Marvel Comics subscription ad, as seen in Werewolf by Night #29 (May 1975)
So you think there's a lot of Marvel Comics to buy each month in 2009...check out 1975! Sure, there's no multiple Avengers or X-Men or Spider-Man titles, but look what you would get: classic cancelled comics like Arrgh!Frankenstein! War is Hell! Our Love Story!Chamber of Chills! (That last one, by the way, was just a refrigerator.)
If you look at that subscription list carefully, can you count the number of titles that are still around today without having been rebooted to a new #1 at some point? Go ahead, start counting...I'll wait for you right here...keep counting...write down the numbers if you need to...
That's right...NONE! Not a single one of these titles had an uninterrupted run; every single one of them was either cancelled or renumbered to start a new series, and only a handful (Amazing Spider-Man, Captain America, Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Incredible Hulk, and Thor) have resumed their regular numbering. In fact, there's only one title currently being published by Marvel that still retains its original numbering without having been rebooted...and it ain't on the list, not quite. Give up? Uncanny X-Men, very nearly cancelled but not quite, was in reprints until 1975. Giant-Size X-Men, which is on this list, would herald in a new age of confusing crossovers, Chris Claremont's fetishes, and, eventually, Gambit.
Speakin' of Giant-Size X-Men #1, wouldn't you have loved to pick that up at its 1975 price of 50¢? Or for that matter, any book on this list...or why not...all of them? Just for fun, I computed that if all of these books came out in one single month (they didn't, but work with me here)...they'd cost you a total of $31.50. You'd get eighty-six comics for your money. And one of them would be
Spidey fighting the Mole Man while the multi-ethnic pop group The Short Circus perform their new hit "Jelly Belly" above him? Priceless.
From The Electric Company: Morgan Freeman as DJ Mel Mounds introduces The Short Circus (including Irene Cara!) sings their #1 hit single "Jelly Belly." Hey, Rita Moreno digs it!
Cast of characters from the Marvel/Star comic book Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham, full-page by Steve Mellor from Marvel Age Annual #3 (1986)
(Click picture to ham-size)
I'm very fond of Marvel's attempt at the venerable funny-animal parody comic, Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham...it was one of the few kid-oriented Star Comics that actually had an appeal to pre-exsiting Marvel fans. Populated by characters whose names were groan-inducing, delightfully-bad animal puns on Marvel's super heroes (Deerdevil! The Fantastic Fur! Goose Rider! Ducktor Doom!) and some distinctive fluid and delightfully cartoon-inspired art (mostly by Joe Abelo, Mark Armstrong, and Steve and Mike Mellor), I frequently hope for a Marvel trade paperback...heck, I'd settle for a crayon-it-yourself Essential Peter Porker. After all, it doesn't need to be in color and nobody will get confused...I'm sure every Marvel fan will be able to understand what the pig meant.
Spider-Ham came back relatively recently in an almost universally lambasted Civil War one-shot appearance, I'm betting the little bacon-ball still has a lot of friends out there: Marvel fans voted him the Spider-Guy they wanted to see on the Mike Wieringo alternate cover of Amazing Spider-Man #528:
Hey Joey Q! With the rest of the Star original characters reappearing in this year's X-Babies miniseries, isn't it time to bring Your Friendly Neighbor Spider-Ham back to comics? C'mon...don't hog all the fun! Look, we'll even let you bring back this guy: