Saturday, December 8, 2012

It's a Half-Birthday for Giant-Size June

Doug:  So I'm in my comic room a couple of days ago, gathering material for an upcoming post, when I spy Thor Annual #5 still sitting atop some longboxes.  Lest you think I'm an unorganized procrastinator in terms of storing my collection...  ah, who am I kidding?  Yes, I really need to spend some time putting things back in order.  Anyway, I am pretty positive that when Karen and I reviewed that book earlier, I stated my unabashed love for it.  I really think it is my favorite story among the Giant-Size and Annual genre that was so unequivocally awesome in the Bronze Age.

Doug:  Today we're asking you to trip through your memory banks and put your finger on that singular big book that is your favorite among favorites.  And for the heck of it, how about a runner-up choice?  For me, I think my second book, and I truly have read this one many, many times, is Giant-Size Avengers #3.  It's smack in the middle of my favorite Avengers arc, the "Celestial Madonna" epic.  I loved the scenes when the team was in limbo, held captive by Immortus as part of Kang's machinations.  Guesting the Frankenstein Monster, the original Human Torch, the original Baron Zemo, and with art by Dave Cockrum -- well, you should get the picture.  Love it...

Doug:  So let us have it -- make some recommendations, shout praises to the sky, and all that.  Thanks in advance!


david_b said...

My favs tend to lean towards a fateful day back in early 1973.. Yes, there I was standing in a drugstore, with only 40c to my name.

There sitting before me were King Size Specials for both FF (ish 10, reprinting Reed/Sue's wedding), and Spiderman (ish 9, reprinting the famous Goblin fight).

I felt this insurmountable pressure. Which to buy..?? My 9yr old body trembled, but finally purchased Spidey's special. Eventually I ended up getting both years later, and they're both among my cherished collection, but I'll never forget that day..

Edo Bosnar said...

Hmmm, this is kind of similar to that Open Forum post I started a while back about favorite annuals, specials, etc. Not that I mind, I love this topic!
Anyway, if annuals count, I still have to say that X-men Annual #3 is my favorite "big" book. However, throwing the net back a little farther, closer to the beginnings of my comics-reading career back in the 'high' Bronze Age (i.e, 1976/77), there's a few I remember really enjoying: Super-Team Family #4, which reprinted an old JSA in which they fight Solomon Grundy, and a World's Finest story from the 1950s. It was my first exposure to the Golden Age. Also, a few issues of DC Super Stars: #2, featuring Adam Strange and Hawkman and other space heroes, #5, with Golden and Silver Age flash stories, and #7, reprinting some Aquaman stories from the 1960s (with a great cover by Jim Aparo).
On the Marvel side, three Treasury Editions come to mind: Captain America's Bicentennial Battles, the Holiday Grab-bag from 1976 (featuring the super-hero snowball fight) and the Fantastic Four edition that reprints that John Buscema-penciled Galactus story you guys reviewed a while back. Man, it's really hard to pick just one here...

Redartz said...

Doug- I share a love for the Avengers/Kang/Celestial Madonna storyline. However, my favorite giant would be Giant-Size Avengers 2. Primarily because Cockrum inked his own pencils in that book, whereas Joe Giella inked #3. Of course, #2 has that great cover with Kang and Rama-Tut looming over the team. Plus, there was the dramatic death of the Swordsman at the story's climax. Add the reprint of Rama-Tut's debut from Fantastic Four #19, and you have a great package.

For second choice, I go to the later Bronze age, 1981, for Spider-Man Annual 15. Although I didn't much care for Denny O'neil's run on the regular title, I loved this story. Doc Ock, the Punisher, and the Web-Slinger; illustrated by Miller and Janson. A solid story with some humorous touches, culminating in the Daily Bugle's final headline choice. Finally, this Annual featured several special features as back-ups; always a welcome part of a special edition.

Doug said...

Edo, my apologies -- sincerely. I couldn't find the post you refer to; I did see in our archives, however, that we had a discussion of DC 100-Page Super Spectaculars, et al. just about five weeks ago. Ahhhh... publishing over 1000 posts does tend to make oatmeal of the memory. Again, my apologies.

See why Karen and I need a vacation in January? :)

But thanks to you, and everyone who's in already today, for the comments. I do love to read everyone's thoughts each day. And hey -- my wife would love that snow you have going, that you commented on back in Thursday's post!!!


Dougie said...

If I'm restricted to two, they've both got to be DC since we didn't get Marvel annuals or Giant-Size issues at all during the Bronze Age. I had to send for those mail order years later.

My spinner rack picks are
Runner-up: the Wrath of Devil-Fish from SLSH 202. Cockrum art, LSH profiles and a slightly campy 2-part Stalag of Space saga.

