Monday, December 24, 2012

Uncanny X-Men #98 Splash Page (April 1976)

The splash page to Uncanny X-Men #98 is one of the most heartwarming holiday vignettes in the long history of Marvel Comics. The scene features the whole team in their civilian clothes taking much-needed time off to enjoy the season by the Christmas Tree and Skating Rink at Rockefeller Center. This splash page is also a veritable treasure trove of cameo appearances and Easter Eggs. In addition to the X-Men and Moira MacTaggert, the foreground features the first appearance of Amanda Sefton and her friend Betsy Wilfred, Daredevil Matt Murdock, Nick Fury with La Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, and X-Men artist Dave Cockrum with his first wife Andrea Kline. As if that wasn't enough, you can see Doctor Doom skating along at the north end of the rink. Pure genius by Cockrum!

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics, X-Men Companion Vol. 1

Uncanny X-Men #98 (April 1976)

Title: Merry Christmas, X-Men…The Sentinels Have Returned
Cover: Dave Cockrum
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Dave Cockrum
Inker: Sam Grainger
Colors: Janice Cohen
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Marv Wolfman
Cover Price: Still Only $0.25
Cover Date: April 1976
Release Date: January 1976
Synopsis: The Mighty Marvel Checklist in comics cover dated April 1976 says “Merry Christmas, X-Men…The Sentinels Have Returned! It begins at Rockefeller Center; it ends Lord-knows-where! But we think that the title says it all! Claremont’s, Cockrum’s and Grainger’s holiday gift to all X-fans, wherever they may be!”

The X-Men visit the Rockefeller Center Christmas to see the Christmas Tree, but their holiday fun comes to an abrupt end when the Sentinels attack. The story has a great balance of heartwarming holiday cheer and all-out action courtesy of Claremont and Cockrum. This issue starts a fantastic run that brings back the Sentinels, which were last seen in X-Men #59 (August 1969), and sets the stage for Jean Grey’s transformation into Phoenix, the introduction of the Hellfire Club and a number of other plot lines that would be introduced in the coming years. This issue is also legendary for the number of cameo appearances by characters from the worlds of comics and reality. In addition to the dozen-plus characters on opening splash page atRockefeller Center, the latter pages include cameo appearances by Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Julius Schwartz, Carmine Infantino and Richard Nixon.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics, X-Men Companion Vol. 1

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from The Marvel Project! Christmas is almost upon us, so we're feeling the warm embrace of the holiday season and looking forward to the New Year. Many thanks to Chris Giarrusso for taking on the commission to do this awesome Mini Marvel Holiday Card. The idea was to do an homage to the cover of Giant-Size X-Men #1 with the heroes bursting out of a Christmas wreath instead of through the page.  Chris did a spectacular job in his unique Mini Marvel style and and came up with the added bonus of Colossus delivering Wolverine via Fastball Special.  Enjoy!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Star Trek: The Motion Picture Ad (March 1979)

Marvel comics cover dated March 1980 and released in December 1979 had ads for the much-anticipated Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Featuring all of the original cast members, Star Trek: The Motion Picture offered the first return of the franchise in more than a decade since the TV series was canceled in 1969.  The film premiered on December 7, 1979 and grossed $11.9 million in its opening weekend, equal to about $39.8 million in today's dollars adjusting for inflation.  The film would go on to gross $139 million worldwide over time and set the stage for at least three more decades of Star Trek in film, television and other mediums. Marvel published an adaptation of the movie in Marvel Super Special #15 that was released in early December, 1979 to coincide with the film.

Source: Kraalo Archives, IMDB.com

Johnson Smith Company Ad (March 1980)

Marvel comics cover dated March 1980 had a full-page Johnson Smith Company ad on the inside back cover. I can remember spending hours staring pouring over these ads back when I was a kid and lusting after things like the Midget Camera and the Secret Book Safe. Mail-Order Mysteries by Kirk Demarais is a must-read for any child of the 60s, 70s or 80s that lived in wonder of ads like this one from Johnson Smith Company. Click on the image below for a high-resolution copy of the ad.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Revolutionary War Soldiers Ad (March 1980)

Marvel comics cover dated March 1980 included a full-page ad for a 204-piece set of Revolutionary War Soldiers. The set advertised two complete armies: "The British Redcoats and the American Bluecoats." Were the American troops really called the Bluecoats? "Re-live again the famous battles of the American Revolution! Form your own battle lines! Hours of fun for the whole family!" Not a bad bargain at $2.98.  Click on the image below for a high-resolution scan of the ad.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hostess Fruit Pies Ad: The Hungry Battleaxe!

