Thursday, July 20, 2017

0038: Lancer Corporeal Part 3

As I was organizing the scans for today's post I realized that I never credited the image for the cover scan of the Hulk paperback profiled yesterday. The art came from TALES TO ASTONISH #67 (05/65) with new background art. And for the record, the missing Thor volume (72-125) contained the Thor stories from JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #'s 97 (10/63), #104 (05/64) and #114 (03/65)-115 (04/65) plus the first Tales of Asgard back-up from #97. I would have to assume that panels from other issues were spliced into those based on what I've seen of the other books in the series.

The third and final pair of Lancer Books mass market paperbacks have only minor distinctions from the first four books. They are still B&W, still made by reprinting disjointed panels from several comics, mostly displayed sideways. They're also still 50¢, but are now only 160 pages, down from 176. The phrase "Mighty Marvel..." was added to "...Collector's Album" on the cover and spine, but otherwise they're all very similar.

The art on the cover here (left) is a detail from FANTASTIC FOUR #41 (08/65), p.1 and the art on the first interior page (below) is a detail from FF#37 (04/65), p.7 panel 3. As in the first paperback, [L2] here uses the art from the T-shirt introduced in 1965 (in an ad in #41, to be exact) facing the title page and credits on [L3]. The indicia is on [L4].

The first reprinted story is the second story from FFAnnual #2 ([9]/64), "The Final Victory of Dr. Doom!"
[L5] reprints p.5, a portion of panel 1
[L6] reprints p.7 panel 7
[L7-9] reprints p.8
[L10] reprints p.9 panel 5 and p.10 panel 1
[L11] reprints p.10, a portion of panel 4
[L12-22] reprints pp.11 through 14, panel 4
[L23-25] reprints p.15 panels 4-5,7 and p.16 panels 1-2.7-8
[L26-28] reprints p.17
[L29] reprints p.18 panels 5-7
[L30-50] reprints pp.19-25

The second story is entirely from FF#33 (12/64)
[L51-52] reprints p.1
[L53-84] reprints pp.2-7 and 9-13
[L85-87] reprints p.14 panels 1-5 and p.15 panel 6
[L88-102] reprints pp. 16-20
The third reprinted story comes from FF#35(02/65).
[L103-104] reprints p.1
[L105-108] reprints p.2 panels 1-2 and p.3 panels 2-6
[L109-114] reprints pp.4-5
[L115-116] reprints p.6 panels 1,4-5
[L117-157] reprints pp.7-20

[L158] reprints a pin-up of the Sub-Mariner from FF#33 (12/64)

[L159] uses the same ad that appeared on [L175] of the first four books

[L160] is the page on the left.

Between the Fantastic Four paperback in 1966 and this one, MARVEL COLLECTORS' ITEM CLASSICS continued to reprint FF stories chronologically and nearly consecutively, but with a bi-monthly schedule the gap between a given story's original publication and its eventual reprint was widening every year. That might be discouraging for someone coming in late, but there were a few good things about it: readers would be less concerned about missing upcoming issues if they had a reason to believe that it would be available again less than two years later. It keeps them buying the current issues. Also, between 1962 and 1965, Marvel's sales really mushroomed; as long as their committed reprint titles kept reprinting stories in order, then with every issue they would be presenting stories with larger and larger original audiences. The target audience for the reprints would gradually, incrementally change from people who missed out the first time around due to spotty distribution to people who simply started reading later.

Of course, the reprint titles didn't reproduce the letters. Initially, of the super-hero titles only FANTASTIC FOUR ran a letters' page, even stating explicitly in an early issue that FF outsold all their other titles by such a margin that they assumed that anyone buying any of their super-hero comics must have bought FF first anyway. (From #9: " [fans] seem to feel that the FF mag is sort of the headquarters, or clearing house for the others.") In 1963, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN got a letter's page and in the first week of March, AVENGERS #5(05/64) and X-MEN #5(05/64) got their first letters' pages. They'd be followed by SGT. FURY in May. Of course, the idea of measuring the popularity of an entertainment franchise by audience participation sounds a little silly when placed against the yardstick of the Beatles' first U.S. tour and TV appearances in early 1964, which is what I've been injecting into these posts. If this is your first experience with an electronic device and you've never seen the footage then trust me, teenage girls in their audience had NO problem 'participating' at their shows. And it translated to sales. That same week that AVENGERS ans X-MEN got letters, Thor's name became larger on the cover of JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #104(05/64) than the series' title, and the Beatles had their second B-side to join its A-side on the Billboard charts. "From Me To You", which didn't chart when it was released as an A-side in 1963 (although a cover did), entered at 86 as the B-side to "Please Please Me". In fact, this was only mid-way through a period of 14 consecutive weeks in which some Beatles-related single was introduced.

In the second week of March, TALES OF SUSPENSE #54 (06/64) ran its last suspense story, "Skrang Strikes Tonight!", which makes it the last such generic anthology story Marvel produces until they bring back the format with TOWER OF SHADOWS and CHAMBER OF DARKNESS in 1969, since JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY ran its last one the week before. The Wasp and Watcher back-up features had not been terribly different up to that point. In fact, at first they had been made by having each character narrate an old suspense story script, but TALES TO ASTONISH #56 (06/64) in the first week of March was the last time that method was used for the Wasp; she would star in short stories in the next three issues in stead of narrating them. The Watcher had already made the same change in TS#53. Newly drawn versions of the narration style would be used for the Watcher back-ups in SILVER SURFER beginning in 1968.

This meant that all the comics that still had science fiction/fantasy titles were now super-hero series with a lead of 13-18 pages and a back-up of 5-9 pages. Thus, STRANGE TALES #121 (06/64) began the perhaps overdue practice of giving Dr. Strange a portion of the cover. He had only been mentioned in blurbs since #117 and only ever appeared before on #118. It was just in time for him to guest star in FF#27 that week.

While all that was on the stands, any kid picking them up over the next few weeks probably heard the following pouring out of the transistor radios of teenagers congregating in front of the drugstore:
Mar. 14th-- "Twist and Shout" enters the charts at 55
Mar. 16th-- Capitol releases their second Beatles single, "Can't Buy Me Love" b/w "You Can't Do That"
Mar. 21st-- "She Loves You" finally replaces "I Want To Hold Your Hand" at #1
Mar. 21st-- The Carefrees enter the chart at 73 with "We Love You Beatles"
Mar. 21st-- Copies of the Beatles' cover of "Roll Over Beethoven" imported from Canada enter the U.S. chart at 79
Mar. 21st-- The Four Preps enter the chart (for the last time after eight years of placing singes) at 87 with "A Letter To The Beatles"
Mar. 23rd-- Vee Jay Records releases "Do You Want To Know A Secret" b/w "Thank You Girl"
Mar. 23rd-- Vee Jay also releases a four-song EP with "Misery", "A Taste Of Honey", "Ask Me Why" and "Anna"
Mar. 27th-- MGM Records releases "Why" b/w "Cry For A Shadows", another Sheridan recording.
Mar. 28th-- "Can't Buy Me Love" enters the charts at 27
Mar. 28th-- Copies of "All My Loving" imported from Canada enter the U.S. chart at 71
Mar, 28th-- "Do You Want To Know A Secret" enters the chart at 78
Mar. 28th-- The first Beatles related songs to drop from the charts in 1964 are "My Bonnie" (a Sheridan recording) and tribute songs from Donna Lynn and The Swans; despite this there are still ten Beatles recordings and two other tributes simultaneously in the chart this week, largely owing to the number of labels making records available but obviously also the public demand for them.

There's one paperback left and the Beatles continue to occupy America long after they've left.

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