Continuing our look through the first issue of FOOM, aka Friends Of Ol’ Marvel, the fan magazine published by the House of Ideas throughout much of the 1970s. The first four issues were put together by artist and graphic designer Jim Steranko, and his visual approach is apparent throughout.
Having failed twice under publisher Martin Goodman to make a permanent entry into the Black and White Magazine field pretty much owned by Jim Warren, new publisher Stan Lee wasn’t being shy about establishing a beachhead this time. The three Black and White Horror magazines that Marvel was launching were given particular promotional emphasis in this issue.
In those days before there was an internet or even a distributor catalog, these advance looks at upcoming covers and information about their story contents were a godsend for a curious fan. And looking back at them, it’s interesting to see which predictions panned out and which didn’t, and to wonder why those lost stories and projects never materialized.
Here, the debut of Blade is mentioned, as is the start of the Killraven/War of the Worlds feature in AMAZING ADVENTURES
The text here mistakenly refers to Counter-Earth in the WARLOCK write-up as Earth-Two, a DC concept. Elsewhere, Brother Voodoo is announced as coming in STRANGE TALES.
A second Spider-Man Rock Comic album never materialized, but here we learn that it would have featured Spidey battling Luke Cage in a tale based on a recent issue of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. And the announced upcoming Marvel animated Christmas Special never came to pass either.
As payment for his work in putting FOOM together, Steranko was given two pages in each issue in which to hawk his own wares. Here, he plugs his famous and excellent Steranko History of Comics as well as a number of fanzines being done by friends and associates of his.
You can tell that in this initial issue, nobody was quite certain what the age range of the readership was going to be. Hence, there are quite a few games and puzzles that seem aimed at a younger age that what we’d imagine a typical Marvel reader who’d send away for a fanzine might be. In part, this was because FOOM was a part of a large fan club initiative, which included the membership kit shown last time. Fan clubs tended to skew younger, so Lee and Steranko hedged their bets.
This page was recycled from a never-realized set of parody 8-page mini-comics developed by Topps. A number of other entries from this set were run in subsequent issues. Art was provided by Gil Kane and Wally Wood, with scripting by Roy Thomas and oversight from Len Brown. Each of the images above would have been a full page in the proposed format, with the artwork at the top being set up for the front cover (and presumably a checklist and legal copy on the back cover.)
Kinda wild to see Steranko’s chunky version of Spider-Man.