Hostess ran a series of ads featuring Marvel characters in comics throughout the 1970s and early 1980s that decades later I still indelibly associate with Cupcakes, Fruit Pies and Twinkies. Marvel comics dated March 1980 featured Iron Man in The Hungry Battleaxe! in which the Avenger fights an armored villain bent on stealing uranium from a depository. Iron Man surmises that Battleaxe is hungry and throws him a bunch of Hostess Fruit Pies, distracting the villain from his felonious pursuit. The ad bears no signatures, but the art is attributed to Al Milgrom and Frank Giacoia with letters by Irving Watanabe.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Grand Comics Database

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

X-Mail Letters Page (March 1980)

The X-Mail letters page in Uncanny X-Men #131 has a letter from one David Stallman that balances effusive praise with insightful commentary and really hammers home the fact that what Chris Claremont and John Byrne were doing on the title was truly remarkable at this point in time. Of note, David Stallman observes that Magneto's wife Magda bears a strong resemblance to the Scarlet Witch, guessing that she may be her mother years before it was revealed as fact.

The editorial response to Stallman's note lays out tantalizing hints of what else to expect in 1980, including the return of Alpha Flight, Juggernaut, Black Tom, Arcade and the Sentinels. There is also a mention of a last Sauron story by Chris Claremont and Michael Golden set in the Savage Land that would eventually see print with the March 1982 launch of Marvel Fanfare. In the days before Marvel Age, the previews in Marvel's monthly letters columns were always welcome windows into what was to come.

A statement of circulation dated October 1, 1979 appears in this month's Uncanny X-Men letters column, showing average paid circulation over the preceding 12 months of 167,641 issues. The prior statement of circulation dated September 25, 1978 appeared in Uncanny X-Men #120 and showed average paid circulation over the preceding 12 months of 113,377 issues. The October 1, 1979 figures represent an increase of average paid circulation of 54,264 issues or 47.9%.  The Claremont-Byrne magic was clearly working to improve sales, so it will be interesting to see the sales figures for 1980 after the Dark Phoenix Saga.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Uncanny X-Men #131 Cover Art

John Byrne's cover to Uncanny X-Men #131 shows key moments from the issue with the White Queen superimposed over the top. A picture truly speaks a thousand words and Byrne grew increasingly adept at this type of montage during his definitive run on the X-Men. The pencils and inks of the original art really show the magic of the John Byrne-Terry Austin teamwork that was a hallmark of this incredible period in the X-Men's history.  The note in the right margin reads "Office, Put Logo Behind Head In Front Of Cloak, As Indicated Please."

Source: The Marvel Age of Comics

Monday, November 26, 2012

Uncanny X-Men #131 (March 1980)

Title: Run For Your Life!
Cover: John Byrne, Terry Austin
Co-Plotters: Chris Claremont, John Byrne
Script: Chris Claremont
Penciler: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Colors: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: After narrowly escaping the Hellfire Club's troops, Kitty Pryde runs for her life in the streets of Chicago. The X-Men intervene and defeat the villains pursuing the young mutant, returning to the safety of their skyship along the banks of Lake Michigan only after they convince Kitty that they're actually the good guys. Cyclops and Phoenix interrogate their Hellfire Club prisoners and learn about the shadowy organization and its plot against them, prompting Phoenix to ponder her dreams in which she's living the life of an ancestor who is married to a lord of the club. Cyclops, Dazzler, Nightcrawler, Phoenix and Kitty Pryde develop a plan to rescue Colossus, Storm, Wolverine and Professor Xavier and set out for the White Queen’s base at Frost Enterprises. Kitty Pryde infiltrates the base and frees Wolverine with her phasing powers while Cyclops and Dazzler create a distraction for the guards outside. Phoenix interrupts the White Queen in midst of a mental interrogation of Storm and the two foes engage in a battle that culminates in the destruction of the complex with Phoenix emerging as the victor and the White Queen missing in action. The team returns Kitty Pryde home in their civilian disguises to her relieved and enraged parents, who remarkably turn very friendly after a bit of mental manipulation by Phoenix. The issue closes with Cyclops and Storm noting that such behavior is out of character and worrying that there is a dark side to Phoenix that may be out of control.

This issue is a great middle act to the Hellfire Club Saga and serves up fantastic foreshadowing for the Dark Phoenix Saga to come. A few notable items come to mind after re-reading this issue for this review. First, Emma Frost is portrayed as a truly evil and sadistic character, so it's hard to imagine that Claremont or Byrne ever imagined her reforming and joining the forces of good later in the X-Men series. "All they'll find when they reach this chamber is a mindless thing, human only in physical form -- you, Storm." Yikes! Second, this issue offers Wolverine's first lethal encounter with the Hellfire Club soldiers after one of them shoots Kitty Pryde with a blaster. "Sucker, you just made the biggest mistake of your life.  And the last.  Snikt!" Think that's bad for the Hellfire Club goons? Just wait until issue #133! Third, on a more cheerful note, we see early signs of Kitty Pryde's crush on Colossus. "Eh? Why is Kitty staring at me?" "Wow, Peter -- You saved us all.  That was neat!" "It was?" Overall a great issue that truly withstands the test of time.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thor #293 (March 1980)

Title: The Twilight of Some Gods!
Cover: Keith Pollard, Bob Layton
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: Keith Pollard
Inker: Chic Stone
Colors: Carl Gafford
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Jim Shooter
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: After triumphing over Odin’s disembodied eye, the sentient creature promises the Thunder God the answers he has been seeking about his father’s treachery!  Trust us, true believers, Thor isn’t going to like what he hears!

