Tag Archives: Marvel Comics

Classic Monster Comics: Marvel Classics #20 Frankenstein

Marvel Classics Adapted Classic Horror and   Sci-Fi Literature in the 1970s

Marvel Classics Comics #20 Frankenstein

Marvel Classics Comics #20 Frankenstein (Marvel Comics, 1977)

MAN vs MONSTER The Ultimate Classic of Nightmare and Retribution told in the MIGHTY MARVEL MANNER!

Like many kids my age, I owe a debt of gratitude to Marvel for introducing me to classic literature through this series.  While the interior art isn’t anything spectacular,  the covers always worked their magic and the stories, being the classics they are, did the rest.

At 52 pages, and without ads, these were long comics compared to most.

Stan Lees Presents Marvel Classics Comics Featuring Frankenstein

  • Freely Adapted from the novel by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly (Shelley is misspelled throughout this comic)
  • Written by John Warner
  • Drawn by Dino Castrillo
  • Lettered by John Costanza
  • Colored by Petra Goldberg

I’ve scanned  the first 21 pages of my well-read copy for your reading pleasure (click on the each page to open a larger image for reading):

Marvel Classics Frankenstein Page 1

Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 2Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 3

Marvel Classics Comics 20 Frankenstein Page 4Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 5

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Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 10Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 11

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Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Page 20

 Inside Back Cover:Marvel Classics Comics Frankenstein Inside Back Cover

About Marvel Classics Comics

Between 1976 and 1978, Marvel Comics published a series called Marvel Classics Comics adapting classic literature in the vein of the long-running Classics Illustrated, which had ceased publication in 1971.

I was well immersed in the Marvel Universe by the time this series appeared, but I was also old enough (10 years old in 1976) to be reading some of the classic works of Jules Verne, HG Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs by this time.  The fact that Marvel Classics Comics included a lot of classic horror and sci-fi literature in this series drew me in and was my first exposure to many of these novels.

I still have my original copies of these book sin my comic book collection and thought it would be fun to share them with you.  While my collection includes such titles as Black Beauty and Moby Dick, my collection is overwhelmingly  focused on the more fantastic adaptations, including Dracula, The Time Machine, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and such.  I plan to feature them all here in due course.

By the time Marvel published issue #20, adapting Mary Shelley‘s novel Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus in 1977, I was quite familiar with both Universal’s version of the story as well as Marvel’s own version of the monster.  So this one surprised me a bit.  While I noted the difference in the monster’s appearance on the cover, I was already familiar with the idea that there were different versions, thanks largely to my front-to-back readings of Famous Monsters of Filmland every month.   It would be years before I would actually read Mary Shelley’s novel, so I was surprised at how different the story was.  The monster could talk! More than that. he actually plotted and tool revenge in a calculated manner — I clearly recall not likely this version of the monster, who I always found one of the most sympathetic of the classic monsters due to Karloff’s magical portrayal.

Collector Value

Current price guide values list Near Mint copies of this comic at $13.50,  and copies are readily available.  None of the Marvel Classics series has appreciated significantly, in part because it’s not original creative content. Nonetheless, they make a nice addition to any Frankenstein or classic monster collection

Multiple copies are  currently listed on eBay at less than $10.

In the early 80’s,  Fisher-Price re-published several of the Marvel Classics comics as hardcovers and included fully-produced cassette tapes featuring audio recordings of the stories complete with sound effects and music.  Intended as  “read-along” to accompany the books.

Fischer Price Frankenstein Cassette

Frankenstein was included in this series and makes a nice collectible.  You can listen to  an mp3 of that recording here courtesy of the cool website AdventureAmigos.net

What was your favorite issue in the Marvel Classics Comics series? Please share in the comment section:

Classic Monster Comics – Marvel’s Godzilla

The King of the Monsters Rampaged Through The 1970s Marvel Universe

Godzilla King of the Monsters 1977

Godzilla King of the Monsters #1 (Marvel Comics Group,  February 1977)

Look Out America! The Mightiest Menace of Them All is Coming Your Way!

  • Written by Doug Moench
  • Drawn by Herbe Trimpe & Jim Mooney
  • Lettered by Joe Rosen
  • Colored by Janice Cohen

About GODZILLA KING OF THE MONSTERS

The Marvel Universe is home to many a strange creature. With names like Grogg, Goom, Grattu and, yes, Fing Fang Foom, giant creatures have long found a home in the same comic book world that Spider-Man, the X-Men and The Avengers call home. It’s only natural, then, that Godzilla, Toho’s King of Monsters, would come to call the Marvel Universe home too.

