Wednesday, August 19, 2009

No SNL in new Marvel Essential TPB

By far the new trade release of the week is volume three of Marvel Comics ESSENTIAL MARVEL TEAM-UP. Reprinting issues 52 through 75 along with Annual #1. This volume is maybe the best collection of issues in this series featuring Spider-Man team-up stories from the late '70s.

What you will find: The classic creator partnership of Chris Claremont and John Byrne on several issues in this volume. Chris and John's MTU stories were produced right around the time both creators historic work on the Uncanny X-Men was just taking off. This is when Claremont could tell a fast paced, dramatic and cohesive story in just a couple issues and when Byrne's pencils were raw and organic. Classic comic gold. There is a mulit issue story arc by these two in here that remains one of my very favorite comic storylines to date. It starts in issue 59 and wraps in issue 62 where Spidey teams with the likes of Yellow Jacket & the Wasp, The Human Torch and Ms Marvel. In turn the heroes take on a new villian named Equinox and the Super Skrull. Here you will find some of the best John Byrne art of the day. And we love his '70 sideburns on Power Man in issue 75. Dig it!

What you won't find: Issue 74 in the series is missing. The reprints in the volume skip right over it from 73 to 75. The reason? Issue 74 was a crazy cross promotion featuring Spider-Man teaming up with...the '70s cast of Saturday Night Live.

That's right. Marvel Comics partnered with the NBC late night TV sketch comedy because...uh, we have no idea why. Most likely it was a deal done between certain individuals in a noisy disco in NY and under the influence of recreational drugs and alcohol. Regaurdless, all these decades later, Marvel either didn't want to pay the fees to NBC or perhaps the red tape to secure rights to each performer's likeness was too much trouble so they just decided to omit the reprint.

We won't loose any sleep over it. This is still a gem of an Essential collection. Highest recommendation for fanboys everywhere.

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