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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Maximum Security: Thor vs. Ego (2000)

I typically don’t write about books this new, but being that this is a reprint of incredible material, I figured it was OK. When you can showcase something as special as a Silver Age Thor story, you gotta do it. Marvel cosmic is a thing of beauty or it was at one time. Readers of the Silver Age know, that The Fantastic Four and Thor are the two books that started it all, and vaulted it into the farthest reaches of the universe and beyond! Originals, reprints, whatever, get some copies of early issues of these two titles, and dive in. This particular over-sized book has three issues¬† of Thor (#133, 160-161), that show his first and next encounters with the Living Planet called Ego!

Of course, the only mind that could bring us this visual feast is that of Jack ‘King’ Kirby. As if Ego wasn’t enough, Kirby then brings the mighty Galactus into the fray, and you’d better fasten your seat-belts for that collision! Scripted by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Vince Colletta, letters by Artie Simek and Sam Rosen! A better story from the Silver Age of Marvel cannot be found!

 

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Silver Surfer (vol. 2) #1, 1982

In this awesome issue, we see the Silver Surfer, as he’s trying to break the curse put on him by his former master, Galactus, and leave Earth. He hungers for another chance to scour the space-ways, and see his beloved Shalla Bal again. With the help of the Fantastic Four, he accomplishes this feat, but as we all know, there is always a price to be paid for actions such as these. In this one-shot, we see victory, defeat, agony, and irony. The Surfer, and his enemy forever, Mephisto!

In this one issue, John Byrne gives us an absolute masterpiece. His plot is fantastic, and with a script by Stan Lee, letters by Rick Parker, and inks by the ever-present Tom Palmer, you get one heckuva creative team on this one! Byrne really flexes his artistic muscles here, and shows a wide range. From the awesome shots of the Marvel cosmic universe, to the demonic depths of Mephisto’s realm, you will be in awe of the details in his work. Check it out!

 

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Marvel’s Greatest Comics #58, 1975 (originally Fantastic Four #76, 1968)

Continuing from a post from earlier this year, I wanted to push forward with part two of this awesome story. Of course, the first Galactus story is best, but this one is no pushover. You get the world devourer, Galactus, the Silver Surfer, and by issues end, a glimpse of the Psycho Man, as well! Throw in some crazy inner-space travel, and you get an adventure for the ages! If I’m not mistaken, this is the first time we see the “microverse” in the Marvel Universe. It’s a place where you must shrink down to microscopic size to enter, but once there, you can revert back to normal size. Only the mind of someone like Jack Kirby could think something up like this, and then illustrate it so well, it blows your mind.

As usual, you get the brilliant artwork from Jack ‘King’ Kirby, also the crazy captions of Stan Lee, and the awesome inks of Joe Sinnott, and don’t forget the letters by Artie Simek! Yes, the gang’s all here for the second installment of another cosmic foray for Marvel’s first family, the Fantastic Four! Not lost in this story, is the sky-rider of the space-ways himself, the Silver Surfer, and a deranged being called the “Murder Machine,” as well!

 

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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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Marvel’s Greatest Comics #57, 1975 (originally FF #75, 1968)

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You know, I think Marvel reprints are great. Yeah, it would be nice to own the original books, but since I’m a pauper, this is the only way I’ll ever see these great stories (or in trade)! Seeing the wondrous artwork by Jack ‘King’ Kirby always puts me in a good mood, if I wasn’t in one already. In this feature, Lee and Kirby give us a wonderful tale about the Fantastic Four, as they prepare for another visit from Galactus. Well, before that visit is upon them, Reed, Johnny, and Ben, must battle duplicates of themselves that are programmed to kill them!

We also get some incredible cosmic work by Kirby, as he illustrates the awesome Silver Surfer, as he scours the space-ways! Sue however, is down and out, and being cared for by Crystal (of the Inhumans). By issues end, the team is making a deal with Galactus that will either save the world, or bring it to its doom! Check out these cool panels below by the one and only king of comics! See you back here in three days!

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Fantastic Four #224, 1982. “When Calls Galactus”

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Just look at that cover! You know, John Byrne did some incredible work on this title, personally though, I think his X-Men work is his best stuff! In this fantastic issue, we get to see a few different things, (seen in flashback) one of which being Galactus, at the mercy of the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and Dr. Strange. You see, he had just traveled to Earth, and dealt with his herald, Terrax, which left him starving. At this point, he was defeated by those above mentioned forces, but they felt compelled to help him live.

Reed, along with Iron Man, and Thor, builds a contraption to feed Galactus enough power to leave Earth. Richards also uses his intellect to find suitable sustenance for Galactus as well. As Galactus awakens, he is puzzled by his enemies helping him, but tells them that if their calculations are off about the planets nearby, he’ll have to come back, and feed on Earth. At that point, the heroes will have to either let him feed (destroy Earth), or kill him.

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Meanwhile, Johnny’s girlfriend, Frankie Ray, A.K.A. Nova, has been watching and listening. She then makes a sacrifice, and volunteers to become the new herald of Galactus! Johnny is incensed at the thought of losing her, but she tells him that it’s what she wants. Galactus then pushes the Fantastic Four aside, encasing them in a bubble, and uses his cosmic power to enhance Nova, making her capable of things she never dreamed. She immediately takes off for the cosmos, as Johnny attempts to follow her. He falls short though, as he reaches Earth’s upper atmosphere, and flames out, due to the lack of oxygen. Galactus then ponders why he agreed to Reed and Frankie’s terms, but pauses, and as he teleports to his ship, he remarks that he might actually call these Earthlings, friends.

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Back in the “now”, Johnny is grief-stricken, and is comforted by Juliette D’Angelo. After hearing all this, she’s absolutely floored. In the last few pages, we see a bit of a prologue, as little Franklin Richards is playing with Ben and H.E.R.B.I.E. We see him pick up a Rubik’s Cube, and his eyes begin to glow with power. H.E.R.B.I.E., then senses an immense power within him, but is blown to pieces by the surge within the child!

The artwork by Byrne is obviously great, but the story is pretty good too, especially when you consider this book was under the watchful eyes of people like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Marv Wolfman, Roy Thomas, and other greats over the years. I hope you enjoyed this post, and be ready for another good one in a few days!