1977 saw Godzilla in the height of his popularity. The giant radioactive dinosaur that had been born into this world as a terrifying piece of post-World War II, anti-American propaganda in 1954’s Gojira was now a full-fledged superhero. He wrestled across yearly movies – fighting all manner of evil aliens, undersea civilizations and fellow mutant menaces. He befriended the young (appearing in an anti-bullying PSA) and even had time to father a son! There were toys (many, many toys), Christmas-themed singles and, thanks to Marvel Comics, a monthly series that saw the monster journey through space and time in search of adventure.

Godzilla was no stranger to comic books – he had long found a home in black-and-white manga released in Japan and frequently tied to his regular output of films. Godzilla’s first American comic book appearance was four-page promotional comic giveaway for audiences at screenings of Godzilla Vs. Megalon in 1976.

The following year, Marvel Comics licensed the character for what would be a 24-issue series written by Doug Moench (the co-creator of characters such as Moon Knight and DC Comics’ Bane) and illustrated by Herb Trimpe (longtime Hulk illustrator and the first artist to draw Wolverine in a comic book). Marvel licensed Godzilla but did not pony up for the lizard’s film friends or foes – leaving Moench with the freedom (or burden, as the case may be) to create new adventures and enemies for Godzilla to combat over the course of the series.

click on these images for a closer look:

Marvel Comics Godzilla #1

The first issue of Godzilla, King Of The Monsters, a story called “The Coming,” the King of the Monster’s primary pursuer is none other than S.H.E.I.L.D, Marvel’s go-to organization when it comes to keeping world peace and/or capturing rampaging radioactive lizards.

Godzilla Marvel Comics 1977

Marvel Comics S.H.I.E.L.D. vs Godzilla

Dum Dum Dugan, Nick Fury’s right-hand man, is personally charged with ridding America of the creature and teams with a group of Japanese scientists to capture the behemoth after he begins his North American tour following an appearance in Alaska. From Alaska to Seattle to San Francisco,

Marvel Comics Godzilla vs S.H.I.E.L.D

Godzilla hits San Francisco

Godzilla Marvel Comics Origin

Marvel Godzilla 1977 ComicDugan and his team track Godzilla. Along the way, Godzilla takes in the sights and even has a chance to interact with local heroes – including a rumble with San Fran superhero team The Champions, a ‘70s alliance that included Iceman, Angel, Ghost Rider, Black Widow and more.

In order to give the monster opponents that offered a fair fight, Moench invented a fleet of new monsters (including Yetrigar – the biggest bigfoot of them all!) for Godzilla to rumble with. He and Trimpe also invented the mechanized-monster fighter Red Ronin. The character, a by-product of Stark Technology and enemy to monsters everywhere, is a giant samurai-inspired robot that has, even after Marvel’s Godzilla license expired, continued to pop up in the Marvel Universe – even recently given the alter-ego of a teenage girl.

Halfway through the series, Moench began to find his groove and decided to send Godzilla on even stranger adventures – ejecting the lizard from Earth and sending him to the moon to settle a longstanding feud between two warring alien races and to the west to rumble with cattle-rustlers and cowboys. Godzilla was even shrunk down to the size of a rat thanks to the use of Pym Particles, a material invented by Hank Pym (aka Ant-Man) that can change the size of anything it comes in contact with.

Once shrunk, Godzilla began a multi-issue arc that saw the monster slowly begin to grow back to full-size. Captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Fantastic Four before he had retained his full size, Godzilla was sent back in time to the age of dinosaurs – Marvel’s top scientists surely not considering what possible ramifications could come from the exposure of a radioactive monster to the prehistoric timeline. Obviously Reed Richards wasn’t a Ray Bradbury fan.

As it turns out, Godzilla’s radiation does futz with the time travel technology and instead of being sent to the past, he is sent to the Jack Kirby-created alternate dimension Dinosaur World, home of cross-species BFFs Devil Dinosaur, a giant red T-Rex, and Moon-Boy, a monkey boy with a heart of gold.

Once the Fantastic Four realized their mistake, they plucked Godzilla from Dinosaur World and plopped him back in the middle of New York City. Now at his full-grown size, it was finally time for the King of Monsters to battle Marvel’s premier superhero team – The Avengers. The last two issues of Marvel’s series featured Godzilla in an all-out-rumble with The Avengers and the Fantastic Four and featured appearances from S.H.I.E.L.D., The Daily Bugle (including a showdown between J. Jonah Jameson and Godzilla) and even one final last-minute cameo from Spider-Man. In the end, all it took was a stern talking to by a young boy to send Godzilla on his way – disappearing into the ocean and out of the Marvel Universe forever.