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Tales To Astonish #4 (March 1980)

Title: Who Strikes for Atlantis?
Cover: John Buscema, Frank Giacoia
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: John Buscema
Inker: Frank Giacoia
Letterer: Mac Duffy
Reprint Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: Tales to Astonish #4 reprints Sub-Mariner #4 (August 1968) in which Attuma attacks Atlantis and to his regret goes toe-to-toe with Prince Namor!

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

Friday, November 23, 2012

Star Wars #33 (March 1980)

Title: Saber Clash!
Cover: Carmine Infantino, Bob Wiacek
Writer: Archie Goodwin
Penciler: Carmine Infantino
Inker: Gene Day
Colorist: Petra Goldberg
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Jim Shooter
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: Luke’s showdown in a lightsaber duel with Barron Tagge!

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Wikia, Wookieepedia

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Spidey Super Stories #45 (March 1980)

Title: The Sunshine Machine
Writers: Jim Salicrup, Michael Siporin
Penciler: Winslow Mortimer
Inker: Ricardo Villamonte
Editor: Deborah November
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: Spidey and the Silver Surfer Battle Dr. Doom!

Source: Kraalo Archives, Comic Vine, Marvel Wikia

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Spider-Woman #24 (March 1980)


Title: Trapped -- In The Doomsday Room!
Cover: Bob Budiansky, Josef Rubinstein
Writer: Michael Fleischer
Penciler: Trevor Von Eedon
Inker: Mike Esposito
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Jim Novak
Editor: Denny O’Neil
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: The Gamesman returns to trap Spider-Woman in the Doomsday Room!

Source: Kraalo Archives

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Shogun Warriors #14 (March 1980)

Title: Should Heroes Fail…
Cover: Al Milgrom
Writer: Doug Moench
Penciler: Herb Trimpe
Inker: Mike Esposito
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Al Milgrom
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: The final showdown with Doctor Demonicus!

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Wikia

Savage Sword of Conan #50 (March 1980)

Title: Swords Across the Alimane
Cover: Nestor Redondo
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: John Buscema
Inker: Tony DeZuniga
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $1.25
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: The feature story in this magazine is Part Two of Marvel's adaptation of Conan The Liberator, a novel written by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter featuring Robert E. Howard's seminal sword and sorcery hero. The story was first published in paperback by Bantam Books in February 1979.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Wikia

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Savage She-Hulk #2 (March 1980)

Title: Deathrace!!
Cover: John Buscema
Writer: David Anthony Kraft
Penciler: Mike Vosburg
Inker: Chic Stone
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Jim Shooter
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis:  Disaster strikes as the She-Hulk fights to prevent a tragedy!  A powerful story featuring the death of She-Hulk’s closest friend!

Source: Kraalo Archives

ROM #4 (March 1980)

Title: The Fire, The Friend, and The Foe!
Cover: Al Milgrom
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Inker: Sal Buscema
Colorist: Ben Sean
Letterer: Jim Novak
Editor: Joe Duffy
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: The Spaceknight fights Firefall, champion of the Dire Wraiths!

Source: Kraalo Archives

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Spectacular Spider-Man #40 (March 1980)

Title: The Terrible Turnabout!
Cover: Al Milgrom, Joe Rubinstein
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Penciler: Frank Springer
Inker: Ricardo Villamonte
Colors: Ben Sean
Letterer: Diana Albers
Editor: Al Milgrom
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: This, then, is the tragedy.  To begin as man…and end as monster! Spider-Man becomes the Spider-Lizard! Can Dr. Curtis Connors cure him and save Manhattan?

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Wikia

Micromails (March 1980)

The Micromails letters page in Micronauts #15 includes lots of love for the title plus a great house ad for Marvel's bi-monthly Doctor Strange comic.  Click on the image below to see a larger version of Micromails.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Micronauts #15 (March 1980)

Title: The Inside Job!
Cover: Michael Golden
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Layouts: Howard Chaykin
Finishes: Al Milgrom
Colors: Bob Sharen
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Al Milgrom
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: The Fantastic Four guest star!  ‘Nuff said!

Source: Kraalo Archives

Monday, November 5, 2012

Master of Kung Fu #86 Cover Prelim Art

Artist Mike Zeck's web page is a treasure trove for fans of his definitive work on Marvel titles such as Captain America, Master of Kung Fu, The Punisher, Secret Wars and many more.  While his finished work is always incredible, it's  really interesting to see his rough sketch work like this prelim to the cover of Master of Kung Fu #86.

