Stop me if I’ve already told you this. Like many folks, I grew up on Marvel Comics.
My first comic book ever was Marvel Team-Up #20 from 1972. The issue featured Spider-Man (as most Marvel Team-Ups did) and the Black Panther versus Stegron the Dinosaur Man. Admittedly, being a 7 year old boy getting his first comic book (off a spinner rack at our local Safeway grocery store) I didn’t buy it for Spider-Man, and I didn’t get it for Black Panther. I totally wanted it for Stegron,
Hey, I was 7 and crazy about dinosaurs! How could I not get this comic book featuring this glorious creation?
Now, of course because of this issue I became a fan of both Spidey and T’Challa, and was led into the larger world of Marvel Comics. I was entranced. I was hooked. I was the eponymous Marvel Zombie. Somehow, I never joined the Merry Marvel Marching Society nor the Friends of Ol’ Marvel fan clubs. I honestly don’t recall how they passed me by, but pass me by they did. Much later, in the early 90s, I would joint the Wild Agents of Marvel fan club.
I loved Marvel. I enjoyed DC Comics, too, but not in the way I loved Marvel.
I remember seeing the classic Origins of Marvel Comics book on the shelf in the book section at our local Gemco store. I devoured it, and would continue on to Son of Origins and Bring on the Bad Guys (I still need to track down a copy of The Superhero Women one of these days). And, during those halcyon days of the mid 1970s Dynamite magazine (available though the Scholastic Book Club) which featured a condensed one-page origin of a Marvel superhero.
Around the same time i discovered the Marvel Superheroes cartoons…the ones with limited animation but taken directly from the actual comic books.
I was swimming in Marvel. I wore Marvel T-shirts. My bedroom walls were adorned by Marvel wall decals (via an ad in a comic book, if I recall correctly which, at my age, is getting more challenging). I listened to Power Records book and record sets featuring Marvel characters.
I stayed faithful through the early 2010s. I had stopped buying single issues and focused instead on trade paperback collections. And then I stopped. I developed “Event Fatigue” after big event after big event. I generally didn’t care for the current art styles, and really didn’t care for the muddy computerized coloring. It just wasn’t for me. I preferred the comics I grew up loving.
Flash forward to the end of 2020 and Hasbro introducing the new Marvel Legends Retro 375 line. If somehow you haven’t heard about it, it’s a 3.75″ action figure line predicated on the notion of “What if Kenner made Marvel figures in the 80s”? It features classic characters in bright colors and my favorite scale too boot.
The announcement of the new line hit me right in my nostalgia buttons, hard. I was in. I was all in.
Now, I find myself happily spiraling down a path of revisiting the comics I grew up on, and loving every minute of it.
There’s something I’ve noticed as I have gotten older, nostalgia has become a much larger factor in my life. I’d rather read something older, than something new. I generally prefer watching an older TV show over a current one. It’s an odd phenomenon, to be sure. I used to make fun of my father-in-law who would watch old western movies he’d seen a 100 times. I don’t make fun of him anymore.
So, back to Marvel. I’ve been rereading Marvel stories from the 60s, 70s and 80s and it just brings such joy to my geek heart! Last year I discovered a podcast called This Week in Marvel produced by two guys, as it turns out, from right here in Portland, Oregon. Each week they recap the Marvel Comics that were released in a given week starting right at the beginning with Fantastic Four #1. It’s a blast to listen to, although I don’t know how they’re going to keep it up as Marvel begins ramping up their output with more and more titles being released each week. But, I’m along for the ride.
Similarly, I’m along for the ride with this new line from Hasbro. I’m really excited to see where this line goes. I totally get that this style of line is not for every collector. Today’s preferences tend to be 6″ scale and super-articulated. These are definitely not that, and as a result some fans will pass these by. But, I hope people are attracted to the classic look, the bright colors and well-known characters. But, in this world dominated by the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I hope these toys lead people back to the source material, the classic Marvel Comics of a bygone era.
To borrow a phrase from Stan “The Man” Lee, Excelsior!