Monday, December 15, 2014

Arc of Triumph? Marvel Fanfare 1-4

Doug: Now I know we've never discussed Marvel Fanfare around here, because when I set up the post's labels it didn't come up as an auto-fill. I have this series in a trade paperback called X-Men: The Savage Land. It may actually be the first tpb I ever purchased. I read it way back when I was in college, but to be honest have little memory of the story beyond the incredible art by Michael Golden, Dave Cockrum, and Paul Smith. Does this ring a bell with any of our readers?


Edo Bosnar said...

Oh, hell yeah this rings a bell. Even though I had already discovered comic book shops about 2 years before this series was launched, I only found out about it with issue #3, and then scrambled to get the first two issues (which I did find, and I don't think I paid much more than cover price for them at the time).
As a total X-fanboy at the time, and also a big Ka-zar fan, these issues were the height of awesome for me - engrossing story, beautiful art, and those cool back-ups. I remained a pretty regular reader of Marvel Fanfare for the first dozen or so issues - although to be honest, for me nothing topped the magic of those first four issues.

By the way, the complete first 7 issues of Marvel Fanfare are reprinted in a tpb, called "Strange Tales." It's well worth picking up.

William said...

I pretty much had the same experience as Edo, but I was on board Marvel Fanfare from the first issue. And I agree the first 4 issues were the height of the series. I loved those 4 books, and while Fanfare continued to offer some decent stories over the years, it never quite achieved that level of quality again.

I don't own them any longer, but I will definitely try to track down a copy of the TPB. Thanks for the info.

William Preston said...

Well after my time . . .

dbutler16 said...

I picked these up from #1, most likely because of the X-Men connection, but I'm sure the beautiful covers had more than a little to do with it.
Like William, I thought the first 4 issues with the X-Men story was the highlight, though there were occasionally some other good stories, such as the Macchio/Perez Black Widow story, the Jim Starlin Dr. Strange Story, and the Hulk vs. Unus & the Blob story. There were some lousy issue in there, too, though.

Garett said...

I'd like to find that tpb. I was very excited when this series came out. Liked the art by Golden, and the new glossy paper made it look even better. There was also that later run with Perez drawing Black Widow, and a single issue with Byrne drawing the Hulk in all splash pages.

pfgavigan said...


I looked really hard for those books when they came out, but it was a time of spotty comic book distribution where I was living and I only got my first look at Marvel Fanfare some time later.

I recall somebody stating once that after Marvel straightened out its production schedule and started getting its books out on time that it was stuck with a backlog of inventory stories that were used whenever the creative team missed the deadline and the printers were screaming for the book. Marvel Fanfare was, according to the story, developed as a means to utilize some of this material.

Can anybody confirm or refute this legend?


Doug said...

PFG -- That sounds right to me. I don't know if that was true throughout the magazine's run, but at least for the first several issues I believe what you say is true.


J.A. Morris said...

I agree that it's the high point of Marvel Fanfare. Sauron was my one of my favorite villains, even if his origin (bitten by a radioactive pteranodon?) is a bit silly.
Golden's art is great, the art of Paul Smith and Cockrum wasn't bad either in the next two issues.
Since I'm a Bronze Age reprint junkie:
This arc has been reprinted twice. Most recently in a tpb called Marvel Fanfare:

And another called X-men:In The Savage Land:

Both can found for less than $10 all over the internet

Crowdaddy said...

Bought these when they were new. Mainly for the Golden art and the X-men. Plus I totally bought the hype, but as others have said, the first four issues really delivered, although I would have preferred Golden staying on the art. Yeah, the book kinda fizzled later. But, man, that first issue is beautiful!

pfgavigan said...


I hope I didn't give the impression that I was disdainful of Marvel Fanfare, its editor Al Milgrom or inventory stories in general. One of my favorite stories was printed in this title, a Spiderman / Scarlett Witch endeavor with art by (I believe) Sandy Pluckett and P. Craig Russell.

I only ever had two problems with inventory stories. One was when they interrupted the flow of a multi part story. The second was when they were BETTER than the multi part story.


Anonymous said...

Great Michael Golden artwork in the first two Fanfares, but I recall being a bit disappointed by the story, which was the kind of thing you'd find in an average issue of Marvel Team Up. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it wasn't exactly new or different either, in the way promised by the (then) new, more expensive format.

I really lost interest with issue 3 - why pay extra for a below average Claremont/Cockrum X-Men story when there were better ones in the regular monthly title? Or, save the money from both, and get a copy of God Loves, Man Kills instead, which came out around the same time (didn't it?) and seemed much more in keeping with the idea of trying out new creative approaches to the characters.


Humanbelly said...

The Hulk story mentioned above was definitely a leftover story looking for a home. Byrne had mentioned in an interview somewhere shortly after he jumped off of the Hulk title that he'd done that "all-splashes" book, and that now he didn't know if it would ever see the light of day. Then several months later, there it pops up in Marvel Fanfare. Personally, it didn't do much for me as a story at all-- no linear visual story-telling at all. Just illustrations with accompanying text. Byrne's whole idea was that the Hulk was so big and huge and powerful that his presence usurped the entirety of every page, or something.

One of my favorite stories, though, was a Volstagg tale that popped up a little later on. Charming, delightful, endearing, and hilarious.


Anonymous said...

Bitten by a radioactive pteradon? Hmm that's about as ridiculous as being bitten by a radioactive spider ....! Wonder where that unfortunate spider-bitten fellow is now! :)

- Mike 'radioactive chicken' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Humanbelly said...

Hmmm-- remember my old pig-attack story?

Do you. . . do you think that. . . ?


J.J. said...

It rings a huge bell. I bought the second issue off the stands at a comics shop called Benders in Phoebus, VA. That Michael Golden cover knocked me for a loop and the opening splash page was astounding. The second issue remains one of my favorite comics of the entire Bronze Age. The whole story - all four issues - hit home for me. I was an X-Men nut at the time and such a fan of Dave Cockrum. And this newcomer by the name of Paul Smith really opened my eyes. Little did I know he would go on to have an unforgettable run on the main book. All in all, however, the thrill was in the Golden art of the first two issues. Just amazing. His work there, and with Claremont again on Avengers Annual #10, are still high points of the Bronze era for me.

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