Or was it forever? Despite the fact that Marvel’s license with Toho for Godzilla had ended, Marvel was not willing to let go of the King of Monsters that easily. In 1985, Doctor Demonicus, a monster-loving mad scientist that had first appeared in an early issue of Godzilla, King Of Monsters, made his return in an issue of Iron Man. He even brought along an old friend. In order to skate international copyright laws, Godzilla was never referred to as Godzilla and was given a makeover courtesy of Demonicus. Now with a few horns on his head, a fin along his back and webbed hands, the new and improved “Godzilla” was free to rampage across the Marvel Universe again – without Marvel needing to cut a check to Toho.

This new version of Godzilla only appeared a few times – including once in an issue of The Thing’s solo series in which the monster was, presumably by accident, referred to directly by name. A few years ago, in the first issue of Mighty Avengers, a spin-off series featuring a team of government-sanctioned Avengers, New York City was attacked by a horde of monsters controlled by the Mole Man, an underground-dwelling, monster-loving villain. Among the monsters was Godzilla – without the amphibious adjustments Demonicus had made to his body. This cameo was most likely not an official appearance by the monster – instead just a clever gag from artist Frank Cho.

Marvel found a lot of success in the ‘70s with licensing characters – including series set in the Marvel Universe that featured toy properties Rom the Space Knight and the Micronauts. Unfortunately, the use of these characters in the Marvel Universe means that many stories from Marvel Comics are no longer able to be reprinted – with collections of comics from the ‘70s often skipping over issues that feature characters to which Marvel no longer has a license. Even Shang-Chi, a Marvel mainstay and recent Avenger, has almost no reprint collections available due to the fact that Shang-Chi’s father was established to be Fu Manchu and Marvel no longer has the rights to use the character.

Marvel Comics Letter Page Godzilla 1977

Thankfully, Marvel worked out a deal with Toho last decade and released a black-and-white collection under their Essentials series that collects the full 24-issue run. Essential Godzilla is easily available and highly recommended for both fans of Kaiju and Marvel superheroes. If anything, the collection is worth a purchase alone for the multi-issue arc in which a shrunken Godzilla fights rats, sharks and New York muggers. You just can’t put a price on that kind of entertainment.

H/T BirthsMoviesDeath

Collector Value:

NM grade copies of issue #1 of Godzilla King of the Monsters are currently valued around $25.  The full 24-issue series is often available as a complete set on eBay.

 

Classic Monster Comics – Marvel Premiere #28

Classic Monster Comics

Marvel Premiere #28

MARVEL PREMIERE Legion of Monsters Comic 1975

The Legion of Monsters (Marvel Comics Group,  February 1975)

Action in the Mysterious Marvel Manner!

  • Written by Bill Mantlo
  • Drawn by Frank Robbins
  • Inked by Steve Gan
  • Lettered by Karen Mantlo
  • Colored by Janice Cohen

The Most Spine-Tingling Team-up of All!

  • Once Ted Sallis, now The Man-Thing
  • Johnny Blaze, the Ghost Rider
  • Morbius the Living Vampire
  • Jack Russell, the Werewolf by Night

Marvel Premiere #28 interior splash page

Marvel Premiere #28 Interior Title Page

Marvel Premiere #28 interior page 7

Marvel Premiere #28 interior page 11

Marvel Premiere 28 interior page 15

Marvel Premiere 28 interior page 17

Marvel Premiere 28 interior page 30

Marvel Premiere 28 interior page 31

About Marvel Premiere #28

In its nearly decade-long run (1972- 1981), Marvel Premiere served as a proving ground for a host of new characters. Iron FistWoodgodCaleb Hammer, and many others made first appearances in Marvel Premiere. Other characters, like the Falcon and Jack of Hearts were featured here in their first solo stories. And yes, Marvel Premiere was also the venue at which Alice Cooper made his first comic book appearance.

