Marvel Treasury Edition 21, 1979 “Behold…Galactus!”

The Treasury Edition is one of the best inventions in comic books. I mean, what could be better, than an oversized comic book? The answer is nothing. When you buy these gigantic books and open them up you get blinded by their awesomeness! Although mostly reprints, the material chosen is top-notch for sure.

Of course, the Fantastic Four are most famous because of their days during the Jack Kirby/Stan Lee era, as it should be. But honestly, if you venture past that era, you’ll find that the Bronze Age is quite good. Under the guidance of some of that era’s best creators, the team had some run-ins with a myriad of bizarre villains, but also some familiar ones like the Mole Man, the Impossible Man, and most importantly, Galactus!

In this oversized tome, the team is beset by gun-toting maniacs, a strange being from the stars with god-like powers, and then the final threat is revealed, and the team stands in awe of Galactus, Devourer of Worlds! Special appearance by the Silver Surfer!

Let it not be said that any era of the FF is greater than the original creators run on the book, but honestly, too much love is given to the John Byrne era and not because it’s bad, but because it causes people to overlook this incredibly underrated work by Stan Lee (writer), ‘Big’ John Buscema (pencils), ‘Joltin’ Joe Sinnott (inks),  Carl Gafford (colors), and Artie Simek, John Costanza, and Sam Rosen (letters). The cover is by Bob Budiansky and Bob McLeod, and they did a great job showing just how imposing the big G is (front and back covers!).

***note- apologies for the quality of the images. I had to use what I could find online because my scanner isn’t big enough to accommodate a Treasury comic book.

 

 

 

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Fantastic Four Annual 11, 1976 “And Now, The Invaders!”

Returning to the corner of the Marvel Universe occupied by Marvel’s first family, I thought it would be appropriate to focus on an amazing annual from the Bronze Age. In FF 169, Luke Cage was under the sway of the Puppet Master, and attacked the Fantastic Four. While he was going crazy, he knocked some Vibranium into Reed’s time machine. It was transported back to WWII era, and into the hands of the Nazis. With this awesome weapon, it looked as if the Allies would be defeated, and the world would live in tyranny. The FF then uses the time machine to hurl themselves back in time to help the greatest team of WWII, The Invaders, stop the Nazis and Baron Zemo!

This era of Marvel will always be my favorite, as Jack Kirby (cover pencils, inks by Joe Sinnott) returned to do some great covers like this one. Not to be outdone, is Mr. editor/writer/everything man, Roy Thomas, as he adds his uncanny ability to write team books. And this one has two great teams in it! One of my all time favorite artists, is “Big” John Buscema (pencils). His pencils are always a treat to see, and the inks of Sam Grainger compliment him well. Colors by Phil Rachelson, and letters by Sam Rosen!

 

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Fantastic Four #140, 1973 “Annihilus Revealed!”

Although Jack Kirby created Annihilus (FF Annual #6, 1968), there have a been a couple of other creative teams that did some really great work with the character. Case in point- Fantastic Four #140! In this issue, we see more schemes from the bug-like alien from the Negative Zone, plus his awesome origin. I’m not 100% sure if it had been shown in detail like this before, as I don’t have a copy of FF Annual #6, but if not, definitely grab a copy of this book for that cool story!

In the years shortly after Kirby left Marvel, you had a solid contingency of creators that were more than willing to step up to the plate, and give it a go. One of them, writer Gerry Conway, did just that, and more, when he took over books like Spider-Man, Thor, and this title as well (he didn’t write everything after Kirby left, but definitely had the longest run until Byrne came along later). I know most don’t think of Conway when they think FF writers, but believe me, they should. And lets face it, when you have an art team like “Big” John Buscema and “Joltin” Joe Sinnott in your corner, you’re on the path to success. Add on George Roussos (colorist), and John Costanza (letters), and the team is set! The book grabs your attention right away with a cover from “Riotous” Rich Buckler and “Fearless” Frank Giacoia!

 

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Fantastic Four Annual #12, 1977 “The End of the Inhumans…and the Fantastic Four”

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I agree, and in the case of this issue of the Fantastic Four, you can definitely see that the entire thing is an homage to Jack Kirby. The Fantastic Four are awesome enough, but throw in the Inhumans, and Thraxon the Schemer, and you get a Bronze Age winner! Alright, the big draw isn’t Thraxon the Schemer, but a throw-down between the Sphinx and Black Bolt! Yes, these two heavyweights go toe to toe, and this is one brawl you can’t miss!

When the epic adventure starts with an incredible cover by “Big” John Buscema (pencils) and “Joltin” Joe Sinnott (inks), you know you’re in for a great visual story. The FF at this time was under the guidance of “Marvelous” Marv Wolfman (writer & editor) and he really crafted some cool cosmic tales during his tenure. The interior work was also very good, and we have Bob Hall (pencils, first half), Keith Pollard (pencils, second half), and Bob Wiacek (inks) to thank for that! Rounding out the team is Glynis Wein (colors) and John Costanza (letters).

