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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Bag #2

Well, like I promised here's what was in the second M-bag I received last month...
During the early 70's Marvel had a lot of succes with the Marvel Team-Up book (MTU) , which featured Spider-Man and a different guest stars each month. Spidey had the Midas touch at that time and every book that featured everyone's favorite webcrawler was an instant succes. So Marvel decided you can never have enough of a good thing and launched a copy-cat book.

Marvel Two-in-One was a comic book series that featured the Fantastic Four member, the Thing, in a different team-up each issue with a different character, and lasted for 100 issues, from January, 1974, through June, 1983.
Many of the characters paired with the Thing were more obscure superheroes/supervillains, and the series never really attained the popularity of Marvel Team-Up, but for a lot of fans it was the better book.
A reason for this is that there weren't so many rules set in stone as for the Spidey book, using lesser known characters the writers had more freedom to walk away from the beaten path. In MTU a lot of A-list characters teamed up with Spider-man and both had to be victorious and get equal share of the glory...not easy to write.

Now I have to be honest, I own full runs of both Marvel Team Up and Marvel-two-in-one, but I haven't read more than 3 or 4 issues of MTU's 150-book run, (only reason is not enough free time), but I have read a lot of the Two-in-One's and for me the main reason MTiO is better is because of Ben Grimm...
I love Spidey as much as the next guy, but Ben Grimm, often overlooked, is one of Kirby/Lee's most important creations in the Marvel Universe.

During the 50's comic books weren't very good, the implementation of the comic book code and the fear installed by Wertham and the U.S. Senate hearings on the link between comics juvenile delinquency, had all but castrated most publishers and what they brought to the stands were bland, stupid and silly books written to not even upset the most delicate of 5-year olds.
Most Superheroes were lost in limbo and the few that did still have their own book like Superman, Batman and Wonderwoman came across as characters from some far-flung fairy-tale land. Completely out of touch and out of time with the real world.

As wel all know Marvel comics changed all of this with Fantastic Four #1 (1961) a new team for the new age...a team where everyone wasn't perfect, the forerunner of an new breed of superghero. They weren't friends all the time, they had problems, they complained and some were downright miserable...just like real people.
The most "human" of all was the one who looked the least human..Ben Grimm aka The Thing. The everyman, the working class joe, the grumpy man with a heart of gold.

Marvel Two-in-One annual #7 is one of my top-3 comics of all time, it features (silly idea) an intergalactic boxing match, featuring all of Earth's strongest heroes agains The Champion an Elder of the Universe and a huge boxing fan.
Again it's a larger than life story, featuring more superpowered heroes than you can shake a stick at, but in the end, it's the most human of all,Ben Grimm who carries the story and makes for the heartwarming ending..

There's a sentimental reason why I like this book as well, but that's for another time...


Anonymous ComicsCollector said...

I hate you.
Now i have to collect the marvel 2 in 1 title...

12:36 PM  
Blogger chromium said...

But it's sooo worth it !!
Plus they're quite cheap as well :)

5:22 PM  
Blogger greggy said...

You are Wertham

9:23 PM  

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