Marvel Premiere #28 is a delight for classic monster comics lovers delight as it combined many of the Marvel Monsters into a super-team of sorts – Ghost RiderMorbiusThe Man-Thing and Werewolf by Night all had solo comic titles at the time and since team-ups were all the rage in super hero titles, it only made sense to capitalize on that with a monster team-up and Marvel Premiere was designed to test new concepts.  The Legion of Monsters only made one appearance in Marvel Premiere and didn’t spin off into their own title.

in the early 1970s, Marvel had been publishing multiple black-and-white horror anthology monster comics in the magazine format under its Curtis Magazine imprint as a means of bypassing the Comic Code Authority but they had canceled most of those titles by 1975 to focus more on super hero, action and science fiction genres.  Following the Marvel Premiere issue, Curtis launched a stand-alond magazine titled Legion of Monsters  in an effort to consolidate all their classic monsters comics titles into one magazine.  The new line up was more horror-based (Ghost Rider was out; Manphibian and the Living Mummy were in) but unfortunately only one issue was ever published.

Read more about the Legion of Monsters on Marvel Comics Wikia.

Collector Value:

NM grade copies of this book are valued at $30.  My personal copy, which you see in the scans in this post, is in Fine condition and worth around $7.

Click here for current eBay listings for this comic

Classic Monster Comics – Marvel Premiere 28

Classic Monster Comics

Marvel Premiere #28

MARVEL PREMIERE Legion of Monsters Comic 1975

The Legion of Monsters (Marvel Comics Group,  February 1975)

Action in the Mysterious Marvel Manner!

  • Written by Bill Mantlo
  • Drawn by Frank Robbins
  • Inked by Steve Gan
  • Lettered by Karen Mantlo
  • Colored by Janice Cohen

The Most Spine-Tingling Team-up of All!

  • Once Ted Sallis, now The Man-Thing
  • Johnny Blaze, the Ghost Rider
  • Morbius the Living Vampire
  • Jack Russell, the Werewolf by Night

Marvel Premiere #28 interior splash page

 

Marvel Premiere #28 Interior Title Page

 

Marvel Premiere #28 interior page 7

 

Marvel Premiere #28 interior page 11

 

Marvel Premiere 28 interior page 15

 

Marvel Premiere 28 interior page 17

 

Marvel Premiere 28 interior page 30

 

Marvel Premiere 28 interior page 31

About Marvel Premiere #28

In its nearly decade-long run (1972- 1981), Marvel Premiere served as a proving ground for a host of new characters. Iron Fist, Woodgod, Caleb Hammer, and many others made first appearances in Marvel Premiere. Other characters, like the Falcon and Jack of Hearts were featured here in their first solo stories. And yes, Marvel Premiere was also the venue at which Alice Cooper made his first comic book appearance.

Marvel Premiere #28 is a classic monster comics lovers delight as it combined many of the Marvel Monsters into a super-team of sorts – Ghost Rider, Morbius, The Man-Thing and Werewolf by Night all had solo comic titles at the time and since team-ups were all the rage in super hero titles, it only made sense to capitalize on that with a monster team-up and Marvel Premiere was designed to test new concepts.  The Legion of Monsters only made one appearance in Marvel Premiere and didn’t spin off into their own title.

in the early 1970s, Marvel had been publishing multiple black-and-white horror anthology monster comics in the magazine format under its Curtis Magazine imprint as a means of bypassing the Comic Code Authority but they had canceled most of those titles by 1975 to focus more on super hero, action and science fiction genres.  Following the Marvel Premiere issue, Curtis launched a stand-alond magazine titled Legion of Monsters  in an effort to consolidate all their classic monsters comics titles into one magazine.  The new line up was more horror-based (Ghost Rider was out; Manphibian and the Living Mummy were in) but unfortunately only one issue was ever published.

Read more about the Legion of Monsters on Marvel Comics Wikia.

Collector Value:

NM grade copies of this book are valued at $30.  My personal copy, which you see in the scans in this post, is in Fine condition and worth around $7.

Click here for current eBay listings for this comic

Classic Monster Magazines

 Classic Monster Magazines

Every few weeks, I will go in-depth on a classic monster magazine from my personal collection. We’ll kick this new series off with one of one my favorite comic book monsters, the Man Thing …

Monsters Unleashed #5

Marvel Comics Group, April 1974

Monsters Unleashed! Magazine April 1974. Cover art by Bob Larkin

Fantastic Cover by Bob Larkin

Printed on the interior of both the front and back covers, a poster of the “most startling swamp creature of all” which, of course, you had to remove the cover to hang!

IMG_3441

Special Bonus: Giant-Size Man-Thing Pin-Up  

a double-page pin up of everyone’s favorite swamp creature, ready to hang on your bedroom wall and drip slime over your carpet

Magazine Contents

Man-Thing: All the Faces of Fear  

a horror from the past comes back to haunt the Man-Thing…and this time only one of them can possibly survive.

