Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Why Assistant Editors’ Month?

The early 1980s were a great time to be reading Marvel Comics.
Phoenix became Dark Phoenix and the X-men were never the same.
Spider-man gained a new arch-villain in Hobgoblin, and an alien costume.
Daredevil was battling The Kingpin, Bullseye and assorted ninjas.
Aunt May gained cosmic powers and saved the world from Galactus.

What, you don’t remember that last one?

Back in October of 1983, Marvel launched its first (and only) Assistant Editors’ Month. The comics were cover dated January,1984. The event was announced by Editor In Chief Jim Shooter in the December 1983 edition of ‘Bullpen Bulletins’, shown in this image:
Mike Carlin (Marvel’s Senior Assistant Editor at the time) discussed AEM in ‘Back Issue’ #19:
“ ...Macy’s would have sales where their assistant buyers would be in charge of buying all the stuff that they’d sell. So the idea was that Jim(Shooter,Marvel's Editor In Chief in '83) was going to be taking all the editors out to the Comic-Con in San Diego-all the main editors were going to be out of the office at the same time-and wouldn’t it be funny if the books that came out the month that they were traveling to San Diego reflected the fact that the editors were gone. That,to him, meant the books wouldn’t be quite normal.[laughs]”

In reality, it was just a gimmick. The stories were written & edited months before the editors left for the Comic-con. The issues actually edited by the assistants contained typical, “normal” stories.
I was 12 at the time, probably just the right age to appreciate the (mostly sophomoric) humor. One thing I enjoyed was the “comics insider” nature of the books. Most of the jokes would only be understood by longtime readers. Back then, Marvel made the readers feel like they belonged to a community, these stories felt like a "reward" for a Marvelite like myself!
This blog will review & recap stories from all comics that participated in Assistant Editors’ Month.

Most of the issues that month featured weird/offbeat/humorous stories. Some were great, some were just, okay. But they were certainly all memorable stories. Some just had regular stories, followed by a humorous short, or a one-page “joke” pin-up. Some sites/blogs have covered AEM(I've linked to them), but I plan to go a little further than they did.

This blog’s creation is highly inspired by the aforementioned article in ‘Back Issue’(you can order it here. I’m sure I’ll be referencing that article a few more times.
I was inspired by the blogs/sites listed below, I hope I can be half as good as you these folks:
Bronze Age Babies
Marvel Genesis
Spidey Kicks Butt!
Two Girls, A Guy And Some Comics
Diversions Of The Groovy Kind
Spider-Man Crawlspace
Marvel Comics Of The 1980s
Dave’s Long Box
And I'd also like to thank all the Marvel creators who wrote,drew or edited the stories that will be covered here.
So if you loved ‘Assistant Editors’ Month’ as much as I did, or you’ve never read any of the stories, I hope you enjoy this blog.

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