Wednesday, June 1, 2011

'Marvel Tales' #159

This time Spider-Man makes his first of four visits to Assistant Editors' Month Online!

The Assistant Editor at the time was Bob Denatale. If you visit his website, you'll see that he has left comicdom and has worked as a musician, stage performer and filmmaker. Denatale was "filling in" for Danny Fingeroth, who was Editor on all the Spider-Man titles at this time.
In case anyone doesn't know, 'Marvel Tales' was a long-running reprint series, issue #1 came out in 1964, the final issue was cover dated November 1994. In the beginning, the series reprinted adventures of multiple Marvel characters, but Spider-man was the only constant. Beginning in late 1981, the series was "rebooted" and went back to the beginning, reprinting Spider-man's first appearance from 'Amazing Fantasy' #15, and continued reprinting early issues of 'Amazing Spider-Man', featuring the first appearances of Spidey's classic villains and Peter Parker's struggles to fit in at Midtown High. It was a great way for 80s kids like me to read classic Spider-Man stories written by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve Ditko.
The stories were reprinted in their original form, but every now and then, out-dated pop culture references would be changed for the 80s audience. For example,in this panel from 'Marvel Tales'#150(which reprinted 'ASM' Annual #1) , Aunt May frets about missing 'Dukes Of Hazard':
In the original story , 'The Beverly Hillbillies' was the show she missed.

Which brings us to #159, which reprinted 'ASM' #21. How much "damage" can an Assistant Editor do to a comic that simply reprints an old Lee-Ditko tale?

The main story reprinted in this issue isn't changed. The fun starts on the 'Marvel Mails' letters page. A fan writes in and suggests they should go further with the edits and update 1960s slang and fashions for 1980s readers:

That's exactly what Denatale does!
First, read these pages, from 'Marvel Tales' #157(a reprint of 'ASM' #19):

Now take out a look at the "new and improved" 80s version!:

You'll notice Aunt May is wearing sweats, Liz Allan has a mohawk and Flash Thompson is a skinhead punk. But even in 1983, "Puny Parker" is still rockin' the sweater vest!
Denatale added this note after the "updated" pages:

I think he's right about not changing the stories and I believe they never added another "update" to reprint stories after this. But I'm glad that Denatale & co made sure 'Marvel Tales' participated in AEM!

In our next installment, we'll look the first and only appearances of Bernie America and Moskull!



Mars Will Send No More said...

The punk versions of Liz and Flash are beyond awesome! With everybody else in 60s gear - killin' me. Missed this the first time around.

Also like that you identified Zeck & Beatty on the cover in your Cap post. Never knew that was them, and they rocked everything they touched in the 80s. Someone should get that team back together.

Since you're really digging into these, can you clear up this mystery: I have two copies of Thor 339 - where Beta Ray Bill gets his own God Hammer. One of them has the Assistant Editor 'Surgeon General" warning on it, and one has a UPC like any other comic. What gives? Is it some distribution thing? Or am I going to sell my uber-rare 'UPC Variant Edition' on eBay for a million bucks?

J.A. Morris said...

Mars, I'm not sure about 'Thor' #339. My copy has the UPC code, not the AEM warning.
Here are the Grand Comics Database cover images for 339:

Looks like the "Direct Sales" cover has the AEM warning. So you're right, distribution variant.

Looks like you can get between $1 and $3 on Ebay for 339. Sorry.

Thanks for stopping by, I checked out you blog & added it to my links. Nice Kirby art!

Mars Will Send No More said...

Thank you! We see now how the issue number/price boxes are different, indicating direct sales or news stand. Ah ha!

Glad you enjoyed the Kirby art we're celebrating this summer, and thank you for the link. We shall return the favor!