Source: Mike Zeck

Monday, October 22, 2012

Master of Kung Fu #86 (March 1980)

Title: The Phoenix and the Dragon
Cover: Mike Zeck
Writer: Doug Moench
Penciler: Mike Zeck
Inker: Gene Day
Colors: Ben Sean
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: Shang-Chi comes face-to-face with his father, the evil and immortal Fu Manchu, in the fourth issue of the Warriors of the Golden Dawn saga.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Mike Zeck

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Marvel’s Greatest Comics #86 (March 1980)

Title: The Monster’s Secret!
Cover: John Romita, Sr.
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: John Romita, Sr.
Inker: Joe Sinnott
Letterer: Artie Simek
Editor: Stan Lee
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: Marvel's Greatest Comics #86 reprints Fantastic Four #106 (January 1971) in which Reed Richards must abandon his attempt to revert the Thing back to Ben Grim at a critical juncture in order to save the Invisible Girl and stop a mysterious monster from ravaging the streets of New York City!

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics, Marvel Wikia

Marvel Two-In-One #61 (March 1980)

Title: The Coming of Her!
Cover: George Perez, Terry Austin
Writer: Mark Gruenwald
Penciler: Jerry Bingham
Inker: Gene Day
Colorist: Ben Sean
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Jim Salicrup
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: The Thing teams with Starhawk of the Guardians of the Galaxy to battle the menace called…Her!

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Avengers: Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase One

Marvel is pulling out all the stops for the video release of the blockbuster film Avengers: Assembled.  In addition to the standard DVD edition, Marvel is releasing special 2-disc and 4-disc Blu-Ray combo packs as well as the 10-disc Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One Collection.  While this offering looks at first blush to be a ploy to offload excess Blu-Ray inventory, it really is an incredible package.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One Collection comes packaged in a S.H.I.E.L.D. briefcase with a glowing Tesseract and Blu-Ray editions of The Avengers; Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor, as well as Blu-Ray versions of Iron Man; Iron Man 2 and The Incredible Hulk. Plus, the collection includes a top-secret bonus disc filled with never before seen, classified information. It also features exquisitely detailed art, prop reproductions and artifacts from the motion pictures.

It is expected that the short film Item 47 will be included in this collection, although it's not specified in the description online.  In any case, the substantial price tag seems worthwhile if based only on the movies, the Tesseract, S.H.I.E.L.D. briefcase, and the other extras, so Item 47 would be gravy.  The Avengers: Assembled will be released on September 25th and this collection is widely available through participating online retailers and directly through Buena Vista Home Entertainment.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Joe Kubert R.I.P.

Legendary creator Joe Kubert passed away on August 12, 2012 at the age of 85. To call his contribution to comics extraordinary is an understatement. Kubert's impact on the medium can be measured not only in his own work as an artist, writer, and editor but also as a father to his sons Adam and Andy, two of finest and most commercially successful comic books artists in the business, and as a teacher to thousands of students at his Kubert School.

Bill Schelly, author of the Man of Rock: A Biography of Kubert, aptly noted that his career literally spans the history of American comics. He began drawing comics professionally in 1938 at the age of 11 just as Superman made his debut in Action Comics no. 1, and continued to be one of the most influential creators in comics until his death, with a body of work in mainstream and independent comic titles that is loved by fans and critics alike.

Kubert is best known for his definitive runs on DC’s war comics, GI Combat, Our Army at War, Sgt. Rock, Enemy Ace, and the Haunted Tank, as well as superhero titles like Hawkman and his adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs property Tarzan. During the span of his 70+ year career in comics, he worked as an artist, writer, and editor on many of the leading titles for every major publisher in the business.

In 1976, he founded the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, the first and only accredited school devoted solely to the art of cartoon graphics. The Kubert School has produced many of the most successful comic artists in the business today, including Scott Kolins, Alex Maleev, Tom Mandrake, Rags Morales, John Totelben, Rick Veitch, Thom Zahler, as well as Kubert’s sons Adam and Andy and many others.

Kubert's most recent project was DC's Before Watchmen: Nite Owl alongside his son Andy and his remarkable body of work will be a source of joy and inspiration to generations of fans and creators in the future.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Marvel Team-Up #91 (March 1980)

Title: Carnival of Souls!
Cover: Rich Buckler, Al Milgrom
Writer: Steven Grant
Penciler: Pat Broderick
Inker: Bruce Patterson
Colorist: George Roussos
Letterer: Jim Novak
Editor: Denny O’Neil
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: Spider-Man and Ghost Rider team up in Carnival of Souls!  Peter Parker and Glory Grant attend a carnival in Connecticut and Peter is shocked to find Ghost Rider appearing as the Blazing Skull in the carnival’s freak show. He returns after hours as Spider-Man and is ambushed by the carnival swami who claims to be an old foe, but the Wall Crawler doesn’t recognize him. Ghost Rider is dispatched to fight Spider-Man and the two former allies do battle until the hero is finally ambushed and knocked unconscious.  Spider-Man awakes in chains to learn that his foe is Moon-Dark the Magician who first appeared in Marvel Team-Up #12 (August 1973). The magician has imprisoned the soul of Johnny Blaze and intends to do the same with Spider-Man. The Web Slinger thwarts the magician’s efforts and frees both himself and Johnny Blaze’s soul, restoring Ghost Rider’s consciousness and setting in motion a cascade of misfortune for the villain that results in his death at the hands of the demon that was his true master.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Wikipedia

