.

  5. Boy, did these bring back memories! I wish I had saved some of those, they'd look great on the wall. Thanks for posting them Pete.

  6. It's too bad they don't put out such cool calendars now!

  7. Hey Pete.

    It's not really a big deal, since it was more than likely an innocent oversight (google image searches can often produce desired images, but with little info as to their origins) but I'd be most appreciative if you would give props to the blog from whence you obtained your pics.



    Always good karma to spread the web-links.

    For anyone interested in seeing more, I have EVERY SINGLE Marvel calendar from 1975 - 1981 as well as many from the late 1980's - 2000's with many pics in a 3-part blog series on my blog (posted one year ago for the start of 2009).

    Sanctum Sanctorum Comix

  8. As most of the above images were indeed 'liberated' ( cough ) from your fine blog, p, natch apologies for the oversight and kudos for putting 'em up there in the first place.

  9. I had most of these calendars as a kid. Thanks for the memories!

  10. I'm a bit late to the party here but in '75 I was kid like you (I was 11), looking at all this stuff and just thinking there was no way I could get it. For a while I had a friend who had an UK Mum but an American dad and somehow he would get some Foom issues and a few of the calendars; I was so in awe! At that point in my childhood there wasn't much I thought about other than Marvel, whether it was the UK weeklies or the infrequent US issues that appeared in a newsagent (and there was always that back issues box on the market :) ). *sigh* I wish I could get that excited about stuff now.