Wednesday, August 3, 2011

FAVORITES and Fantastic Four

Craig Fischer here, reminding you that the Favorites zine is still available via PayPal for $6.25 per copy, and all proceeds go to Team Cul de Sac and research into a cure for Parkinson's Disease.

In Favorites, over thirty cartoonists, critics and bloggers write essays about super-cool comics, the comics they'd take to a desert island. A link to the list of contributors--and to the PayPal order button--is here.

Here is a Favorites outtake. When I was organizing the project, Andy Mansell, Heroes Discussion Group Leader extraordinaire, graciously agreed to contribute, and then got carried away and wrote two essays for the zine. Because of space considerations, I had to limit all the contributors to a single essay each, but I'm happy to present Andy's unpublished second essay below...because I love this comic as much as Andy does.

My Favorite Comic Book

I've read thousands of comics throughout my four-color life, but believe it or not, this choice was a no-brainer. I first read Fantastic Four #77 when (Hey Mom, can I borrow ten cents?) my Mom inserted her dime and my two pennies into the slots of the comic book auto-mat dispenser at the local drug store back in September of 1968 and down fell my no-longer mint copy of FF #77.

I was eight years old, and on that day I must've shrunk a quarter of a foot, because that beautiful tour-de-force of a comic book took the top half of my head off at the brain stem.

The plot: Reed, Ben and Johnny are off to Sub-Atomica to face the threat of Psycho-Man. They have to enter P-Man's realm by shrinking down and flying their shrunken space ship into a puddle of liquid on one of Reed's microscope slides. (Hey, Mom--can we get a microscope?) Awesome!

Meanwhile, the Silver Surfer is trying desperately to prevent the world-eater Galactus from devouring Earth. Awesomer!

Meanwhile, you ask, where's Sue Richards? She's bed-ridden in the Baxter Building because she's about to give birth--to a baby! (Hey, Mom--where do babies come from?) Even more awesomer!

It was Stan Lee at his most self-aggrandizing and hyperbolic! It was Jack Kirby creating entire worlds out of the worn stub of a Number 2 pencil! And it was Joe Sinnott making everything tight and consistent and perfect. He wasn't just the inker--he was The Embellisher! (Hey, Mom, what's an embellisher?)

And along with the friendly and over-the-top dialogue and explosive captions, the issue featured the fabulous Marvel Bullpen Bulletins page and the monthly checklist with all of those fifteen-word hyperbolic plot summaries that made your mouth water for every Marvel comic on sale (except Millie the Model #36--what a buzz kill!).

Stan the Man made every Marvel reader feel like they were a part of his family. It was just like the scene in Help when we're given proof that all four Beatles actually lived together in the same block of flats. Everything was copacetic in Marveldom. And I wanted Stan to christen me with a really cool nickname--but not "Andy Panda." (I was already Andy Panda.)

And then there were all of those comic-book ads (Hey, Mom, can I make some extra money selling Grit? And can we get some Sea Monkeys too so they can keep the goldfish company?). Oh, what this prepubescent wouldn't have done to procure a pair of X-Ray Specs (tm), but that's a different topic for a different day.

"Shall Earth Endure?" the cover of FF #77 dramatically inquires.

Pardon my French, but Hell yes! That is, if Stan and Jack and Joe along with that set of 100 green plastic soldiers storming a sand box recreation of Omaha Beach on the back cover (for only $1.99 plus S & H...Hey, Mom!) have anything to say about it!

I'm so there, and I still am!

-Andrew Mansell

1 comment:

  1. My best friend owns the original art for the cover of Fantastic Four #77. I'll see if I can borrow it to scan. I have the 'zine and it's great! Thanks. (My wife has PD.)