Monday, April 1, 2013

Chilled By The Thrills


While I'll grant you the "twice as many pages" part:



I'm not sure how many readers were thrilled to plunk down change for the very first Iron Man annual only to find it filled from cover to cover with reprinted material:



To add insult to injury, the first reprint in the issue was the continuation of another reprinted story that was published the same month in Marvel's Greatest Comics #28. Cross-over stories as a sales gimmick are bad enough, but asking readers to follow the trail of bread crumbs for material that had already seen print several years earlier borders on the ridiculous.

I could probably have avoided some of the disappointment had I been able to read between the lines of this cover box:



Which said, in so many words and with a generous helping of alliteration and adjectives, that the issue contained prior material. If only I'd been more alert and ignored the new, attention-getting artwork* while focusing instead on dissecting what the cover captions were trying to tell me.

*An exquisite cover, by the way, beautifully done by Marie Severin and Bill Everett.

But about that "fabulous foursome" of free-for-alls--did you take that to mean that this annual had four fights? Ha ha! You read between the lines about as well as I do, it seems. Even if you somehow deduced that you were picking up a "king-size special" of only reprints, in fact there were only two in this annual--one with the Titanium Man, and one (in three chapters) with the Sub-Mariner. You see, there's the math you learned in school, and then there's Marvel math. For what it's worth, not even a calculator would have helped you here.

Iron Man's second annual followed suit, I'm afraid, packed with more reprinted material--and again with new cover art, this time by Sal Buscema:



A prior battle with the Titanium Man is again included. As you can see, there wasn't enough room for him on the cover this time (nor does the Crusher seem to need his help with Iron Man)--but according to Marvel, you'll be thrilled nonetheless.

2 comments:

Kid A said...

Sometime during the last 10 years, I was trying to get every issue of the original Iron Man series and that first annual managed to elude me. I went to eBay and it was going for more than I paid for most of the other issues so I looked it up and found out it was a crummy reprint. People were paying(at the time)around $50 for already published material. Needless to say, I will never complete that run, but I have everything else of the first 300 save for that issue.

Comicsfan said...

It's difficult sometimes to ignore that "completist" urge we have when collecting comic books, in favor of good old common sense. :) I think that annual's cover art is the only thing that would make it attractive to a buyer in any way--but even so, there are limits. (A signed cover is the only thing I can think of that would tilt that scale in the book's favor.)

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