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Marvel Tales #113 (March 1980)

Title: The Green Goblin Lives Again!
Cover: John Romita, Sr.
Writer: Gerry Conway
Penciler: Ross Andru
Inkers: Frank Giacoia, Dave Hunt
Colorist: Linda Lessmann
Letterer: Artie Simek
Editor: Roy Thomas
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: Marvel Tales #113 reprints Amazing Spider-Man #136 (September 1974).  A blissful Sunday afternoon with Mary Jane Watson comes to a shocking end when the couple returns to Peter Parker’s apartment. A bomb detonates when the lock is opened, destroying the apartment and knocking Mary Jane unconscious! Concluding that this attack must be the work of the Green Goblin, Peter changes into his Spider-Man costume and searches an old warehouse that Norman Osborn previously used as a hideout.  After waiting for hours, Spider-Man’s patience is rewarded as the Green Goblin makes an appearance on his glider. The two fight to a standstill and Green Goblin stops short of a killing blow when his glove blaster runs out of power. The villain flies off, promising revenge by either killing the hero or revealing his secret identity. The issue ends with Peter Parker clearly shocked by the realization that his friend and roommate Harry Osborn must now be the Green Goblin. Among other highlights, this issue is notable for Ross Andru’s art, particularly the gorgeous rendering of Mary Jane on the opening splash page and the striking double-page spread of the Green Goblin on his Bat Glider.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics, Marvel Wikia

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Marvel Super-Heroes #87 (March 1980)


Title: Descent Into The Time-Storm!
Cover: Herb Trimpe
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: Herb Trimpe
Inker: Sal Buscema
Letterer: Sam Rosen
Editor: Stan Lee
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: Marvel Super-Heroes #87 reprints Incredible Hulk #135 (January 1971) in which the Hulk becomes entangled in one of Kang the Conquerors’ time-spanning schemes. From his citadel in the 41st century, Kang hatches a plot to go back to World War I to change the outcome of history in a way that will eliminate the Avengers in the 20th century, but a time storm prevents him from making the journey. He realizes that the only creature who can survive the time storm is the Hulk, who Kang turns into an unwitting pawn and sends to the battlefields of World War I in 1917 where the green goliath encounters the masked hero Phantom Eagle. Although the Hulk disrupts a critically important mission, he ends up accomplishing the Phantom Eagle’s objective by accident, which foils Kang’s dream for the total conquest of time!

Source: Kraalo Archives

Monday, June 18, 2012

Marvel Super Special #15 (March 1980)


Title: Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Cover: Bob Larkin
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Penciler: Dave Cockrum
Inker: Klaus Janson
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $1.50
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: The description in the checklist of Marvel’s March 1980 edition of Bullpen Bulletins raves “This is it! The event everyone’s been waiting for! Stan Lee presents Star Trek, The Motion Picture, adapted in comics form by top Marvel stars Marv Wolfman, Dave Cockrum and Klaus Janson. Don’t miss it!”  This issue would have been released in December 1979, probably to immediately precede the December 7th opening of the feature film.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Wikia

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Marvel Super Action #17 (March 1980)

Title: The Avengers Must Die!
Cover: Don Heck, Werner Roth
Writer: Roy Thomas
Pencilers: Don Heck, Werner Roth
Inkers: Frank Giacoia, Vince Colletta
Letterers: Joe Rosen, Artie Simek
Editor: Stan Lee
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: Marvel Super Action #17 reprints the second part of Avengers Annual #2 (September 1968) in which the Avengers are transported through time by Dr. Doom’s time machine to 1963 where they face off against the original Avengers team of that era. The time traveling Scarlett Centurion promises the 1963 Avengers that he will solve all of Earth’s ills if they agree to defeat all of the planet’s heroes and villains.  In the second part of the story, the two sets of Avengers battle and the team from 1968 manages to prevail against all odds. They return to Dr. Doom’s castle in Latveria intending to use his time machine to restore the change of history caused by the Scarlett Centurion. The villain materializes and fights the Avengers, defeating Captain America, Wasp, Black Panther and Hawkeye before Goliath shrinks out of sight and manages to activate the time machine. Goliath’s ploy succeeds and he restores history, undoing the damage done by the Scarlett Centurion, who we learn from the Watcher is actually an early incarnation of Kang the Conqueror! The cover of this reprint is taken from the splash page of part two of Avengers Annual #2.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics, Marvel Wikia

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Heroes World Fireside Book Ad

In a time before collected editions were commonplace, Fireside (Simon & Schuster) collaborated with Marvel and Stan Lee to produce a line of paperback and hardcover editions that are among the most memorable introductions  to the key characters and story lines of the Marvel Universe. This Heroes World ad is a great snapshot of the full lineup of Fireside editions as well as some other great books, calendars and other goodness from March 1980.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Fun Factory Super Gifts & Gimmicks Ad

