Monday, July 28, 2014

A Star-Lord Is Born

I was never partial to the black-and-white comic/sci-fi/sword and sorcery magazines that hit the stands in the 1970s, so Marvel's promotional material for their B&W mags was lost on me. Consequently, I wasn't a reader of Marvel Preview, despite being tempted with this nice launch ad by (I'm assuming) John Romita in January of '75:

There also seemed to be something of a distribution problem with these mags. I wasn't yet buying my comics at dedicated comics shops, and the various convenience and drug stores I was picking up comics at were carrying more mainstream mags rather than these fantasy-based 'zines, at least in my area. So I wasn't fortunate enough to be treated to the nice Neal Adams cover of the first issue of Preview (seen here alongside issue #9, which apparently is looking to gain a little more mileage out of an adaptation of the masthead):

Marvel also name-dropped the mag in their Bullpen Bulletins section (which also prominently featured the Romita ad):

"...the first issue of MARVEL PREVIEW--a one-dollar wonder which will showcase a fabulous new feature each and every ish! Our maiden voyage: MAN-GODS FROM BEYOND THE STARS! And if this stunning science-fiction tale of earth's first alien visitors doesn't knock Von Daiken [sic] and company right out of their chariots, then we're taking the first flying saucer out of here!"

(A slight typo in the Bulletins copy, which no doubt meant to refer to Erich von Däniken, author of the bestseller Chariots of the Gods?.)

I dare say many works since von Däniken's book jumped on board the story potential of aliens visiting our world and influencing our culture and development in primitive times--so it's no real surprise to see Marvel green-light both the "Man-Gods" story and, a year and a half later, a more formal approach with Jack Kirby's The Eternals and its focus on the Celestials.

Marvel Preview also introduced the Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon characters before ending its run (as "Marvel Preview") in late 1980.

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