The Mighty Marvel Calendars
My mom was so good to me on Christmas when I was little. We didn't have an abundance of money back in those days, but each year something WAY cool would show up. One year it was Son of Origins of Marvel Comics, other years it would be a Mego or two. But in 1975 she started an annual tradition of giving me the Marvel calendar for the coming year. If you never saw any of these, they were really neat. Each month had original artwork by top artists of that time. In many cases, the artists most associated with a given character at the time (ie Herb Trimpe and the Hulk) had been commissioned to depict said character in some type of theme-based scene. I've included a few details, the first from the 1976 Bicentennial calendar, and the second from the 1977 Memory Album.
In addition, each month was chock full of Bullpen birthdays, first appearances, and just general Marvel gags. It was really cool as a youngster to finally see the faces of many of the writers and artists I'd come to admire. I can't say that in some cases I wasn't surprised... kind of like the first time you saw your favorite DJ!
I'm not sure why I didn't get the 1978 calendar, and I'd also add that I liked the '76 and '77 calendars, which encompassed all of Marvel, better than the singularly-focused Hulk and Dr. Strange calendars.
Secret Wars action figures
I'd been out of comics collecting from the time I entered high school in 1980 until toward the end of my freshman year of college in 1985. But when I returned, it was with a vengeance! Not only did I attempt to gobble up all of the back issues I'd missed, but I discovered that there was quite a bit more merchandising that was taking place than I ever remembered. I'll admit to having missed the first Secret Wars maxi-series, so I really didn't have much of a clue concerning any backstory to the action figure line. But, I thought the sculpts were very cool, and the fact that there were figures available that had not formerly been in the Mego line (my action figure line) -- Magneto, Daredevil, Doc Ock, Kang, and Wolverine. I also was very intrigued by the black Spidey suit, as I'm not sure I'd seen those issues of Amazing Spider-Man yet.
I first ran across this series in a Ben Franklin "dime store" (you are old if you know what a dime store is!). Secret Wars figures were out about the same time as Kenner/DC's Super Powers line. I recall trying to dicker with one of the ladies who worked the lower level of the Ben Franklin store, where the toys were. Yeah, fish weren't bitin'...
If you notice in the background are some of the second series of Marvel Slurpee cups. Next time I'll give you a better view, and show also some of the first series cups that I own, as well as some glasses with the same artwork!