Fun Factory was working from the same playbook as the world famous Johnson Smith Company in 1980, advertising all kinds of gimmicks and novelties for sale by mail order. Want a 3 foot long Giant Evil Snake? How about a Mini Spy Camera? A Bald Head Wig or a Werewolf Mask? I can only wonder how many hours I spent pouring over ads like this one and fantasizing about all the cool things that I wanted to buy.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Monday, June 11, 2012

Marvel Spotlight #5 (March 1980)


Title: A Hero Is Also A Man!
Cover: Frank Miller, Bob Wiacek
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Penciler: Steve Ditko
Inker: Steve Ditko
Colorist: Roger Slifer
Letterer: Elaine Heinl
Editor: Marv Wolfman
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December  1979
Synopsis: A dragon known as the Wani emerges from the sea in Kwanto, Japan in 1582 and wreaks havoc.  A samurai Tako is summoned before his feudal lord to explain why his 5,000 soldiers have been unsuccessful in defeating the monster. Faced with the option of ritual suicide for his failure and shame, Tako elects to fight the dragon alone. He says farewell to his family and faces the monster, perishing when he detonates a keg of gunpower in the dragon’s face. While Tako drove the monster back to the depths of the sea, it is unclear whether he killed the monster or not, so his family’s shame was not cleansed. His son takes on the mission to avenge his family’s honor and dedicates himself to a lifetime of training in the martial and mystical arts in order to prepare for the ultimate return of the dragon. Flash forward many generations to New York in 1979, Tako’s descendant and namesake learns that a dragon has been sighted at an offshore drilling platform. He incants a spell that summons the Wani and unleashes a magical attack, pitting a mystical creature against the dragon. In the tumult, the Wani crushes Tako’s home, trapping his family in the ruins. In desperation, Tako draws upon the strength of his ancestors dating back 500 years and manages to control the creature, direct him first to save his family and then to return to the depths from which he came.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Friday, June 8, 2012

Bill Sienkiewicz Moon Knight Art

Bill Sienkiewicz's art in Marvel Preview #21 is nothing short of incredible and represents a fantastic time capsule of the creator's work from early in his career. Marvel Preview is a real treat for fans of original art because of its large size and black and white format that essentially gives the reader the the raw pencils and inks without blemish of the poor four-color printing process of that era. This fronticepiece appears before the table of contents offers a great sample of Sienkiewicz's Moon Knight circa 1980.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Marvel Preview #21 (Spring 1980)


Title: Marvel Preview
Cover: Bill Sienkiewicz, Klaus Janson, Steve Oliff, Bob Larkin
Writers: Ralph Macchio, Doug Moench, Roger Stern, Mark Gruenwald, Steven Grant
Pencilers: Bill Sienkiewicz, Steve Ditko
Inkers: Tom Palmer, Dan Green
Editor: Lynn Graeme
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $1.25
Cover Date: Spring 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: In The Mind Thieves, Moon Knight is drawn into a web of covert operations and espionage when the corpse of one of his former colleagues from the CIA is delivered to Steven Grant's mansion. The investigation takes the hero to Montreal and then to Paris as he tries to unravel the mystery of who is behind the plot to resurrect a discontinued CIA mind control experiment called Project: Cobra. In Walk A Crooked Mile! the Shroud infiltrates the organization of a mobster known as the Crooked Man who enlists the hero’s assistance in an art theft heist caper and ultimately double-crosses the shadowy vigilante.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Man-Thing #2 (March 1980)


Title: The Gong of Doom!
Cover: Bob Wiacek
Writer: Michael Fleischer
Penciler: Jim Mooney
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Letterer: Diana Albers
Editor: Mark Gruenwald
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: Continuing directly from Man-Thing #2, a Himalayan avalanche cascades down on Man-Thing and the terrified Elaine, burying the two as Roger Grafton, the man responsible for the disaster, stalks away with a scheme on his mind. Elaine and Man-Thing climb out of the snow and are immediately set upon by a tribe of Abominable Snowmen who take them prisoner and bring them back to camp. We learn that the tribe is led by a human anthropologist named Hiram Swenson, who was found by the beasts after being beaten nearly to death by his Sherpa guides during an exploration years ago. They nursed him back to health and he became their leader, developing a hatred for civilization and wanting to protect his people from the outside world. Swenson condemns Elaine and Man-Thing to death, but one of the Snowmen believes that Man-Thing is an invincible mastodon from mythology that signifies the death knell of their culture. Just as Elaine and Man-Thing are about to be burned at the stake, Roger Grafton and his team burst onto the scene. They gun down the Snowmen so that they can capture Man-Thing and bring him back to civilization to be exhibited as a freak of nature. They lower a cage around Man-Thing, but he escapes and burns Roger Grafton to death with his touch. The snowmen start an avalanche, but Man Thing manages to grab Elaine and the ski pontoon of the passing plane to escape as the issue wraps up with another cliff-hanger.