 

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Fantastic Four #219, 1980 “Leviathans”

The reason I chose this issue, aside from it being the Fantastic Four, is the story, and the creative team. The latter, I’ll get to in a minute, but first, let’s get acquainted with the story. In it, we see Namor, as his underwater kingdom is attacked by some foreign army of underwater creatures. On the surface, Reed is growing more and more apart from the rest of the team. Snapping at them for something miniscule, he storms off in a huff. Can the team unite and help Namor fight off a multitude of attackers, one of which has attained a relic from Atlantis that can make him unbeatable?

Now, on to the creative team. At this point, the book was in a slight bit of flux, in that the Kirby/Lee legendary run was well over, and a couple of the other, lesser known (but still kicked butt!) runs were also over (Wein/Perez, Conway/Buckler, etc.). The other big run, that of John Byrne had yet to begin, leaving room for a strange but incredible great story like this one to be presented by Doug Moench (writer), Bill Sienkiewicz (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Jim Novak (letters), colors by George Roussos, and edited by Jim Salicrup! Enjoy this great issue by this awesome team of creators!

 

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Pin-up by 'Joltin'  Joe Sinnott

Pin-up by ‘Joltin’ Joe Sinnott

Fantastic Four #186, 1977 – “Enter: Salem’s Seven”

I’ve been on a Fantastic Four kick lately with my buying/reading habits. Either through “Marvel’s Greatest Comics” or the volume one series itself, Marvel’s First Family has me hooked! Unlike a lot of FF fans, I love the post-Kirby/ pre-Byrne era of the team (even more so than the Byrne run…I know, heresy!). Yeah, you didn’t get much in the overarching plot department, but you did get some very cool and quirky stories from people like Marv Wolfman, or in this case, Len Wein (writer), George Perez (pencils), and Joe Sinnott (inks).

Speaking of the latter of those gentlemen, after looking at several different artist’s work, I think I’m convinced that Sinnott is my favorite inker of all time. His inks are very consistent, and concise, and have worked great with some of the best artists in the industry. Well, without too much prattling, this story gives a look at some of the back-matter of the newly installed and mysterious nanny of Franklin Richards, Agatha Harkness! Her origins were very ambiguous but this issue introduced the Salem Seven, and we were able to pull back the veil and see some of her beginnings!

 

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Superstar Artists- John Byrne! Pt. 1

Another week, and another post that spotlights a giant in the comic book world! John Byrne has accomplished many things as an artist and a writer, but most hold him high for two specific runs in his lifetime (3 for me). First, is probably his X-Men work alongside longtime stalwart, Chris Claremont. That era of X-Men really put them on the map, and resurrected that team from the dead (HUGE thanks to Len Wein, Dave Cockrum (who’ll get his own spotlight soon!), and editor Marv Wolfman, as well). I’m going to start out with some of his work on Fantastic Four, and then move on to other titles. From action to the mundane, he could do it all. So, without further delay, get ready for some classic Byrne! Enjoy!

 

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Superstar Artists- George Perez! Pt. 2

In my first post about George Perez, I showed some of his brilliant covers. This time around, I’ll be posting some great interior work from this titan of comics! His work on The Avengers is definitely something coming soon on my blog, but for now, I’ll be showing some of his crazy good work on the Fantastic Four! His pencils on this book rank right up there with the John Byrne run, in my humble opinion (it might even exceed it!). Along with inker Joe Sinnott, and writer/editor Len Wein, Perez had some extremely memorable issues, and I now present a few of them to you. Enjoy!

 

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Superstar Artists- George Perez! Pt. 1

After finally getting to meet George Perez this past year at NYCC (2013), I became an even bigger fan of his if that was even possible (click here to read my con coverage about Mr. Perez). This gentleman is an incredible hard working, dedicated fellow, that is super nice as well. He spent hours that day at the table signing, taking pictures, and doing commissions. The man didn’t leave the table for hours on end to keep his fans happy.

I first discovered his awesome pencils in the pages of The Avengers, and sought out more from that point. He really did it all over the years, both for Marvel and DC. Who can forget his work on Crisis on Infinite Earths! No matter what your tastes, George Perez has done something you will love! Take a peek at some of his cover work! Enjoy!

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Marvel’s Unsung Heroes! -Ron Wilson!

Of course everyone knows names like Kirby, Buscema, Romita, and Colan, but there is a plethora of other guys (and girls), that need to be given a great deal of credit for the success of Marvel Comics. These others helped forge a new pathway, and their number needs to be counted. So, for the month of April, I’ll be spotlighting some of the work that these unsung heroes gave us all to enjoy over the years!

I’ll be presenting these in no specific order,  but rest assured, we’ll get a peek at a few names that you should recognize! First up is Ron Wilson, because his pencils have always been a favorite of mine, and I think he deserves more respect than he’s gotten over the years. From his great run on titles like Marvel Two-in-One, to more obscure titles like Chamber of Chills, you’ll see it all in this post! Enjoy!

 

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