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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Fantasy Masterpieces #14, 1980 (originally SS #14, 1970) “The Surfer and The Spider!”

Getting two superheroes to fight is usually an interesting trope, but sometimes it does border on the ludicrous. This one lies somewhere in the middle, so fasten your seat-belt. Spidey and the Surfer haven’t had a lot of contact, so the times they do meet are kind of cool. The story really revolves around a boy that’s enthralled by comic books, and heroes such as these two. He gets a little too close to the action though, and winds up nearly being killed! Don’t worry, Spidey and the Surfer have enough time even with fighting to save the youth!

The glorious days of Marvel in the late Silver/early Bronze Age is undeniable. The work that Stan “The Man” Lee (writer) and “Big” John Buscema (pencils) put in on this title is awesome. Dan Adkins did a great job inking this story, and Sam Rosen with the letters as well.  The grandeur of the Silver Surfer was never on better display than in this series! Just an FYI: You also get an issue of Warlock (#11), that is also a fantastic read (Kudos to Jim Starlin, Steve Leialoha, and Tom Orzechowski)!

 

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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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Fantasy Masterpieces #10, 1980 “A World He Never Made”

This issue is my first grab of this title, and I can’t wait to get my hands on more of them! When you see the wondrous world that ‘Big’ John Buscema creates just in the first couple of pages, you’ll be awestruck. He can really make you believe that you’ve exited your body, and entered another world. His uncanny ability to capture characters, especially when they’re in an emotional distress, coupled with his great use of anatomy, is what made him so very special.

In this story, the Surfer is trying to further understand the human race, and that’s something that has proved most difficult for him since his former master, Galactus, banished him to Earth. After witnessing a cop trying to help a suicide attempt on a bridge, the Surfer dresses up like Dick Tracy to “blend in’, and assess mankind down among the people! He hangs out in South America for a while, but realizes that a militaristic group has taken control of the area, and will kill anything they deem untrustworthy. In a subplot, out in space (but nearing Earth), the beloved of the Silver Surfer, the beautiful Shalla Bal, is a passenger aboard the ship of Yarro Gort, and he means to embarrass the Surfer, and take Shalla Bal for his own!

A good story with powerful art! Buscema was such a master at anatomy, and facial expressions specifically. He really knew how to get everything out of a character in pain, or that was suffering. The back-up story is one I own in a couple of different formats, but it’s still very cool. Jim  Starlin gives us “The Terrible Trial of Adam Warlock” (Strange Tales #180, 1975), and the whole cast is here for the ride! Pip the Troll, Gamora, and the Universal Church of Truth! Other creators include – Dan Adkins (inker – SS story), Sam Rosen (letters – SS story), Stan Lee (writer – SS story), Tom Orzechowski (letters – Warlock story), Alan Weiss (inker), Len Wein (editor), and Danny Fingeroth (reprint editor)!

 

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Fantastic Four Annual #5, 1967

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In this fantastic story, you get to see the incredible Silver Surfer, the way only Jack Kirby could draw him! As the Surfer is flying around, taking in Earth’s beauty, he’s nearly shot by some duck hunters. He gives them a warning shot, and continues on his way. He then stumbles upon a computer, inside an abandoned laboratory, formerly a hideout for the Mad Thinker! Inside this normal looking computer lies a secret, and its name is Quasimodo! This creature was created with the sole purpose of destroying the enemies of the Mad Thinker. The Fantastic Four thwarted his plans, and the evil villain left the computer to rot. It’s kind of sentient though, and mentally cried out to someone. The Silver Surfer was passing by, and heard the cries for help.

Well, I wont spoil it, but needless to say that an evil genius conceived this computer, so when the Surfer helps it escape its prison, it’s not as grateful as one would hope. A battle at the rooftops of New York City, between the cosmic powered Silver Surfer, and Quasimodo, the living computer! My copy is from an issue of Marvel Milestones that includes one of the best Dr. Strange stories ever told as well! Enjoy!

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Fantastic Four #157, 1975. “And Now…The Endgame Cometh”

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No, your eyes do not deceive you! That is one awesome FF cover, that is signed by the artist, Rich Buckler! I had the pleasure of meeting him for a few seconds ay NYCC 2013, and he was gracious enough to sign my oldest copy of this wonderful title! Written/edited by Roy Thomas, Pencils by Rich Buckler, inks by Joe Sinnott, Colors by Petra Goldberg, and letters by Joe Rosen! Enjoy!