I’m pretty certain that I scavenged this from over at Scott Edelman’s blog from a number of years ago. Both Scott and his wife Irene had been on staff at Marvel in the 1970s and had saved an assortment of various memos and bits of paraphernalia. Every so often, Scott would come across one of these relics and share it with his audience. I thought this one deserved a wider spotlight put on it–so here we are.
Above, you can see the final, published cover for GIANT-SIZE MARVEL TRIPLE ACTION #1, one of the many oversized reprint titles that Marvel jammed the racks with in the mid-1970s. Its all-new cover was penciled and inked by John Romita. And it’s that cover that we want to speak about here.
Upon seeing a copy of the cover in production, Publisher Stan Lee dashed off the above memo to Len Wein, who was then Marvel’s Editor (effectively the Editor in Chief, though there was still only one titled Editor in those days.) In it, he outlines areas in which the cover image can be punched up, and gives an overview of the kinds of things he is looking for on a Marvel super hero cover. And we can see from the final that, while Stan’s addition of the “Avengers Assemble!” balloon didn’t end up getting done, Goliath’s expression was punched up to make him more clearly yelling, as Lee had asked for. That balloon Len added on the middle right doesn’t actually say a single thing–all it does is take up space and clutter the cover up further. The 1970s was an era for cluttered, copy and balloon-heavy covers from Marvel.