Monday, December 29, 2008

The Treadmill Days of Christmas, day 4

Day 4: The Avengers

Like Spider-Man, the Avengers suffered from an embarrassment of so-so covers. There are only so many ways to depict a crowd scene, and I personally am sick of floating heads reacting in horror to a central scene, a recurring motif that haunts Avengers covers like a disease.

When I saw the cover of Avengers Annual #1 on the stands in 1967, I had no idea who the Avengers were. Well, I knew who John Steed and Emma Peel were, but this lot clearly wasn't them.

No, really. Throughout the early sixties, Marvel comics were handled by a distributor owned by DC. DC used this advantage to severely limit the number of comics Marvel could publish. Some of you kiddies may know this, intellectually, but in practice the newsstand advantage was even greater. Many outlets, including the ones in my hometown, didn't carry Marvel comics at all. This was the very first Avengers comic I'd ever seen.

It may be why I never really warmed to the monthly series: It set unrealistic expectations.

The experts at GCDB are divided over whether this cover was by Don Heck or John Buscema, though they agree John Romita touched it up.

For late-period, I'll go with The Mighty Avengers #2 by Frank Cho.

If there are any comics fans remaining who haven't experienced puberty, this cover (like yesterday's Neal Adams Superman cover) should push them through it.

Hard to believe that's Tony Stark, isn't it?

Previously: Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.

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