Friday, January 30, 2015

BAB Firsts - FOOM Fridays: FOOM #1

This post was originally published on November 26 2010

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 l
ittle 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 announ
ced 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 biograph
ies 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.
Karen: The back of our first issue features coupons to cut out and send in to buy Marvel T-shirts ( I did) and the Spider-Man record album (ditto). So about 1/4 of my back cover (featuring a Steranko-drawn Spidey) is missing! But dang...those t-shirts were only $2.50 a pop! Man, do I miss the seventies.


Anonymous said...

Never read FOOM. Is it available in reprints anywhere?

david_b said...

I don't know if anyone's scanned them anywhere on the 'net. I know I was VERY disappointed in the 'Marvel Vault' book I picked up last year. It EASILY could have included a free CD where you can have Bullpen interviews, candid photos, vintage Merry Marvel Marching Society sound files, and scans of FOOM articles.

As for FOOM, I cut out my order form from FF #139 (just read it again the other night..), and loved the items. My first ish was #3, but the poster is still spectacular. I'm contacting Marvel Entertainment this next year to get permission to have a 12x17" copy made for personal use to frame at home.

Yep, FOOM was the best magazine for more Bullpen hipness back in the day. The interview with Jarvis was pretty well done.

J.A. Morris said...

Thanks for posting this,Foom was a little before my time,so I know of it but haven't read anything other than a few scans posted onto old Geocities Marvel fan sites.

I'm sorry that Christmas special never got produced. Speaking of which,my wife and I have blog where we review Holiday related films,specials,tv episodes,stuff like that. We just restarted it after leaving it dormant for a couple years:
We've got a few comic book themed shows('Batman' and 'Spectacular Spider-man had Christmas shows)that we'll be reviewing in the next couple weeks.

Kid said...

I've got every issue, plus the poster, membership card and all the goodies that came with #1. Apart from some articles in the first few issues, the mag is a bit of a disappointment when I look at it now. I think it suffered from Steranko's departure as editor after a very short while.

Karen said...

Eric: As far as I know, FOOM was never reprinted.

David: I liked the Marvel Vault, but wished there had been some FOOM stuff included. There was a whole bunch of MMMS stuff recreated for the Vault. But no FOOM goodies were included. I would have liked to have seen a mini-recreation of the FOOM poster, or the membership card. I haven't seen any of the other Vault editions that have come out.


david_b said...

Karen: I agree, there was a good representation for MMMS in the Vault, but there could have been MUCH more coolness if perhaps a CD was included for sound files (the marching 45, etc..), that's all.

AND yes, the '70s was under-represented, which I personally think would of been of primary interest for boomers.

Still, it was a fun buy for $10 or whatever I paid for it..

Wil said...

FOOM came to England in '75 if I remember right but for some reason (I'm sure I could have persuaded Mum and Dad to pop for it) I never signed up even though I was Marvel nuts in those 11-year old me days. I managed to get a complete UK '75 pack (the membership card hadn't been even signed) with Hulk envelope a few years back and, boy, it took me right back.

Edo Bosnar said...

Karen, don't feel too bad about coloring or writing on your comics, etc. When I was just discovering the magic of comics, i.e., in 1st and 2nd grade, I used to draw in them and even *big gasp* cut out panels that I thought were really nice looking.
As for cutting out the coupons from the back cover, in those days before readily available photocopiers at the nearby post office or drugstore (to say nothing of scanners and printers), what else could you do?
And yes, I also miss the '70s in the sense you noted: it's kind of mind-boggling now to recall that price of the paperback editions of those hefty "Origins," "Son of Origins," etc. volumes was only $5.95/6.95.

Humanbelly said...

Boy, that Steranko poster (even used) sure fetches a hefty price on ebay these days! Who knew? Mine is hanging quietly, collecting dust on the Comic Room wall. . . I LOVE the poster as a beloved artifact, yes-- but I may be the only person in the world who doesn't think it's Steranko's best work, by a long shot. I've always thought it looked very, very rushed, and not well-inked. The 3/4 view of at least a few of the heads/faces maybe wanted a 2nd go-round of fixing. Yes? No? Am I just an old fuss-budget?

In the three minutes before getting HBGirl to the bus, I dashed down and checked the shelves and, yes--- issues 11,12,14,17,18,19 and 20. My buddy Bryan had joined a couple of years prior, 'cause I distinctly remember the Jarvis interview in issue, like, #6 or 7. Probably one of the cooler articles of the issues I was familiar with. And the issue I started with, #11, is the "JACK'S BACK" return-of-Kirby extravaganza. Cool thing I noticed w/ my brief glance: the cover depicting Kirby was done by a "Jack" Byrne & Joe Sinnott (!!). Hunh-- that's kinda cool, yes?


