Marvel's mystery magazines

marvel Super Special Marvel's mystery magazines
Ted McKeever drawing Wolverine, Tomm Coker on Master of Kung Fu, Dr. Strange by Kieron Gillen and Frazier Irving? All in glorious black and white. Sign us up!

While this sounds like some cool, beatnik Marvel anthology comic, Don McPherson explains it is really a little-noted or promoted Marvel project: two black and white comics magazines that were released last year to no fanfare, Marvel Super Special and Marvel Super Action. McPherson guesses that this is some kind of Disney-inspired inventory cleaning:

The recent announcement that Marvel will publish 15 Love — a tennis-themed soap opera of a comic that’s been sitting in a drawer at Marvel Comics for almost a decade — makes me wonder if these new black-and-white Marvel magazines are meant as a way to clear out the stores of unpublished material that’s been accumulating in its offices over the years. Some have speculated that Disney’s recent acquisition of the comics publisher is directly connected to older, forgotten, unpublished material seeing the light of day once again. Some of the material in these mags is clearly more recent in their creation; the incarnation of Ares that’s featured is the same one that was a member of the Avengers in the last few years, for example. But other stories are clearly using older character designs or concepts; the Bob Layton-era Iron Man is definitely depicted in Howard Chaykin’s story in Marvel Super Special, for example, and the 1970s/’80s Iron Man design is on the cover.


Also noteworthy: Both titles are remnants of Marvel’s long ago magazine programs, back in the ’80s when there were newsstands, so maybe it’s a trademark thing.

Comments

  1. Steve Flack says:

    All of these stories were originally published in character specific black&white anthology one shots (not in magazine format).

  2. KentL says:

    Mr. Flack is right, and they were pretty darn good. Marvel has been doing magazine format comics for a while, too, for bookstores. They had a deal where they packaged the Marvel Adventures books in a larger magazine-style format (color, not b&w) for Target. Don’t think they did too well, though. They seemed kinda random.

    I saw similar books to what Don is referring to (possibly the same ones) at my local Books-a-Million last time I looked (last fall, I think). Pretty cool. Each was $8-10 a pop. Some were b&w, some were color.

  3. Glenn Simpson says:

    I think that trademark thing drives more publishing decisions than we know of. Why else would we suddenly need unrelated Shazam! and Steel one-shots?

  4. Honestly, the magazine versions of the black and white stuff were a shitty value. But the one-shots were a decent price. I bought the Iron Man one-shot, but it ended up being a misprint. My store tried to score a replacement copy, but Marvel didn’t have enough inventory to ship one. I ended up buying the magazine version with Iron Man on the cover and I was disappointed to find that it didn’t include all of the tales from the original IM one-shot… in fact, it was shockingly low in content for being $9.99. I expected Marvel to print a single collected TPB version of all four one-shots (it was four, right? or maybe it was more… I remember Iron Man, Ares, Shang-Chi, and Dr. Strange… maybe Wolverine, too). Anyway, they did the dumb overpriced magazines but never did a TPB, as far as I know.

  5. Oh, and the Marvel Adventures books they did for Target were incredible!!! Four issues for $4.99. The early ones were random (like Kent said), but the later ones collected stuff in a more consecutive manner. If anyone read the Adv Iron Man and Adv Hulk books when they were coming out, then they already know how incredible those comics were. Imagine getting four issues of them for less than half-price in an over-sized, high quality format? THOSE BOOKS ROCKED!

  6. joe.distort says:

    i grabbed all of these on the cheap and they were mostly fantastic! some of the prose/sidebar illustration shorts read kinda slow, but all the ‘actual’ comics were good, weird fun.

  7. Justin Fairfax says:

    Although these b&w magazine may not be part of a general “housecleaning” of Marvel inventory, there ARE a series of one-shots Marvel is currently releasing under the subtitle “From the Marvel Vault…” The most recent one being the DR. STRANGE one-shot by Roger Stern and Neil Vokes that was originally produced back in the late ’80s!

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