Card Collecting in the 1960s: Memories Packaged for a Nickel
Marvel Mysteries and Comics Minutiae
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3M ago
I have a vivid childhood memory of a sea of kids cascading into a candy store, located around the corner from my school, St. Joseph Patron. The year is 1966 and I  live in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, New York. It's lunch break, and a chaotic mass of hands are stretched out with change as the proprietor and his clerk feverishly dole out Milky Ways, Charleston Chews, Cokes, Chocolate Cows, Lays Potato Chips, Bazooka Joe bubble gum and other treats. On the counter are colorfully designed display boxes containing packs of cards. Along with the phenomenally popular Baseball cards, which ..read more
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58 Summers Ago: Amazing Spider-Man Annual # 2
Marvel Mysteries and Comics Minutiae
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10M ago
Note: This post was originally published on July 20th, 2015. It has been revised and expanded with new content and information, so even if you read it all those years ago, take another look. You won't be disappointed!   Fifty eight years ago comic book specialty stores didn’t exist. Instead, you had to saunter over to the neighborhood newsstand, candy store or luncheonette to purchase the latest comics (if none of those establishments sound familiar to you I suspect you're under thirty!). The Marvel Comics Group was in full swing in 1965, with superstar artists/creators Jack Kirby ..read more
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Remembering John Romita: His First Interview
Marvel Mysteries and Comics Minutiae
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1y ago
Note: With the recent passing of John Romita I thought it appropriate to pay homage with a piece I did on his first fanzine interview, originally published on March 28th, 2015.  It has been modified and updated for this presentation.  The Web-Spinner was an early fanzine primarily devoted to the output of Marvel comics, a company which brought a new sense of energy to the field. While many young buyers were satisfied with reading the adventures of their favorite heroes, another segment took that enthusiasm to a higher level. Those fans decided to write, draw and produce their own pu ..read more
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Steve Ditko and the Branding of Marvel
Marvel Mysteries and Comics Minutiae
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1y ago
Product branding is a tool companies have used to remarkable effect dating back to the late 1800s. Take a stroll to your local supermarket. There you'll encounter many examples, some in existence for over a century. A few that come to mind: Kellogg's Corn Flakes, Quaker Oats, Skippy Peanut Butter, Ivory Soap, Coca Cola, Lipton Tea, Planters Peanuts, Maxwell House Coffee. Through a combination of symbols, graphic design, copy, colors and familiar characters ingrained in our consciousness (Mr. Peanut; Kellogg's Rooster) consumers make  decisions on what to buy (If you'd like to learn more a ..read more
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Kirby Inking Kirby
Marvel Mysteries and Comics Minutiae
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1y ago
Note: This is a revised and updated piece originally published on September 6, 2011. In studying various inking styles over the decades I've become familiar with the distinctive fingerprints of many comic book artists, in particular those who contributed to the early Marvel period. Jack Kirby, one of the premiere creative forces in the business, was embellished by many talented inkers circa 1959-1963, including Chris Rule, George Klein, Dick Ayers, Steve Ditko, Don Heck and Paul Reinman. There are, however, a selection of covers that are atypical and worthy of scrutiny. By comparing these exa ..read more
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A Kaleidoscopic View of the Annuals and Giants in '62
Marvel Mysteries and Comics Minutiae
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2y ago
Since the earliest days of the industry, when most comics cost 10 cents, publishers experimented with different formats and prices. In 1939 National (later know as DC) published New York World' s Fair Comics, a tie-in to the famous event that took place in Flushing, Queens. It sold for 15 cents and clocked in at 96 pages. A year later it would resurface as World's Best Comics, cover-starring popular characters Superman and Batman, alongside an assortment of costumed heroes. The title was tweaked to World's Finest Comics, and remained a 15 cent giant (although page count was cut to 72 and ..read more
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Ditko and the Kid: Guest Post by Bernie Bubnis
Marvel Mysteries and Comics Minutiae
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2y ago
Bernie Bubnis      Steve Ditko  image copyright  Amber Stanton I'm honored and delighted to present this special post, written by Bernie Bubnis, who orchestrated the first New York Comic Book Convention in 1964. Much like Steve Ditko's Spider-Man, the teenaged Bernie struggled against insurmountable odds and turned his dream of a fan gathering into reality. Its historical context relates to artist Steve Ditko, who made his first - and only - appearance at such an event. What follows is Bernie's heartfelt look back on his encounters with the ini ..read more
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Sgt. Fury # 35's Mystery Cover Artist
Marvel Mysteries and Comics Minutiae
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2y ago
As someone who has studied the techniques of comic book artists with what some would refer to as an obsessive nature (and I wouldn't argue it) I can often distinguish minutiae that some may overlook. I suspect this ability originated from my very early years, when I tried my best to copy the work of favorite artists, particularly Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. As I sought to duplicate their drawings I took a closer work at each line. I also observed the distinctive contributions that inkers added to the finished product. It's akin to listening to a song and hearing a particular vocal intonation o ..read more
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FF Big Little Book Mysteries
Marvel Mysteries and Comics Minutiae
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2y ago
  Note: This is a revised post that was originally published on November 30, 2013   Big Little Books began publication in 1932, telling stories with prose on the left side and a single illustration on the right. The books were geared to children and starred popular characters from comic strips, cartoons, movies and television, including Popeye, Dick Tracy, Little Orphan Annie, Tarzan, Donald Duck, Lassie, Flipper, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Man from Uncle, Bugs Bunny and Yogi Bear and many others. You can read more about the history of Big Little Books here: http://www ..read more
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Marvel's 1966 Specials
Marvel Mysteries and Comics Minutiae
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3y ago
 In the spring and summer of 1966 Marvel released its double-sized specials, timed to sell in the period when most children were off from school and were inclined to spend a little more on comics. Originally called Annuals (which is the appellation most fans commonly use) beginning this year they were labeled "King-Size Specials."  I have no idea why the change occurred; perhaps publisher Martin Goodman felt that kids didn't understand what the word Annual meant. If so, "Giant-Size" might have been a better term. Either way, most buyers realized these were supplements to some of Marv ..read more
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