Doug said...

One of the great regrets of my life -- not joining FOOM. OK, well maybe not that serious...

Thank goodness I came to my senses a few years later and signed up for the KISS Army!!

Like Eric above in the first comment, I'd treasure a reprint of all things FOOM. I'd probably snap that up in a second.


Edo Bosnar said...

Yeah, a FOOM reprint (like an omnibus or something) would really be nice. And it doesn't even sound like such an outrageous thing to do, given all of the other stuff that has been or soon will be reprinted. Case in point, I just learned earlier today that Skull the Slayer is going to get the reprint treatment - the book's coming out this April. Now if Marvel can swing that, why not FOOM?

By the way, I found out about the Skull reprint from none other than our old pal, the Groovy Agent, who has an awesome milestone post up today. Everyone here should check it out!

david_b said...

First off, a very very sad day.

Terry Carter was apparently killed in a pointless hit-and-run accident..

I loved him in Galactica, but some will remember him in Columbo and other shows as well. Very distressing.

As for FOOM, luckily you can grab all the old issues on eBay. I should pick up a few more.

Karen, not sure if you were referring to 'Beyond the Grave' as one of the Spidey albums you didn't like, but I thought it was awesome back in the day, especially for the yummy huge glossy Romita art and that poster. The story itself was still good, and the now-dated songs still bring a warm chuckle to my heart.

Humanbelly said...

Really?? Skull the Slayer??? So, like, it doesn't even matter that the whole (very, VERY brief) series was a meandering, directionless mess??? While the artwork was generally pretty good, there is absolutely nothing that could elevate it to the status of Overlooked, Forgotten Gem-- geesh. And I was pretty much the prime target audience at the time (ya gotcher Bermuda Triangle, yer dinosaur-fighting, yer time travel/dimension-hopping, yer tough-guy hero, yer mostly-naked gal companion, yer teenage kid who the gal rather inappropriately flirts with, yer sword & yer sorcery, etc, etc-- all of it creating an anti-gestalt. . . )

I'm going to go out on another limb and speculate that there probably wouldn't be too big a market for FOOM reprints, really-- cool as that'd be. Beyond the general nostalgia attraction, the articles and hype would still fall more in the realm of old issues of Marvel Age, where it is literally yesteryear's news. But-- I should reserve full judgment until I've had a chance to look a couple of issues over. . .yep.


Doug said...

HB, the trade that reprints all of Stan's Soapboxes would certainly fall into the category of nostalgia that you mention. However, I really enjoyed reading each one of them. Sure, they lose a little context outside of the issue in which they originally saw print, and also minus the then-accompanying Bullpen Bulletins, but still.

Sign me up if they ever do a reprint. That (to me at least) would be a chapter from my childhood not read!


david_b said...

Re: My initial post.

Lo and Behold, Galactica's Terry Carter IS alive and well. Just a mis-reporting by the media.

Prayers to the families that are now in mourning due of that low-life.

Redartz said...

Loved FOOM back in the day! I joined up shortly after getting bit by the comic bug, in time to recieve issue 4. I still have the membership card, but somehow lost the poster and all the magazines. The membership kit arrived within a month of the arrival of the three bronze Marvel coins I'd also ordered. Karen, you were quite right at the top of this post ; the 70's were a great time to be a Marvelite...

Robert L. True Believer of 70's Marvel Comics said...

I remember this! Back in 1973 I ordered the whole F.O.O.M. package. I got an envelope with the Hulk's picture on it, the poster by Steranko, the F.O.O.M. membership card and that first titanic issue with smilin' Stan Lee with a beard on the cover. I'll never forgot those days because I felt like I was part of an exclusive club that in no way resembles the Marvel of today!

Now it's all corporate and no where as near as friendly as before. I'll miss those early days when they truly were the house of ideas and you couldn't wait to turn the page to see what's next.

Robert L Marvel True Believer said...

It was during this period I ordered the long awaited Origins of Marvel Comics and all it's sequels ..that and the 1975 spiral bound Marvel Comics Calender. That was back in 1974. I was ten years old then. The young lady clerk at the book store was preaching to me how comics were no good and I should be reading "real" books. I got the whole comics are terrible vibe from all the managers and clerks at the book store.

I just didn't get it how my teachers thought Marvel and DC were going to rot my young mind. I just didn't understand how my teachers in the primary grades thought that comics of the Marvel and DC brand were so evil.

It was only public school and the teachers just didn't get my admiration for comic books.

If it wasn't for comic books I would have never read as early as I did at age three.

Redartz said...
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