The Winner: The Man Who Murdered Santa Claus from JLA 110. John Stewart, Red Tornado and Phantom Stranger in a festive thriller. Plus a timeless human interest JSA story about kid gangs.

I was really torn about Avengers Annual 10 with the debut of Rogue and JLA Detroit in 1984!

(Still getting those minute, unfocused Captcha numerals, for the love of Mitra!)

William Preston said...

Of annuals, king-sized issues and giant-sized issues:

Avengers Annual #7--Starlin's Thanos tale
Hulk Annual #1 (Inhumans! Amazing cover!) and #5 (bought off the spinner rack; one endless fight!)

And I loved the DC 100-pagers with all the Golden Age stories as addenda. Most re-read story was the big issue with the Atom reanimating brain-dead Batman.

Edo Bosnar said...

Doug, I had to do some digging myself, but here it is (from May 2011): (hope that link works).
Anyway, why apologize? It's a great discussion topic.
By the way, are you talking about the comment I just posted today? Then your wife must be a glutton for punishment. Just digging out the preliminary paths around our house and front drive today (and shaking the snow off of our pine tree branches and hedge row) exhausted me. And tomorrow the full excavation awaits me. Oh, joy. Arizona or Trinidad & Tobago are sounding really nice right now...
And Dougie, those small, blurry Captcha numerals are pain, aren't they?

Doug said...

Edo --

I didn't say she ever did anything with the snow. She just loves to look at it! No, no -- I'm the guy, like David_b, with the sore back at the end of the day!

Back on task (thanks for everyone's patience): I loved Giant-Size Avengers #5, which reprints King-Size Annual #1. I thought it was so cool to read the reprints at the same time I was reading about a different Avengers team in the then-current series. This was of course before I became a "reprint snob" and began to eschew such books as Marvel's Greatest Comics.

In regard to the Legion double-size books, as well as many other DCs that were published during that period. We gained, while I'm sure the creators hated that initiative!


Edo Bosnar said...

Oh, man, tell me about sore backs. My back and shoulders are already a bit sore, and like I said, there's more to come tomorrow.
And back on subject: yes, I also liked those reprints in the giant books (and Treasury Editions for that matter), as well as the monthly reprint series. Reading Silver Age reprints was such a big part of being a young comic reader in the Bronze Age (another topic that's been covered here before, but always nice to come back to). I remember two of the first Marvel Giant-sizes I read (borrowed from a friend) were an FF one that reprinted the birth of Franklin story, and GS Iron Man (with that cool Gil Kane cover).

Anonymous said...

There were a few Annuals that I liked back in the day, but the first one that comes to mind is Amazing Spider-Man Annual #18 (from 1984), where J. Jonah Jameson and Marla Madison got married...despite some interference by the Scorpion! Great Spidey/Scorpy battle, Jonah's son John got some exposure, and it was written by Stan the Man himself! (over DeFalco's plot, natch.)

Second choice...hmmm, maybe Tales of the Teen Titans Annual #3 (also from 1984), which featured the final chapter of the "Judas Contract" storyline, including the death of Terra.

Mike W.

Humanbelly said...

Man, I have been SO busy this week-- and there've been so many fun things to chime in on. . .

But, real quick, I'd like to do a shout-out for G.S. Defenders #3-- one of those "Contest of Champions" deals w/ the Grandmaster and. . . someone else (Prime Mover?). The art is fun, the battles are great (and somewhat disturbing, in fact), and it's just a great read. It's ALSO the first appearance of Korvac. . . pre-Michael. . . as a sort of brilliant computer/human cyborg guy. The Hulk's battle is also priceless.

The Defenders Giant-Sized books (5 of them) were an uneven lot, but they each had some strong points. The 4th one had a Heck/Colletta team on art. . . which even in '74 looked about 10 years out of date-- but it was certainly a better effort than we'd seen from them in at least a few years.


vancouver mark said...

Off the top of my head, and in no particular order....
I was blown away at fourteen by Giant-Size FF #2, not because of the new story which was average at best, but by the reprint of FF #13, the first appearance of the Red Ghost and the Watcher. It seemed so impossibly old, so primitive, and yet so vital and somehow fresh. It was that particular reprint that led me into a seventeen-year obsession that wasn't resolved until I finally had my very own copies of every FF issue.

Giant-Size Man-Thing #4 was probably my favorite of all the GS titles, both for the deeply moving (to this awkward, chubby 14-year-old, at least) "Kid's Night Out" feature and the astounding back-up "Frog Death"(the first Howard the Duck story). Have you guys ever reviewed this issue? If not, you really should.
Other good GS issues included the two Englehart Avengers issues others have mentioned, FF #3 with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and, oh yeah, Giant-Sized X-Men #1 was pretty special. GS X-Men #2 was also great, a reprint book that featured the incredible Sentinels story from Thomas and Adams.

