After the success of the two-volume X-MEN COMPANION project proved it to be a profitable venture that helped to underwrite some of Fantagraphics other more high-minded publications, the company looked around for similar things that could be done that might likewise bring in some operating capital. By this point, the earlier amicable relationship with Marvel … Continue reading FOCUS ON JOHN BYRNE


Dumb observation first: that blue molding on the corridor Reed and the troops are running down confuses my eye every time I look at this cover. Even after 40+ years, every time I look at it, my brain wants to decode it as somehow being a part of Reed's body, the only other 100% blue … Continue reading BHOC: FANTASTIC FOUR #198


This issue of MARVEL COLLECTORS' ITEM CLASSICS was another book that I bought on that night after I'd worked all day at my father's office. It was an issue that I picked up for the most important reason possible: it was priced more cheaply than other issues that were there, thus allowing my money to … Continue reading BHOC: MARVEL COLLECTORS’ ITEM CLASSICS #17


MARVEL COLLECTORS' ITEM CLASSICS was an Annual sized regular title that reprinted earlier stories in the Marvel canon for the benefit of readers who came to the line later. Like me. It eventually changed its name to MARVEL'S GREATEST COMICS and ran for a good long time. And for somebody like me, who was interested … Continue reading BHOC: MARVEL COLLECTORS’ ITEM CLASICS #13

Lee & Kirby: When Challengers of the Unknown Presaged Fantastic Four

When we talk about the forces that came into play in the creation of the original Marvel super heroes, in particular the Fantastic Four and attempt to apportion credit (or blame) between the two men who worked on those early strips, one earlier feature that is inevitably invoked is Jack Kirby's series for DC, CHALLENGERS … Continue reading Lee & Kirby: When Challengers of the Unknown Presaged Fantastic Four

The First Hulk Parody

By 1966, there was no way for industry leader DC/National Comics to be unaware of the growing appeal of upstart publisher Marvel--especially given that both companies' output was distributed by an outfit owned by National's owners. Marvel's growth was often scoffed at and decried as a passing fad, but as the firm started making inroads … Continue reading The First Hulk Parody


It was always a welcome moment when a new issue of MARVEL'S GREATEST COMICS turned up at my local 7-11. FANTASTIC FOUR was my favorite comic book at the time, and getting an issue of MGC, which reprinted older issues of FANTASTIC FOUR, was virtually as good as getting a new issue. The big change … Continue reading BHOC: MARVEL’S GREATEST COMICS #79


This was a cool surprise to greet me at the 7-11's spinner rack that Thursday afternoon. I had taken to following MARVEL SUPER-HEROES regularly by this point, but a story that guest-starred the Fantastic Four was incredibly welcome. Even though I'd never experienced one firsthand, the concept of a Thing vs Hulk fight being something … Continue reading BHOC: MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #74