I’ve been thinking of starting this discussion for a long time. It used to be, when I couldn’t decide what to read, I’d pull out a copy of Marvel Fanfare at random and read whatever I picked. But long gone are the days when I couldn't decide what to read because I couldn’t think of anything. These days my indecision is more likely to be cause by having too much I’m in the mood to read. Or, other times, I’m in the midst of some ridiculously long “project” (such as “the first 200 issues of Daredevil” or whatever) and am simply in the mood for something different. In either case, I’ll get this discussion going and it will be here when I need it.

I bought the first issue of Marvel Fanfare the day it shipped, and I was quite enthusiastic about it for a while. It soon became apparent that the title was being used as more of a clearing house for inventory material than it was for work newly commissioned specifically for Fanfare. After three consecutive issues featuring “Weirdworld” I had had enough and dropped the title with #26, although I would still buy an issue from time to time. Years later, I bought up most of the rest of the series at a quarter sale. I filled in some holes after that, and currently have every issue except two.

COVER: Spider-Man, Angel and a pterodactyl (or is it a pteranodon?) by Michael Golden. I don’t know if this was my first Michael Golden or not, but it was certainly the issue that put him on my radar.

BACK COVER: Daredevil by Frank Miller

INSIDE WRAP-AROUND: Spider-Man and the Silver Surfer by John Byrne. This poster originally appeared, in black & white, as part of the John Byrne portfolio. It was intended to be a centerfold, but the last-minute expansion of the first issue from 32 to 36 pages forced it to be run inside the front and back cover with the comic in between.

FIRST STORY: Tanya Anderson seeks Warren Worthington’s help to seek her fiancé, Karl Lykos, in the Savage Land. Lykos is a mutant “energy vampire” who the X-Men had pursued to the brink of the Savage Land in #60-61 of their own title. He presumably died there, but Tanya recently spotted him in a photo-spread in National Geographic. J. Jonah Jameson gets wind of the expedition and decides to send Peter Parker by virtue of his having been there before (Spider-Man #103-104). A few days later, they are on their way. Angel thinks about the last time he was there (X-Men #63-64).

After an eventful landing, Peter Parket, Warren Worthington and Tanya Anderson make their way to Garokk’s domed city (X-Men #113-116). They are attacked by Zaladane’s followers, Angel is attacked by Vertigo, and Peter Parker pushes Tanya off a cliff to the relative safety of the river below, then switches to Spider-Man. He, too, is ambushed by Vertigo and also attacked by Gaza and Barbarus. Meanwhile, Tanya is threatened by a tyrannosaurus rex.

Spider-Man awakens, strapped to a tble next to Angel, in Magneto’s citadel and is greeted by Brain Child, who introduces Amphibious and the other of Magneto’s “neo-mutants” (they are not referred to as “mutates” even once). Magneto’s machine has now been modified to devolve as well as evolve, and Brain Child sets about using it on Spider-Man and Angel.

EDITORI-AL: Marvel Fanfare was the brainchild of editor Al Milgrom, who uses a nine-panel grid comic to introduce each issue in lieu of a traditional editorial.

NOTEABLE IN-HOUSE ADVERTISEMENT: Moon Knight, Micronauts and Ka-zar the Savage have been converted to “direct sales only” titles. Ka-Zar was the only one I had heard of, and I wasn’t particularly interested in any of them at the time. It would be a few months yet before I tried them.

SECOND STORY: Daredevil by Roger McKenzie and Paul Smith (his first published work) in a story about a street-corner Santa who was mugged and lost faith in humanity.

SHOOTER’S PAGE: Not yet officially called ”Shooter’s Page,”Marvel Fanfare #1 featured “An Open Letter to Stan Lee” written by Jim Shooter, four years into his reign as Marvel’s editor-in-chief. The cynic in me says he wrote it to blow his own horn while simultaneuously plugging Marvel’s new graphic novel line, Epic imprint and Marvel Fanfare.

Views: 1609

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Is there any explanation of why the instalments weren't published?

“Holy cow! I'm going through my boxes of comics getting ready for a small toy show this Sunday, and I actually have a copy of this comic. What a coincidence!”

You don’t have the one with my letter in it? Too bad… that’s sure to be worth a couple of extra bucks. :)

“Is there any explanation of why the instalments weren't published?”

Unfortunately, no. If anyone finds out I would love to know. The villain (see below) originally appeared in Daredevil #92-93. I imagine the reason it was used at this time is that Frank Miller’s then-recent redesign of the Widow’s costume rendered the story soon-to-be obsolete.

