Karen: Life was good as a Marvel fanatic back in the seventies. It was a time of unparalleled creativity, when a new generation of writers and artists appeared to expand upon the Lee-Kirby universe. We had superheroes, barbarians, monsters, cowboys...anything you could want could be found in the pages of a Marvel comic -or magazine. It was a fun time.
Karen: One of the extra little joys for Marvel fans was the new Marvel fan club, inaugurated in 1973, called FOOM: Friends Of Ol' Marvel. When you joined FOOM, you got a package of cool goodies that included a gold membership card, a 22" x 28" Steranko poster of many of Marvel's finest, some stickers, and best of all, a subscription to the FOOM magazine. This quarterly magazine was chock full of news (remember, no internet in those days!), articles, games, art, and pictures. It was like being a real Marvel insider.
Karen: I'll be taking a look at a different issue of FOOM on these FOOM Fridays. We'll start with the first issue. My own issues are in pretty bad shape -they were read and re-read, and since I was still a youngster, I also *gasp* colored some of the pictures! So please excuse the appearance of some images.
Karen: Issue #1 readers were greeted by a full page image of Smilin' Stan Lee on the cover. Lee saluted the reader in his typical flowery, over the top prose. He described the magazine as "an endless bounty of all that is best, all that is noblest, all that most truly symbolizes the soul and the spirit of we who follow FOOM!"
Karen: Inside, editor Steranko explained the concept of the magazine, and announced a contest: design a hero or villain to appear in a new Marvel comic! (More on this in future reviews.)
Karen: Next followed pages with biographies and photos of Lee, John Buscema, Roy Thomas, Joe Sinnott, and Gerry Conway. I love the photo of the 'hip' Stan Lee! WHile we have a ton of information on all of these men now, and it's easily accesible, back in the day, these bios were really very informative. Of course I was always interested in any information I could get about Marvel and the bullpen. The main article in the issue, written by one Ed Noonchester (?), was on the birth of the Fantastic Four. A detailed index of all FF issues to that point -which would only be issue 132! - followed.
Karen: Interspersed throughout the magazine are puzzles and games with Marvel themes. I dutifully scribbled away in every one of these, I'm afraid.
Karen: Perhaps the most interesting section of the magazine, to me anyway, was the part on upcoming books, titled Far-Out Fanfare and Infoomation. The Marvel magazines were discussed first, announcing that Marvel was launching four black and white magazines: Dracula ( although the cover picture shows the title as Dracula Lives!), Monsters Unleashed, Tales of the Zombie, and Vampire Tales. Also discussed is Marvel's pulp digest book, The Haunt of Horror. Hard to believe but each of the magazines had a price of 75 cents! Marvel was going whole hog into the horror business with these titles, which were to be released one each month over a four month period.
Karen: Some staff changes are discussed, including that John Romita has been made art director, and will be laying out most of the covers. Marie Severin has been made Chief Colorist. Young Marv Wolfman has been made an Assistant Editor. It's funny to read some of the 'upcoming' news now. Some never went anywhere, and some were portentious. Some of the news:
- The Thing is going to star in his own team-up book in Marvel Features
- Strange Tales will return with Len Wein and Gene Colan collaborating on a project "too secret to reveal at the moment...all we can reveal now is its name -Brother Voodoo"!!
- Don Heck will take over Sub-Mariner until Bill Everett recovers from his heart attack. "You might want to drop Wild Bill a note wishing him a speedy recovery!"
- The Spider-Man LP record was so successful, Gerry Conway is writing the script for a second one (Was this Rock Reflections of A Super-Hero? I had both albums, and I recall they were pretty terrible)
- This was a tantalizing tidbit that never went anywhere as far as I can tell: "There has been some talk around the bullpen concerning a one hour, animated Christmas special that will feature all the Marvel characters. This show would not be a Saturday morning special, but a prime time show with nationwide distribution. Remember FOOM fans, you read it here first!" And last -never happened.