 Source: Kraalo Archives

Monday, May 28, 2012

King Conan #1 Splash Page Art

King Conan #1 opens with a fantastic splash page by John Buscema and Ernie Chan featuring a montage of the Cimmerian's conquests and trials over the years. The original art shows detail not apparent in the printed color version and an interesting note in the margins, presumably from John Buscema to Ernie Chan. "Inker/Embellisher: Conan is 55 or so here; very strong, but with a few more lines in his face, and some gray in his hair...."  The rest of the note doesn't make the scan, but it's clear that John Buscema didn't want the inker to draw King Conan like the young barbarian gracing the pages of two other Marvel titles on a monthly basis.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

King Conan #1 (March 1980)

Title: The Witch of the Mists
Cover: John Buscema, Ernie Chan
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: John Buscema
Inker: Ernie Chan
Colorist: George Roussos
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Roy Thomas
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.75
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: Marvel released its third Conan title in March 1980 as it added King Conan to a roster that already included the Conan The Barbarian comic and The Savage Sword of Conan magazine. The new title chronicled the later of adventures of Conan after taking the throne and was renamed Conan the King starting with issue #20.  In this fantasy-filled first issue, Conan faces the Hyperborean witch Louhi and Thoth-Amon.  The witch lures Conan’s son Conn into a trap and brings the prince back to her Citadel of Pohiola where she imprisons him. She makes a human sacrifice to summon Thoth-Amon and is surprised to learn that the ancient and powerful sorcerer is actually afraid of Conan. Louhi ignores Thoth-Amon’s advice to kill Conan immediately when he follows her witch men’s trail to the citadel, reuniting him with his son and giving the two the opportunity to fight their way to freedom.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Universe Appendix, MarvelWikia

Iron Man #132 Page 27 Art

The climax of Iron Man's battle with the Hulk in Iron Man #132 comes on page 27 when the Avenger focuses all his suit's power into a single blow.  "He knows he must focus the entirety of his aggressive potential in a single action at a single instant. For his sake and for the sake of the man named Bruce Banner--He must put everything that he and his incredible armor have into one punch--and--make--it--Count! FWA-WHA-WHA-BWOM"  Bob Layton did this great recreation in 2010 of Jerry Bingham's art on the page where shell head administers the coup de gr√Ęce.

Source: Bob Layton

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Iron Man #132 (March 1980)

Title: The Man Who Would Be Hulk
Cover: Bob Layton
Plot: David Michelinie, Bob Layton
Script: David Michelinie
Penciler: Jerry Bingham
Inker: Bob Layton
Colorist: George Roussos
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: “No one can hold Hulk! Hulk will smash puny men! Smash!” Angry words we would expect to hear from the incredible Hulk are instead coming from the mouth of Bruce Banner who has retained the persona of the Hulk despite his body’s reversion to the mild mannered scientist’s form.  At Stark International, Scott Lang and Tony Stark work desperately to help the man and ultimately succeed with a treatment designed to calm the Hulk’s brain waves to return him to Banner. Relieved to have restored Banner’s mind to his body, they are all crestfallen that the heart implant they devised last issue as a cure to Banner’s transformation did not work.  In fact, Stark realizes too late that the implant is actually making things worse as Banner transforms back into the Hulk and breaks out of his containment cell at Stark International, leaving behind a trail of wreckage and unconscious guards and police.  Stark dons his Iron Man armor and rushes to the scene, prepared to fight the Jade Giant once again.  Iron Man lures the Hulk to the waterfront on Long Island Sound where he tries to trap him underwater, but the green behemoth leaps to freedom and lands at the Stark International airfield where the fight continues. The Hulk is stunned when the fuel tank of a Lear Jet explodes in his face and Iron Man seizes the opportunity to deliver a blow packed with all the energy his incredible suit of armor has to offer.  The Hulk falls unconscious and as the crowd assembles to congratulate Iron Man, the hero falls over as rigid as a statue.  To be continued next issue in The Hero Within! 

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

Incredible Hulk #145 (March 1980)

Title: When The Hulk Comes Raging!
Cover: Al Milgrom
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Inker: Sal Buscema
Colorist: George Roussos
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Al Milgrom
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis:  The Hulk returns to Gamma Base to recover the body of his love Jarella and is ambushed by the army troops that were prepared for his arrival. The Jade Giant makes quick work of the soldiers, but Major Glenn Talbot attacks the Hulk in a suit of Mandroid armor that was provided to him by S.H.I.E.L.D. following the Pentagon’s sanction of the behemoth’s termination. The Hulk is initially surprised by Talbot’s onslaught in the super-powered Mandroid suit, but he soon regains the upper hand and batters his opponent.  Captain Marvel makes an appearance toward the end of the issue, having heard about the Hulk’s rampage on the news, he arrives just in time to save Talbot’s life.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics, Marvel Wikia

Monday, May 14, 2012

Howard The Duck Magazine #4 (March 1980)


