Thursday, May 31, 2018

Fandom at Its Finest

Marvel Tales #146 (Marvel, December 1982, 60 cents)
"The Man Called Electro" Written by: Stan Lee, Illustrated by: Steve Ditko, Lettered by: Art Simek, Colored by: Andy Yanchus.

Yep, this is the same comic as Spider-Man Classics #10, reprinted 12 years prior. I actually prefer the Marvel Tales reprints because of the color and paper combination—the palette is closer to that of the original comics. Also, later reprints are often reprints of earlier reprints—rather than the original comic. (For example, check p. 1 of this issue and of Spider-Man Classics #10, and look for the reprint notice caption box. In the latter comic, they kept the box but nixed the text!)

The letter column is awesome... people commenting on 1960s comics based on the '80s reprints. This is fandom at its finest.

Read Also: Marvel Tales #145.

Marvel Tales #177 (Marvel, July 1985, 65 cents)
"Just a Guy Named Joe" Written and edited by: Stan Lee, Plotted and drawn by: Steve Ditko, Lettered by: Artie Simek, Colored by: Andy Yanchus.

By now, Marvel Tales was up to reprinting Amazing Spider-Man #38. The paper-color combination was less pleasing than earlier reprints in the series, as the company updated its production standards. In this issue, a daydreamer named Joe fails as a boxer before trying his hand at acting. During a film production, he is exposed to "a puddle of spilled chemicals" and an electrical shock, which give him greater strength and fighting ability.

Ned Leeds is angry at Peter Parker because of Betty Brant's disappearance. "I asked her to marry me! She wanted to see you before she'd give me an answer!" Spider-Man bumps into the dazed super-strong costumed actor, and the rest of the issue is kind of a series of fights: Spider-Man is accosted by Hoods, Inc.; Joe takes on the clientele of a crowded gym; Spider-Man gets into it with Joe—who eventually comes to his senses—and then Hoods, Inc. shows up again.

Pages 15-17 are replete with entertaining sound effects: "Kak," "Btak!", "Ftak!", "Butoop!", "Kapow!", "Foom!", "Szak!", "Bok!", "Thwk!", "Thak!", "Brup!", and "Klip!" Quite the sequence. And the issue features more odd pop culture references than previous issues did: Rock Hudson, Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, and Lawrence Welk, for example.

The "Post Office of the Past" letter column reprints original letters commenting on Amazing Spider-Man #38, which is very, very cool. And the "Marvel Bullpen Bulletins" column is reprinted from the original issue—also very cool.

Availability: These two issues are collected in The Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus Vol. 1. #146 is also included in Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: Great Power. #177 is featured in The Essential Spider-Man, Vol. 2.

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