As a kid, one of my other interests apart from comic books was codes and ciphers. I was always fascinated by the ways in which information could be concealed and then deciphered, and I read a bunch of books on the subject. Even to this day, I retain some general knowledge relating to the subject. And that is why, on a visit to my grandparents’ house this summer, I wound up buying this book from the local bookstore, despite the fact that I still wasn’t a Marvel fan.

This little paperback was one in a series of Marvel games and novelty books that had been packaged during this period, in the wake of the success of ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS. I never quite had enough interest in the volumes devoted to mazes or crosswords or similar puzzles, but codes and ciphers was a different story for me. This is noteworthy in that some of my initial very basic knowledge about Marvel (including the fact that the Human Torch was one of the Fantastic Four, which would soon be critical) came from reading through this volume.

The book combined pick-up shots of the assorted Marvel heroes with word games and codes of different sorts. I don’t recall it being an especially difficult set of puzzles, to be honest, and even the production on the volume, by Paty Cockrum, seems no better than serviceable. I don’t know that these volumes really rated the sort of attention that might have been paid to a top-selling comic book, but their presence increased the visibility of the Marvel heroes in the public eye a little bit.

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