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Thursday, April 20, 2017

FANTASY MASTERPIECES

"Now, this looks interesting....", I thought to myself, when I saw an in-house ad for this comic, whilst reading a different "Marvel masterpiece" : -
 So, I bought myself a copy, when I saw one! And, interesting indeed it was ! Showing us tales from what I didn't know at that time were the Atlas years, this title appealled to me, so much so, that I bought every copy I saw of it, which turned out to be all bar two!
BUT, if I thought it was interesting at the start, it was very soon going to get even more so, when it would start including golden age Timely Super-Hero reprints AND go King-size!




This particular issue, I picked up during my 1968 Skegness holiday, - the cover was slightly crinkled, where it had caught a shower, whilst in the spinner rack outside of the store and then dried again in the sunshine!




10 comments:

  1. IIRC, I had #7 and #8. The earliest issues were a little before my time; I remember the king-size version, with Golden Age superhero reprints as the lead feature and the Atlas (1950's) horror and sci-fi stories as back-ups.

    A classmate of mine had an issue with the All-Winners Squad. It may have been #10. The All-Winners were basically Timely's imitation of DC's Justice Society in All-Star Comics. In the 1970's, Roy Thomas brought them back as The Invaders.

    After eleven issues, Fantasy Masterpieces changed its name to Marvel Super-Heroes. The new format was a new story for the lead feature, with the 1940's/early 1950's superhero stories as back-ups.

    Marvel used the lead feature as a try-out, similar to DC's Showcase. Sometimes they introduced new characters (Captain Mar-Vell, Guardians of the Galaxy), and sometimes they spotlighted already-existing secondary characters (Ka-Zar, Black Knight), obviously to test whether they could support a solo series.

    IIRC, by the late 1970's, MSH reverted to standard size (32 pages), with only one story (the Hulk) reprinted in each issue.

    I think there was a second Fantasy Masterpieces series in the 1970's, reprinting the Silver Surfer's solo title from the late 1960's.

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  2. The cover of #4 (not shown) has a Captain America pic which Kirby inked himself, if I recall rightly. Marvel Super-Heroes also reprinted Tales To Astonish, so both The Hulk & Submariner tales from any single ish of that mag were reprinted together, 'though I think there was some abridgement done on at least one of the strips.

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    1. Hiya Kid, your comment came in as I was typing TC's reply out!
      Yeah, that issue #4, - I never did come across that one in the shops, otherwise I would have bought that as well! At that time, I was showing a serious historical interest in all of this Golden age material that was then coming to light!
      Yup, those TTA reprints, which Marvel Super-Heroes started doing, - I didn't have a single one of them and, just as well, as I HATE abridgement in comics!

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  3. TC, as usual, you are bang, spot on the mark with all of t
    that background information and you do indeed "remember correctly" on all counts here!
    I actually preferred Rascally Roy's Invaders to TAWS, but I don't think that too many others shared my soft spot for the title. I wasn't so keen on his All Star Squadron for DC, though. I did buy them all, but it was mainly to "spot the golden age rare hero"! The stories didn't really grab me, unfortunately.
    Anyways, I did continue with a few of the Marvel Super-Heroes from 12 onwards, at least a few of the King-sized ones,and I shall be showing those fairly soon.
    I think that I only ever bought one lone copy of the Volume 2 with the Silver Surfer.
    I dare say that they will have used that title again by now, eh?

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    1. Remember that there was also a U.K. monthly Marvel Super-Heroes mag; it was what MWOM morphed into after Marvel Comic.

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    2. And I really loved that mag, too! Together with Rampage, they were my "Fantastic and Terrific" of the 80's! And then, it got even better with The Daredevils and MWOM vol.2!

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    3. I think I preferred The Super-Heroes weekly comic that Marvel U.K. did, JP. It had the X-Men and Giant-Man, so it seemed like a combination of Fantastic and Terrific to me.

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    4. For me, I much preferred the monthly, although I was pleased that they started on the X-Men in the weekly, after what seemed like an eternity!

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  4. Presumably, MSH reprinted the Hulk & Sub-Mariner issues of Tales To Astonish, then continued to reprint the issues from #102 on, when the Hulk took over the whole comic. The ones I saw were all-Hulk. IIRC, MSH reprinted Avengers #88 in the issue before they reprinted Hulk #140, since the two tied in with each other. Similarly, Marvel Triple Action once reprinted an X-Men issue that was part of an Avengers crossover.

    I never could get interested in All-Star Squadron. It seemed like every story was just a long explanation for why the Sandman changed his costume, why Hour Man quit the Justice Society, or whatever. It may be that the phrase "retroactive continuity" was first coined there. Today, it seems like everything in comics is one retcon after another.

    And I believe trademarks and copyrights have a "use it or lose it" provision, so, yes, Marvel will probably have to use "Fantasy Masterpieces" every so often. Maybe a deluxe hardback reprinting all of Fin Fang Foom's appearances.

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    1. Well, it was a good idea to have a reprints title for the Hulk, after all Marvel Tales became Spidey's and the FF had Marvel's Greatest Comics, so it would seem a logical step to make MSH old Greenskin's. It's just their practice of abridging stories that I took exception to. And it was just as bad with Marvel UK's reprints, - they were ruthless with the old chopping board and cutter over here too!

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