Mike S.:One of my favorite topics on the BAB site is the “This Cover Made Me Buy This Book” feature. It never ceases to surprise me how much good conversation and memories can be generated from a single cover. I have a slight variation on that approach, with a little game I call, “If I Had A Buck…” Back when I was a kid, I would scrimp and save, do extra chores for allowances, and work at my paper route just to have a little extra change (used mostly to buy comics, Slurpees, and candy). There were so many instances when I went to the local drug store that I said to myself, “If only I had a dollar; if I had a buck I would buy FILL IN THE BLANK”. A nickel was often the difference in being able to buy two, three, or four comics. Should I get the Annual, or two of the “Still Only 25 Cent” issues? How do I mix or match to get the most out of my money? I would have loved to buy everything on the rack, but that was impossible.
So this game that I propose is a mixture of history, cover art, an alternate world, and a little money. Let’s start with some history…
Carol Danvers has been a part of Marvel’s cast of characters for nearly fifty years, making her 1968 debut in Marvel Super Heroes #13 as an Air Force officer in charge of security and a foil to the original Captain Marvel. Her persona has evolved much over the years, from a magazine editor to an Avenger, from Ms. Marvel to Binary to Warbird to Captain Marvel, from a legacy type character to a heroine currently more popular than her namesake.
In 1977, she first headlined her own title, Ms. Marvel, in a mostly forgettable and relatively short lived run. The series attempted to add a feminist character to the Marvel ranks. The modern approach may have been initially short circuited by clichés and a peekaboo costume. Following Gerry Conway’s intro, Chris Claremont took over writing duties with the third issue and shepherded the series through its finale. Along the way Carol evolved into a true headliner with a lot of nuance, a compelling voice, and layered tales that set a foundation for the character’s decades of action.
But it is the art of this series that intrigues me. For so few issues (23 in all), the title seemed to tap into every available talent. The interiors were penciled by John Buscema in the first issues, Jim Mooney in the most issues, and intermittently by Keith Pollard, Sal Buscema, Carmine Infantino, Dave Cockrum, and Mike Vosburg. I am sure that inconsistency may have played into Ms. Marvel’s lack of longevity, but at least it was top notch along the way.
The cover art for the series was phenomenal and had an even broader list of creators I counted nine different cover artists for the book (in alphabetical order): John Buscema, Sal Buscema, Dave Cockrum, Ed Hannigan, Al Milgrom, John Romita, John Romita Jr., Jim Starlin, and Ron Wilson. In my opinion this book had some of the best action covers of that era. The design benefitted from the flaming logo, the action oriented corner box, costume designs, colors, and of course that headliner talent.
So here is the question I have for all of you: If you had a dollar (and only one dollar) and walked into my alternate world corner store where the spinner rack had only nine issues of Ms. Marvel (the nine issues listed below), which would you purchase and why? And please note that some comics have 30 cent price points while others are at 35 cents; you can buy three but possibly not all three of your favorites.
So one hero, one title, nine covers, nine creators, and one dollar…
Ms. Marvel #1 John Romita cover
Ms. Marvel #3 Al Milgrom cover
Ms. Marvel #5 Ed Hannigan cover
Ms. Marvel #8 Ron Wilson cover
Ms. Marvel #10 Sal Buscema cover
Ms. Marvel #12 Jim Starlin cover
Ms. Marvel #13 John Romita Jr. cover
Ms. Marvel #15 John Buscema cover
Ms. Marvel #16 Dave Cockrum cover