  • Written by Tony Isabella
  • Art by Vincente Alcazar

Man-Thing: All the Faces of Fear from Monsters Unleashed #5

Great splash page of the Man-Thing battling a pack of gators in the swamp apparently to protect that  mysterious leggy cloaked woman standing in the background.

Man-Thing

I’ve always been a Man-Thing guy–Swamp Thing just looked too human for me.  But Man-Thing is clearly a creature of the swamp, a muck monster.  With his trip-tentacled face and black eyes, he fit right into my empathetic + frightening formula for a classic monster. I’m still a sucker for any comic with him in it.

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad                                                                                                              

Review and reflections of the brand new Columbia/Harryhausen epic.

  • Written by Gerry Conway

Golden Voyage of Sinbad - Monsters Unleashed! 1974

Peter Stubb: Werewolf
  • Written by Tony Isabella
  • Art by Ron Wilson

Peter Snubb: Werewolf! Monsters Unleashed #5 1974

The Dark Passage

Nick Raftis was a murderer.  He was tried, convicted, and jailed. Then Nick escaped…only to be hunted by the very ones he killed.

Dark Passage - Monsters Unleashed 1974

Glenn Strange, Frankenstein: Monster fo Dodge City

Recently, he starred on TV’s Gunsmoke as Sam the Bartender. But to monster fans everywhere, he will be remembered as the Frankenstein Monster. A tribute to the late Mr. Strange by expert Don Glut.

  • Written by Don Glut

Monsters Unleashed Curtis Magazines Marvel Comics

Demon of Slaughter Mansion

Twice before we’ve promised this story. Twice before it failed to see print.  Now, at last, you can finally read the terror-tale that was too hot to publish.

  • Written by Don McGregor
  • Art by Juan Boix/Pablo Marcos

Demon of Slaughter Mansion - Monsters Unleashed! Marvel 1974

Monsters in the Media

An in-depth look behind the movies, the books and the television plays that have been bombarding you in the past, and will be clawing your way in the future.

  • Written by Carla Joseph

Monster in the Media - Monsters Unleashed! #5 1974

The Werewolf Tale to End All Werewolf Tales!

A honeymoon is not the best time to track down a monster. Yet, what happens when a monster tracks down you?

Werewolf Tale to End All Werewolf Tales - Monsters Unleashed! 1974

Frankenstein 1974: Once a Monster…

His mind is no longer his own, for it has been transplanted into the body of a monster…and Own Wallach can do nothing but scream in horror..or resort to – murder. A Frankenstein special.

  • Written by Gary Friedrich
  • Art by  John Buscema/Winslow  Mortimer

Frankenstein 1974: Once a Monster.... from Monsters Unleashed #5

Curtis Magazines

was the name of an imprint used by Marvel Comics to publish black and white magazines between 1971 and 1975.   Marvel saw the success Warren was having with their black-and-white Horror anthology magazines and wanted a piece of the action.   Marvel’s editor, Stan Lee, and the mighty Marvel Bullpen were challenging Comic Code authority through their mainstream color comic books with stories about drug abuse in Amazing Spider-Man and the like. Magazines, however, were outside the Comic Code’s jurisdiction entirely making them fertile ground for edgier subject matter like horror and monsters.

The paper stock Marvel used was pretty low quality compared to their color comic pages, and finding VF+ grade books from the Curtis imprint is no small feat.  They’ve appreciated in value nicely over time.

Monster Magazine subscription ad- Marvel Monsters Unleashed! 1974

Collectors Value:

Monsters Unleashed #5 has a increased in value nicely over the years, with NM currently priced around $39.   My personal copy, which you see in the scans on this post, is in Very Fine condition and valued at around $26.

Summary

I started buying comics when I was 4 years old and loved the circular racks at my local convenience store.  I drifted to the magazine rack through the gateways of Mad and Cracked magazines as well as the Treasury Edition comic books that were too big for the comic rack.  It was then that I discovered the brave new world of Warren and all these great anthologies, now classic monster magazines.  My parents just thought they were oversize comics and I had no problem getting them — Vampirella was a different story, but then the covers usually gave the contents of those books away to parents.

I still love these classic monster magazines with their fantastic painted covers featuring some great monsters.  The combination of 1950s horror comics together with original stories from the 1970s only enhance the charm for me since I wasn’t around the great over-the-top horror comics of the 1950s.  In short, these magazines mean a lot to me and always will.