Thursday, March 13, 2008

Memoirs of a Bronze Age Baby: Marvel Treasury Edition #18

When I as growing up, I absolutely loved treasury-sized comics. There was just something special in the oversized format. I realize why I find them a bit awkward today. I used to read them spread out on the floor - perhaps with milk and cookies within reach. I put in a lot less floor time these days, so standard format is my current preference. I must have spent countless hours on my living room floor reading my Star Wars, Hulk and Batman treasury editions. To this day, one of my favourites remains Marvel Treasury Edition #18: The Astonishing Spider-Man. For whatever reason, you don't see this one for sale all that often. That's a shame because the covers (front and back) are worth the price of admission. It's a great little trick, having the heroes on the front and the villains on the back - very cool.

This book features reprints of early Marvel Team-Up stories. MTU was one of my regular reads at the time, so it was a great fit for me. I believe that this was my first exposure to the X-Men, which is kinda of weird as this story is from the 'lost years' as the team floated around the periphery of the Marvel Universe in their street clothes. I'd never seen Morbius before either, and he comes across as a particularly unattractive fellow in the oversized format. Iron Fist was one of my favourite characters in the late 70s and early 80s, and this was pretty strong story. I don't think I was aware of Werewolf By Night back then, but what kid doesn't love a werewolf?

To this day, the real appeal of this treasury book is the Ghost Rider story. I was a big GR fan back then - right up until 1982 or so. This story features the Orb, whose giant Eyeball helmet makes him look like a reject from the Resident. He comes across as your typical motorcycle riding bad guy until the time comes for the big reveal. And what a reveal! His disfigured face is enough to make any kid swear off riding bicycles, never mind motorcycles. It looks even more gruesome treasury sized. I'm certain that I can attribute at least a handful of childhood nightmares to this story. Well, the cover certainly promised me 'Exciting Surprises'.

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