Sunday, August 5, 2012

Marvel ReTales!

This cover for a 1968 issue of the long-running Marvel Tales reprint comic is a real curiosity. It's a blend of elements from a few previous Spidey comics and artists.

There is a Spidey figure by "Sturdy" Steve Ditko isolated and enlarged from the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #17 which is the story reprinted too.

And that is combined with an early also embiggened image of The Green Goblin by "Jazzy" Johnny Romita from Amazing Spider-Man #39.

It's not a great cover by any means, but it works. And it offers a weird visual representation of the transition of Spidey from one great artist to the other. It's curious though that they'd decide to eliminate the Human Torch from the cover art as he was also featured in the Marvel Tales issue, albeit in his own series from Strange Tales.

Marvel would get around to finally reprinting the original Ditko cover a generation later in 1983.

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  1. Indeed, as you say - an extremely effective cover. Perhaps they just couldn't find a Torch image that would lend itself to the other two paste-ups, but it works just fine with Spidey and Gobby.

  2. What I meant by including Torchie, was that he was already on the original cover and they excised him despite his being in the actual comic. He rates two mentions on the cover as he is in two stories in the comic, but no image. It's just strange they went to so much trouble to eliminate a character they clearly wanted to advertise.

    But the result is a cover with more punch. That seems to be the goal. This was one of the earliest covers after they abandoned the old technique of featuring the little thumbnail covers, so maybe they were just feeling their way through.

    Rip Off

  3. What I'm saying 'though, is that maybe they didn't go to ANY trouble to eliminate the Torch - perhaps they just didn't go to ENOUGH trouble to include him. Was it because they couldn't find an image that fitted with the two cut-outs of Spidey or Gobby, or because they felt it would crowd the scene? Who knows? Perhaps it was a bit of both. Besides, the Torch is in the corner box and gets two mentions on the cover anyway. Of course, there is another possibility. Maybe the Torch was on the new cover originally, but was deleted to make room for the blurbs or because, as I said, Stan (probably) thought it was too crowded.

  4. You'll notice on the later Marvel Tales cover, they moved Betty Brant and Jolly Jonah over to the right to make sure the new UPC box didn't cover them up. (The first two covers didn't have a UPC, since it hadn't been invented at that point!)
    They also recolored one character to make him look like Flash Thompson (or was he Flash Thompson from the beginning and mis-colored on the original?)


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