Michelle said...

I'm going to go with Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2 (conclusion to the story that started in Avengers Annual #7 that William mentioned above - another incredible book).

I hate to be so unimaginative, but my runner-up is MTIO Annual #7 where the Thing (and others) boxes a few rounds against the Champion. Just a great testament to the character of Ben.

The double issue of FF #250 is one of my favorites, too. Gosh, there are many others I love. Worth mentioning is the historical importance of Giant Size X-Men #1.

Fantastic Four Fan 4ever said...

I remember these comics. I have the Celestial Madona Saga in paperback. The Thor title I thought was reprint of some 60's issues. I remember them well because of the Kirby cover on the annual. I wish comics were fun like this and it's an era we'll never get to see again. Those annuals marked my golden age of comics. Even though they are considered "Bronze Age", they still represent a time in my life that was a good one. I only wish Kirby got the chance to work on one or two stories from those characters. I can understand his bitterness becuause they were all taken away from him and handed to other writers and artists without his output or creative control.

Rip Jagger said...

My favorite Giant-Size issue of Marvel's run of these is Giant-Size Avengers #2, the issue largely drawn by Dave Cockrum. It's the one in which we really begin to grasp the sprawl of the Celestial Madonna saga. The splash of Hawkeye is likely my favorite single image of him.

My favorite annual is King-Size Avengers #1, the issue drawn by Dashing Don Heck and written by Roy "The Boy" Thomas has it all, the full cadre of Avengers and a kick ass threat with the Mandarin and his Minions. This comic was among my very first, and despite nostalgic glow, in the hard light of today remains one of the best one-off stories front-to-back that Marvel ever told.

Rip Off

Matthew Bradley said...

I share Rip's great affection for AVENGERS SPECIAL #1 (as I believe it was technically titled). But if we're speaking strictly of the Bronze Age, I think 1976-77 was the peak for annuals. If nothing else, my personal favorites, the Jim Starlin AVENGERS/MTIO one-two punch, came during that period.

It's worth noting that I believe those were the first two years since 1968 in which Marvel published any annuals that were not reprints, and even those had pretty much vanished during the brief heyday of the Giant-Sized books (1974-75). They also featured a number of one-year-only titles: DEFENDERS, DR. STRANGE, MASTER OF KUNG FU, and POWER MAN in 1976, and THE ETERNALS, HOWARD THE DUCK, and THE INVADERS in '77.

The close proximity of the just-cancelled Giant-Size titles and the resurgent annuals strikes me as significant, because I think that first wave of annuals was more likely to tie in with the monthly books--as the Giant-Size titles often did--than in later years. In fact, if you take the Starlin twofer as one choice, my runner-up is AVENGERS ANNUAL #6, which tied in with one of my very favorite runs of the Assemblers.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy, where to begin?

Hi William – yup, Avengers #7, to which Michelle adds MTIO #2.

Vancouver Mark pics up GS Xmen #1, which I’m sure we all agree is kind of overrated as a story, but the impact of that single comic would be hard to overstate.
Mark – thanks for also picking up GS #2 which not only reprints the superb T/A/P Sentinels arc ( minus a few pages, unfortunately), but has a really great Gil Kane cover.

But surely to maintain our joint credibility we need:

Avengers Annual #10 – first Rogue, beautifully detailed Mike Golden art, and Claremont’s ‘oh-no-you-didn’t’ Ms.Marvel retcon, which almost digs #200 out of its hole. Or do I just wish it did? I always thought that Claremont invented the whole Rogue arc to bring Ms. Marvel back, and only learned years later that that whole story was supposed to take place in Ms. Marvel’s comic, but it got cancelled.

Avengers #93. If I need to say anything, you’re probably on the wrong website.

Avengers Annual #8 the Doc Spectrum one with wonderful Perez art.

Xmen # 4 – Nightcrawler’s Inferno. Probably not everyone’s cup of ectoplasm, but it really pushed the envelope.

Hulk Annual 7 – Byrne, Angel, Iceman, Master Mold.

I remember really enjoying that FF /Avengers crossover where they fight the skrulls. It’s Byrne and the annuals each reach a point where they come face-to-face.

Xmen Annual #5 the one with the FF that’s just a massive punch up with the Badoon

Spidey Annual #14 – Miller, Doc Strange, Doc Doom, Dormammu.

Xmen annual #9 – the Asgardian wars, with Art Adams art.

Of all the Treasuries, I remember the Thor ones most fondly. Not only did the epic tales suit the big format, but also they chose two nicely complete tales to reprint.


Related Posts with Thumbnails