Title: Playduck
Cover: John Pound
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Pencilers: Gene Colan, John Buscema
Inkers: Dave Simons, Klaus Janson
Letterers: Joe Rosen, Irving Wantabe    
Editor: Lynn Graeme
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $1.25
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: Howard The Duck #4 features a Playboy Magazine cover parody and a number of familiar Playboy features throughout the book.  The two principal stories The Maltese Cockroach and The Dreadcliff Cuckoos are interspersed with features like the Playduck Interview with Truman Capoultry, a prose story The Old Drake’s Tale, Duckmate of the Month centerfold Ms. Amy Quackton by artist John Byrne, an expose about Birds In Bondage, an excerpt from the controversial bestseller The Prisoner of the Ducks by Norman Mallard, The Playduck Review, The Playduck Adviser, and Wise Quacks.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ghost Rider #42 (March 1980)


Title: The Lonesome Death of Johnny Blaze!
Cover: Bob Budiansky, Bob Wiacek
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Penciler: Don Perlin
Inker: Don Perlin
Colors: Ben Sean
Letterer: Diana Albers
Editor: Dennis O’Neil
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: Ghost Rider intervenes when he finds the same gang he fought last issue high jacking an armored car on a desert highway in the dead of night. The criminals try to escape in the armored car, but Ghost Rider catches up with the vehicle and heats it with hellfire until the villains open the doors. He extracts from them information on where to find their co-conspirators and leaves the two men quivering on the side of the road. Awaking the next morning, the still amnesiac Johnny Blaze reports for work and sees that his boss Ginia has been in a car wreck. He races to the scene of the accident in a car and pulls her from the flames in the nick of time, further endearing him to Gina and catching the attention of the crew with his driving skill. His co-worker Carl challenges him to a race and Blaze begrudgingly accepts, falling victim to the jealous man’s dirty tricks as he forces Blaze off the road and knocks him out with a crow bar. Blaze comes to with his memory back just as Carl pushes his car over a cliff, transforming to the Ghost Rider just in time to escape the fiery crash. Gina witnesses Carl’s attempted murder of Blaze and calls the police while Ghost Rider, having no memory of Blaze’s recent activity, races off to find the gang of hijackers. The Brimstone Biker lays waste to the gang and the issue ends with Blaze wondering what happened to him during the past two days and a heartbroken Gina wishing that her man would return to her.

 Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

Fun and Games Marvel Poster No. 1 (March 1980)

Fun and Games Magazine #7 features a great double-page centerfold poster of Captain America alongside an impressive rogue's gallery by Owen McCarron who is clearly channeling his inner Jack Kirby or Herb Trimpe.  Click the image below to view a high-resolution scan of the poster.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Fun and Games #7 (March 1980)

Title: Fun and Games Magazine
Written, Drawn and Edited by Owen McCarron
Cover Price: $0.50
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1980
Synopsis:  Puzzles!  Mazes!  Fun, Fun, Fun!

Source: Kraalo Archives

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Fantasy Masterpieces #4 (March 1980)


Title: The Good, The Bad, And The Uncanny
Cover: John Buscema
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: John Buscema
Inker: Sal Buscema
Letterer: Artie Simek
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.75
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: December 1979
Synopsis: Fantasy Masterpieces #4 reprints Silver Surfer #4 (February 1969) featuring one of the most awe-inspiring and iconic covers of the Silver Age.  In this issue, Loki tricks the Silver Surfer into fighting Thor after convincing the sentinel of the skyways that his brother is evil.  Loki boosts the Silver Surfer’s power and transports him to Asgard where he battles the Thunder God.  Eventually realizing that he has been duped by Loki, the Silver Surfer ends the battle and returns to earth.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics, Marvel Wikia

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fantastic Four by John Byrne Omnibus Vol. 1 (2011)


Title: Fantastic Four by John Byrne Omnibus Vol. 1
Collection Editor: Mark Beazley
Format: Hardcover
Cover Price: $99.99
Release Date: November 9, 2011
ISBN #: 978-0-7851-5825-7
Synopsis: It was the world’s greatest comic magazine — again! Not since the days of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had a creator so perfectly captured the intense mood, cosmic style and classic sense of adventure of Marvel’s First Family. Fresh off an earth-shattering and reputation-making run as penciler on UNCANNY X-MEN, John Byrne proved his writing talent was every bit the equal of his art as he pulled double-duty on FANTASTIC FOUR, launching Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny into realms of imagination and wonder into which few creators before had dared to travel. From the four corners of the globe to the farthest reaches of space to the deepest depths of the Negative Zone, the FF face off against foes old and new — including the Dr. Doom, Galactus and Annihilus! Plus: The FF aid the Inhumans, bid farewell to the Baxter Building, don new costumes and celebrate their 20th anniversary in style as Byrne reminds us all there’s a family at the heart of this team of adventurers! Collecting MARVEL TEAM-UP (1972) #61-62; MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #50; FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #215-218, #220-221, #232-262 and ANNUAL #17; PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN (1976) #42; AVENGERS (1963) #233; THING (1983) #2; and ALPHA FLIGHT (1983) #4.

 Source: Marvel Comics
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