Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Face Front! An Inside Look at MARVELMANIA in 1970! Spidey! Cap! Jack Kirby!

MARVELMANIA was sorta the fan club that "fell between the cracks" back in the day! It came sandwiched between the Merry Marvel Marching Society (mid-60s) and FOOM (mid-to-late 70s), but the ill-fated fan organ did produce some interesting items in its short life! Click below to peek inside one of the 1970 MARVELMANIA merch mags, as well as some exciting editorial elements, such as a riotous romp during the famed "Toys for Tots" campaign, starring live-action versions of some of Marvel's own costumed cut-ups!

Above: The crisp cover to one of the MM merch
catalogs, using art by Sal Buscema and Sam Grainger!

Above: Imagine ordering not only fine black-and-white reproductions of
comic artwork then, but custom pieces by some of Marvel's biggest artists,
available only thru MM! These portraits were sold up until around 1972,
 and I would stare at the tiny ads in comics for them, hoping for any
glimpse of how my beloved comic books were created!

Above: In 1970, seeing any original comic art was a rare
occurrence, so it musta been great to be able to order these
reproductions from the color books!

Above: On top of all of the above greatness, MM offered these huge, full-color
custom posters (which now command insane prices among modern collectors),
each drawn by Marvel's greatest artists! Some of these images went on to
appear on merry Marvel merchandise, too...

Above: What fan would want photographs of the Marvel artists and writers?!
Don't laugh! In those pre-internet days, fans wondered what these faceless
creators looked like! Heck, I can recall scratching my head over how to
pronounce their names!

Above: More ya want? How about these six custom plastic statues from Marx? These
were not only the first 3-D interpretations we'd see of some of these Marvel madmen
(a few others had been immortalized previously by Aurora model kits), but the toys
also sported very well-done sculpting and rendering! Fans now pay hundreds of bucks
to buy new high-end statues and busts of sculpted superheroes! This set was also sold
in stores in the early-70s (I snagged a green Hulk, red Daredevil etc..), and later
in the decade as fully-painted versions (wearing easily-chipped lead paints)!

Above: Click to enlarge this pic of my own Marvel statues! This is a
reproduction set offered in the late-80s, and I painted them up at the time!
They've been on display ever since!

Above: Hard to believe now, but there was a time when images of smilin' Stan Lee
were not so prominent! Here is the fearless leader, bearded in his den, lighting one
of his (then) signature stogies!

Above: Marvel did initiate a very worthwhile program, teaming with the Marines
and the Toys for Tots folks! Here is a rapturous report of that first campaign, complete
with (very nice) live-action versions of Cap, Spidey, and Thor! 

Above: Is that--Jack Kirby?! Yep! The co-creator of Captain America, Thor, and the 
Hulk (as well as a host of other costumed cut-ups), takes time from his exhausting
scribbling schedule to lend his support to this worthy charity!

Above: More scintillating scenes from this epic event! Wouldn't
you love to find footage from the TV broadcast?

Above: Recognize that shirt one frantic fan is wearing? It's the 1966
Thor shirt, offered by the MMMS (the previous Marvel fan club), drawn
by Jack Kirby himself! Wanna see that gorgeous Kirby-generated Toys for Tots
poster also seen in the background of those pics? Look below, effendi!

Above: Fans are even treated to this
Toys for Tots-promoting strip (which later 

ran in AVENGERS #85, see below) with art 
by big John Buscema!

Thanks to Steven Thompson for the above scan!


B Smith said...

You know, I'd like to think I'm well past being the fanboy Marvel zombie of old - but if someone reprinted those two foot by three foot posters today, I'd be at them like a shot.

(I'd have probably bought them in the old days if the mystery of international money orders hadn't confounded me)

Joe Jusko said...

I was gonna buy one of these off Ebay just a couple of weeks ago! Thanks for posting the interiors!

Terry Beatty said...

I sent away for most of those items as a kid. Long gone now -- though I do have later reissues of the plastic figures. I do wonder why those posters haven't been reissued -- I'd sure pop for 'em.