What Am I Doing?

This is a blog about comic books — specifically, Marvel Comics.  I’ve been reading Marvel for almost thirty years now, and one of the aspects of the Marvel Universe that drew me into this pastime is the continuity; how each story fit the overall narrative fascinated me from an early age.  One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to dig through my local comic shop’s long boxes for the rarest of the rare: an old comic that I could afford on my allowance.  Reading these decades-old artifacts fascinated me.  Would I find a story that helped explain an important part of a beloved character’s background?  Or would the story just feel kind of bizarre compared to how the character was currently portrayed?  It was usually the latter, but those were still a lot of fun to read.  Thanks to my own financial limitations and scarcity of the actual comics, though, there are huge chunks of Marvel history that I’ve never read first-hand.

With digital comics becoming increasingly available and affordable — not to mention being able to read comics on phones and tablets — I now have access to comics I could only have dreamed of reading as a child.  So now what?

I’ve never done a deep-dive into any Silver Age title.  I’ve picked up some of the Essential Fantastic Four volumes, and have stumbled across the occasional 70’s reprint issue, but I’ve barely scratched the surface of Marvel’s classic Stand Lee/Jack Kirby/Steve Ditko era.  My plan is to use this blog to do quick write-ups of every Marvel Comic with cover dates of November 1961 through April 1968.  Nothing too radical; just summaries, pointing out historical notes, laughing at goofiness, and cringing at things that aged poorly.  This isn’t the sort of blog that is designed to attract traffic — it’s more of a way for me to track my own hobby.

Why those particular dates, though?  The start date is easy: that is the cover date of Fantastic Four #1, which is the first super-hero comic of Marvel’s Silver Age.  The end date was more difficult to choose.  I could have gone with the date of Jack Kirby’s last Fantastic Four issue in 1970, but I think the end of Marvel’s Silver Age truly began in Spring of 1968.  That year, Marvel was released from the distribution contract that limited the number of titles they could publish each month, and the Marvel line began to expand that Spring.  I’m stopping in April because there are three #1’s in May 1968 (Captain Marvel, Iron Man, and Sub-Mariner), and jumping off before those titles get started seems like a solid end point.  Basically, I am lazy.

I won’t review every comic published by Marvel in this time frame.  I’m not going to bother with reprint titles, unless they contain some original material.  I’m sticking primarily with super-hero stories, so no Millie the Model or Kid Colt, and I’m not going to bother with the back-up science fiction stories in titles like Tales to Astonish. I will be primarily utilizing Marvel Unlimited for this project; if MU doesn’t have an issue and I don’t own a physical copy, then I’ll skip it and either come back to it later…or not.

All images belong to Marvel Comics and the indicated artists, unless otherwise indicated. The images will be taken from the Marvel Unlimited smartphone/tablet app or scanned from physical copies of the comics. Creative credits will be taken from the title page of the comic itself and/or the Marvel Comics Wiki. I try to credit other sources whenever I use them; if you believe I am crediting something incorrectly (or not at all), please contact me.