So you might think that true fanboy entitlement is a recent development that arose when AOL started distributing those shiny silver coasters to every man, woman, child and stuffed bull on the planet Earth and we all hunkered down to peer at our computer screens to interconnect with the rest of fandom. For truly, how could a real sense of outraged entitlement take place until we could be part of the global World Wide Web? Huh? Huh? Huh? Huh?
For the answer to that question, let's set the Time Toaster for the year 1962, the very dawn of the Marvel Age, and flip open the pages of Fantastic Four #3...careful! Put on the white cotton gloves first!...to the letters page, to see this friendly compliment from Stan 'n' The Gang to all their faithful readers. Ever the enthusiastic figurehead, Stan gallantly compliments the readers, telling them they're "a cut above average":
...before a friendly, Marvel-Yellow box tells us that Fantastic Four has proved so popular right out of the gate that old Willie Lumpkin is getting lumbago bringing all that fan mail to the Bullpen, and Stan (or, more probably, Flo Steinberg) simply doesn't have the time to answer each letter personally. If they did, why, there wouldn't be enough hours in the day to create The World's Greatest Comic Magazine, would there? Sounds reasonable to me, doesn't it? Sounds reasonable to you too, I bet. Sounds reasonable to everyone...or so you'd think!
Two issues later in the letters column of FF #5, enter Mister William J. Marcolongo, with what I do believe is the First Example of Entitlement of the Marvel Age:
In the words of the Smilin' One, sheesh! The editorial reply is humorous and polite enough, but even during these early glory days of what would become one of the great comic book empires of the twentieth century, Stan has just had his firstbut by no means his lastrun-in with the great fanboy plague known as entitlement.
(Later that day, of course, Stan sent Kirby down to Philadelphia, where Jack beat the little whiner up and took his lunch money. Haw!)