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Marvel Age 61

Marvel Age issue 61, from late '87.

Marvel Age issue 61, from late '87.

If you actively collected comics during the Copper Age (again, roughly ’84 – ’91), chances are you picked up at least one copy of Marvel Age…probably many.

Marvel Age was of course, “The Official Marvel News Magazine,” which featured coming attractions, preview pages, interviews with Marvel creators and staff, etc. Priced considerably lower than a “normal” comic’s cover price, it was published from ’83 to ’94, and I’ll guess the height of its circulation was the second half of the ’80s.

As it’s almost Christmas Eve, thought it’d be fun to look back at issue 61 from late ’87, which featured a Holiday Shopping Guide, spotlighting Marvel’s original graphic novel line. Get ready for a lot of nostalgic info, here’s just some of what this issue included:

  • Groo the Wanderer cover by Sergio Aragonés.
  • In the Coming Attractions section there’s a solicitation for (now Copper Age key comic) Amazing Spider-Man 300, introducing the web-slinger’s newest and possibly deadliest foe – Venom! Written by David Michelinie with art by Todd McFarlane.
  • The Top Ten best-selling (Marvel) titles in the Direct Sales market for the month of September 1987, as compiled by VP of Direct Sales Carol Kalish. They were:

X-Men 225
X-Factor 24
Punisher 5
New Mutants 59
Silver Surfer 7
Amazing Spider-Man 296
‘Nam 14
Classic X-Men 17
Solo Avengers 2
G.I. Joe 67

  • A complete list (at the time) of Marvel Graphic Novels. Here we go, in order:

The Death of Captain Marvel, by Jim Starlin
Elric: The Dreaming City, by Roy Thomas and P.Craig Russell
Dreadstar, by Jim Starlin
Star Slammers, by Walter Simonson
Killraven: Warrior of the Worlds, by Don McGregor and P.Craig Russell
Void Indigo, by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik
The Futurians, by Dave Cockrum
Heartburst, by Rick Veitch
Super Boxers, by Ron Wilson, with John Byrne and Armando Gil
Starstruck, by Elaine Lee and Michael W. Kaluta
Swords of the Swashbucklers, by Bill Mantlo and Jackson Guice
The Raven Banner, by Alan Zelenetz and Charles Vess
The Aladdin Effect, by Jim Shooter, David Michelinie, Greg Laroeque, and Vince Coletta
Revenge of the Living Monolith, by David Michelinie, Marc Silvestri, and Geof Isherwood
The Sensational She-Hulk, by John Byrne and Kim DeMulder
Conan the Barbarian in The Witch Queen of Acheron, by Don Kraar, Gay Kwapisz, and Art Nichols
Greenberg the Vampire, by J.M. DeMatteis and Mark Badger
Marada the She-Wolf, by Chris Claremont and John Bolton
The Amazing Spider-Man in Hooky, by Susan K. Putney and Berni Wrightson
Daredevil: Love and War, by Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiwicz
Dracula: A Symphony in Moonlight and Nightmares, by Jon J Muth
Doctor Strange: Into Shamballa, by J.M. DeMatteis and Dan Green
Alien Legion, by Carl Potts, Alan Zelenetz, Frank Cirocco, Terry Austin, and Steve Oliff
Emperor Doom, by David Michelinie and Bob Hall
Conan the Reaver, by Don Kraar and John Severin
The Hulk and The Thing in The Big Change, by Jim Starlin and Berni Wrightson

  • An inside-back-cover house ad for Excalibur…that’d be the bookshelf format special edition, before the regular series!

More info / resources:

Hey, sometimes it’s a lot of fun to read yesterday’s news. Marvel Age back issues are the kinds of things you find in quarter boxes, so check your local comic shop or convention…

…as for the line of original Marvel graphic novels from the era, I believe most to all of them are long out-of-print. Some can be pricey and difficult to find in nice shape, others are inexpensive and fairly common. A lot of these are great material and beautifully illustrated, so check mycomicshop.com.

4 comments to Marvel Age 61

  • I rec’d a Google alert about Dave Cockrum (I represent the comics from his estate) and came to your blog. Good stuff. Brings me back to better days…or more fun days.

  • Fred Hembeck’s Page In Marvel Age” rocked!! I really dug Marvel Age back in the day. It was so cheap… a smart promotion tool for Marvel (35 cents to begin with, if I recall correctly, then bumped up to 50c). and some great ‘bonus art pieces by 80s artists that couldn’t be found anywhere else!

  • Trivia question – what was Marvel’s first-ever Graphic Novel? Was it that Avengers vs. some ancient pharoah story? (reviewing your list, I think I’m referring to Revenge of the Living Monolith) I remember seeing the Aladdin Effect on store shelves — I really don’t know the answer to my own proposed trivia question *lol* I know The Death of Captain Marvel was around the third or fourth Marvel OGN…? (was the 1st one ever The Futurians?)

  • admin

    99% positive that Jim Starlin’s, “Death of Captain Marvel” was the first, and 90% sure the list above (taken from the Marvel Age issue) is in order of publication.

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