ISSUE #13:

FRONT COVER: Snap Dragon by Arthur Adams. This is the first published work by the soon-to-be fan-favorite artist I remember seeing. What makes it memorable is the letter which will appear in a future installment of “Marvel FanFlair.”

BACK COVER: Warriors three by Charles Vess.

FIRST STORY: The conclusion to the Black Widow story. The villain is revealed to be Damon Dran, from the Daredevil/Black Widow days, which gives you an idea of how long this story has been sitting in inventory. This story could conceivably have taken place between #161 and #188 of Frank Miller’s run, but I suspect it was quite a while before that.

MARVEL FANFLAIR: A fan points out that the Widow’s stats in issue #10 say eyes: green; height: 5’ 9” but the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe says eyes: blue and height: 5’ 7” and wants a No-Prize. Another letter-writer says, “Outrageous! $1.50 plus five pages of pin-ups. DISGUSTING!” while a third writes, “MORE PORTFOLIOS! (please?)” I’d like to welcome the guy who complained about the price to 2019.

SECOND STORY: “Tales of Asgard” by Alan Zelenetz and Charles Vess. Bragi, the God of Poetry, has gone missing, and the Warriors Three need to find him before the festival. Marvel has tried to resurrect Lee and Kirby’s old “Tales of Asgard” series from time to time, mostly unsuccessfully. This is one of the few times it works. All of Zelenetz and Vess’s tales have been collected in a “Marvel Premiere Edition” hardcover.

SHOOTER’S PAGE: 11 guys from Marvel went to the Bath Beach Body Building gym in Brooklyn. One of the guys was boxing aficionado Ron Wilson, whose Super Boxers graphic novel (script by John Byrne, inks by Armando Gil) was due to be released soon. Initially, I bought all of Marvel “graphic novel” series. Later, I got rid of all the non-super-hero ones, including Super-Boxers. Later still, I came to regret some of those cullings. When Image Comics started up and folks such as Todd McFarlane and Erik Larson (I forget which one it was) started talking about “holding back,” it put me in mind of Ron Wilson’s Super Boxers. There’s no way Wilson was “holding back” by any stretch of the imagination. It is the best work of his career. Luckily, I was able to pick up a replacement copy for a buck a couple of years ago.

The net tells me the Black Widow serial was intended for Marvel Premiere.(1) From #26, when it became a try-out/spotlight title, Marvel Premiere mostly ran one- or two-issue try-outs and sometimes three-issue ones. After the first couple of try-outs it went bimonthly, so a three-issue try-out was half-a-year, and a four-issue run would've taken eight months. Perhaps - this is just my speculation - they were thinking of taking Marvel Premiere monthly or switching to longer try-outs, and when whichever didn't happen the Black Widow's try-out didn't either.

(1) Wikipedia's Marvel Fanfare page footnotes the information to Back Issue.

Thanks, Luke!

ISSUE #14:

FRONT COVER: Vision, Scarlet Witch and Fantastic Four by Rick Leonardi and Josef Rubenstein

BACK COVER: Inhumans by Alan Weiss

EDITORI-AL: Milgrom jokingly proposes “X-Men Fanfare” to increase sales.

FIRST STORY: “Dangerous Vision – An Untold Tale of the Vision” by Roger McKenzie, Rick Leonardi and Josef Rubenstein. The Mad thinker and the Klaw maneuver the vision into fighting the FF. the Thinker’s plan is too eliminate the human “x-factor” which has tripped him up in the past. At the end of the story, Thing drinks Stroh’s beer and the Vision warm milk. There are some issue of Marvel Fanfare I have re-read from time-to-time over the years; others I haven’t taken out of the bag. This is one of the latter.

SECOND STORY: Inhumans by Mary Jo Duffy and Alan Weiss. Alan Weiss had been on my radar ever since he randomly drew Nick Fury in a sleeveless, fur “barbarian” coat… just because that’s what he felt like drawing, I guess. Quicksilver doesn’t fir in. He’s set up to take a fall, then redeems himself. A footnote places this story prior to the Inhumans’ move to the Moon (like the Black Widow serial, another inventory story rendered unusable by recent developments). Despite the fact I have cracked this issue since bagged, I have re-read the story because it was reprinted in the second Inhumans Marvel Masterwork edition.

There is no portfolio this issue, no “Shooter’s Page” and nothing I found interesting in the LOC.

ISSUE #15:

FRONT COVER: the Thing by Barry Windsor-Smith

BACK COVER: Daredevil by Jack Sparling (?)

EDITORI-AL: Milgrom touts a new story in Fanfare.

FIRST STORY: An April Fool’s Day story by BWS featuring the thing and the Torch. If #14 is an issue I haven’t read in 35 years, #15’s first story is one I have re-read quite frequently. Good stuff. It occurs to me (seeing the FF’s then-new uniforms in #15, that the FF story in #14 was a inventory story with a short shelf life due to the old uniforms.

MARVEL FANFLAIR: topics include the use of inventory material, portfolios, No-Prize requests and the use of Al Milgrom’s caricature in the cover corner box (four against). One guy writes in to complain about the artist of #13 signing his name “Adams,” which he refers to as a “low-down, cheap way of trying to see Marvel Fanfare.” He goes on to say, “Even if his last name is Adams, he should also sign his first name to avoid confusion for this cover was obviously not done by the great Neal Adams.

Milgrom points out the logical fallacy (“If the cover was ‘obviously not done by the great Neal Adams’ where does the confusion lie?”) and goes on to point out, “We don’t have the right to tell our artists how to sign their names.”

SECOND STORY: This Daredevil story by Roger is a mix of old and new, specifically Jack Sparling inked by Aikin and Garvey, and features a girl from Matt Murdock’s past… no, not that one… an arsonist named Crimson Ash.

AD: In a full page ad, Al Milgrom’s caricature touts Dave Cockrum’s upcoming Futurians graphic novel.

SHOOTER’S PAGE: Shooter answers some questions, defends a price hike and hypes some upcoming projects/series.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

SECOND STORY: This Daredevil story by Roger is a mix of old and new, specifically Jack Sparling inked by Aikin and Garvey, and features a girl from Matt Murdock’s past… no, not that one… an arsonist named Crimson Ash.

"It sounds thin to me. Are you sure she's "Mad Mack"? Those "soft shoe" murders - he's paralysed the city! This woman - she's just some cat lady!"

"Her workplace is a hotspot of radical agitation, and there are nuclear materials on site."

"She's a librarian at E.S.U!"

"She fits the profile. Technical knowledge of weapons. History of violence. Flunked out of the League of Assassins. And a former girlfriend of Matt Murdoch."

"MURDOCH? You should have said that FIRST! BRING HER IN!"

Uh... what?

(Roger McKenzie, I meant.)

ISSUE #16:

WRAPAROUND COVER: Skywolf by Dave Cockrum

FIRST STORY: Marvel’s version f the Blackhawks by Marv Wolfman and Dave Cockrum. According to Al Milgrom, this is the oldest inventory story run in Fanfare to date (but he didn’t say how old it is). The Skywolves are Skyler “Sky-Wolf” Wolf (erstwhile leader), Sidney “The Gaff” Levine, “Little John” Johns (an escape artist) and Matt Slade III. I like the continuity with Marvel past (Matt “Kid” Slade) and future (SHIELD). Whenever I’m in the mood to read DC’s blackhawks (which admittedly isn’t often), I usually read Skywolves, too. It’s pure corn but a lot of fun. There’s a pin-up by cockrum, too.

SECOND STORY: Sub-Mariner by Bill Mantlo and Mike Mignola. Milgrom says this story “may” be Mignola’s first ever penciling job. I can see the beginnings of Mignola’s distinctive style, but it looks a bit like an amateur artist trying to work in Mignola’s mature style (which, I suppose, it is). This story is also followed by a pin-up, possibly one intended for the back cover originally. In this fable, Namor attempts to save a horse lost at sea.

MARVEL FANFLAIR: Readers continue to attempt to shape the direction of Fanfare. Milgrom teases future features. The cover corner caricature remains unpopular. Milgrom puts it to a vote despite no positive reaction printed so far. Milgrom mentions an unfinished Warlock story by Starlin and Alan Weiss which eventually shows up, uninked and with no dialogue, in Marvel Masterworks.

ISSUE #17:

FRONT COVER: Skywolf by Dave Cockrum

BACK COVER: Hulk by Tony Salmons

FIRST STORY: The conclusion of the Skywolves two-parter. Too bad it’s never mentioned again.

SECOND STORY: A 12-page story by David Anthony Kraft and Tony Salmons in which a lot happens in a short period of time. First, the Hulk drinks some water contaminated by radiation. Then he frees a baby deer from a trap. Then some careless hunters cause a fire with a discarded cigarette butt. Then Hulk witnesses one bighorn sheep kill another. Then a snake kills a mouse. Then a falcon kills a duck. Then Hulk gets hungry. Then he catches a fish but then lets it go. Then a grizzly bear, fleeing the fire, attacks Hulk and Hulk kills it. Then the Hulk almost smashes into a plane. Then he falls into a tar pit. Then two men cut down a tree so Hulk can save himself, but leave before he’s free. Then the Hulk concludes, “Been rough day for Hulk… saw much, did much, think much… too much… Hulk is tired… Hulk needs… sleep…” I didn’t like this story when I first read it and I don’t like it now. In addition to the fact that it’s nothing more than a string of random events, some people just cannot write convincing Hulk dialogue, and DAK is one of them.

MARVEL FANFLAIR: More of the usual. Supposedly, the cover caricature debate is running 50/50, yet a “pro” letter has not yet been printed.

SHOOTER’S PAGE: Marvel had an egg hunt, co-sponsored by “Easter Bunny” (Mark Gruenwald) and “pascal Lamb” (Mike Carlin).

ISSUE #18:

FRONT COVER: Captain America by Frank Miller

BACK COVER: Captain America by Frank Miller

EDITORI-AL: A joke about running two portfolios this issue.

STORY: A very “Daredevilish” Captain America story by Roger Stern and Frank Miller about a Brooklyn arson gang calling themselves “We the People.”

FIRST PORTFOLIO: Dagger, Black Widow, Red Sonja, Phoenix, Nova (Frankie Ray) and She-Hulk by Kevin Knowlan. The one of a topless, sunbathing She-Hulk with tan-lines inspired the story in John Byrne’s Fantastic Four #275.

SECOND PORTFOLIO: Doctor Doom, Black Widow, X-Women (Rogue, Storm and Kitty), Cloak & Dagger and Thor (with Ziggy Pig and Silly Seal) by Terry Austin.

MARVEL FANFLAIR: Two “yea” votes for Milgom’s caricature on the cover (except one of them was phrased this way: “It adds to the low-grade image of Fanfare, but the comic, unless it improves, needs and deserves no better.”).

ISSUE #19:

FRONT COVER: Cloak & Dagger by tony Salmons

BACK COVER: Cloak by Kerry Gammill

INSIDE BACK COVER: Dagger by Rick Leonardi

EDITORI-AL: A joke about the missing Tony Salmons pages which caused Milgrom to run two portfolios last issue instead of the first part of the Cloak & Dagger three-parter. (It turns out that Salmons himself had taken them back after turning them in.)

STORY: Cloak & Dagger by Bill Mantlo and Tony Salmons (chapter one), Rick Leonardi (chapter two) and Kerry Gammill (chapter three). I met Kerry Gammill once at the Superman festival in Metropolis, IL and bought some of his art.

MARVEL FANFLAIR: Skywolf was not popular with readers. Another “no” vote in the “Editori-Al Corner Caricature Controversy.”

SHOOTER’S PAGE: A Christmas-themed installment.

Reply to Discussion



Latest Activity

MethodEng replied to Jeff of Earth-J's discussion Post-Crisis Superman
"Respectful, earnest and well informed discussion of the pronunciation of a fictional…"
3 hours ago
Richard Willis replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"To get to 30, I had to use four covers. (5+6+9+10=30)The first one has Spidey vs The Enforcers.…"
3 hours ago
MethodEng replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"20+10 by my count. Groot went on to much bigger fame, Thorr not so much. Although he could be a…"
3 hours ago
Dave Palmer replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"Still the 29th here in Seattle, so here is another 29 I just now stumbled across."
5 hours ago
The Baron replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"The cover that I had set aside for the30th turned out on closer inspection to only have 29, so 29=1…"
5 hours ago
Philip Portelli replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"I didn't know that GI JOE had covers with 30 Joes on them! But now I know and…"
6 hours ago
Irma Kruhl replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"Charlton's Racket Squad in Action #1"
8 hours ago
Richard Willis replied to PowerBook Pete, the Mad Mod's discussion Anything, Everything, or Nothing At All
"Is Deadpool 3 a Secret X-Men Sequel? Den of Geek story"
9 hours ago
Jeff of Earth-J replied to The Baron's discussion Movies I Have Seen Lately
"WEEKEND PASS (1984): "A fun-filled tale following the antics of four sailors on a 72-hour…"
9 hours ago
The Baron replied to Jeff of Earth-J's discussion Post-Crisis Superman
"If you listen to the 1966 segment here, it sounds like they're saying…"
9 hours ago
Richard Willis replied to Captain Comics's discussion Bond #8E: 'The Hildebrand Rarity'
"Dalton's contract had expired, so he had the luxury of choice. Looking at Roger Moore's…"
10 hours ago
Richard Willis replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"I made it to my city's Memorial Day observance today. "Retired military" are the…"
10 hours ago

© 2023   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service