Well, that just might be the longest title to a Fabulous Find or a RETRO REVIEW in the history of my posts. But since this post will appear just a day before Christmas Eve and two days prior to Christmas Day, it seems appropriate to share a Holiday themed find. So here ya go … The 1974 Marvel Treasury Special, Giant Superhero Holiday Grab-Bag. it is not numbered, but it is the first of three Holiday themed Treasury Specials from Marvel Comics. This first one appeared before Christmas in 1974 and the second and third Holiday themed Treasury Specials appeared again, right before Christmas in 1975 and 1976.
Here is the front cover to the very first Holiday themed Marvel Treasury Special. And special it is. It weighs in at one hundred (100) pages and measures a great big; 10 & 1/4 inches by 13 7 3/4 inches.
It is not obviously clear who did the cover, but if you look closely, you can tell the pencils and inks were both done by “Big” John Buscema, but then “Jazzy” John Romita Sr. did alterations to the faces of a couple of the heroes. John did both the pencils and inks on these changes. But never the less, it’s a spiffy cover!
The book itself includes five (5) reprinted stories, with actually only two (2) of them really having to do with Christmas and the Holidays. The first story, that does take place at Christmas time, reprinted is; “Have Yourself A Sandman Little Christmas”. It was written by “Rascally” Roy Thomas and the story was pencilled by Ross Andru, with inks by Mike Esposito. This story was reprinted from Marvel Team-Up # 1, originally dated 1972. So just a short two years prior to this special Holiday edition.
Next up is; “In Mortal Combat With …Sub-Mariner”, written by Stan “The Man” Lee with both pencils and inks by the great Wally Wood! This story is reprinted from Daredevil # 7, originally published in 1965. It doesn’t really have anything to do with Christmas or the Holidays.
Following that great tale is; “And To All A Good Night”, featuring The Black Widow, reprinted from Amazing Adventures # 5, originally appearing in 1971. This is the second and final story in this Treasury sized book that takes place around Christmas time. The story is written by Roy Thomas and the art is provided by Gene Colan (pencils) and Bill Everett (inks).
The final two (2) stories are reprinted from The Fantastic Four #s 25 & 26 from 1964. The first story is entitled; “The Hulk VS. The Thing” and it is written by Stan Lee, pencilled by Jack “King” Kirby, with the inking done by George Roussos. And the second story is entitled; “The Avengers Take Over” which is by the exact same creative team as issue # 25.
All the reprinted stories are worthwhile and the whole package, with the over-size art really, really nice! Though it sold for $1.50 back in 1974, so it wasn’t cheap to young comic book buyers.
What I find rather strange is that three (3) of the five (5) stories were also included in the 1978 Fireside book; Marvel’s Greatest Superhero Battles, just four years later. In fact they, In Mortal Combat, Hulk VS Thing and The Avengers Take Over are the first stories reprinted in that volume. Now that book does reprint nine (9) additional stories, but it seems odd that these three stories appeared in both places within such a short time. Did some one get lazy, I wonder?
Oh, and before I go, here is the back cover to the 1974 Marvel Treasury Special, Giant Holiday Grab-Bag:
I’m pretty sure that the back cover is all John Buscema! But please correct me if I’m wrong.
And that’s a wrap for this week’s Fabulous Find. Please come back next week for the final 2016 RETRO REVIEW. And I hope all my family, friends and followers have a wonderful Christmas time or what ever other Holiday you celebrate. Lift a drink of your choice and I wish you all the best … be seeing you!
Great job, Greg! That book holds one of my most vivid comic-book memories. That was the year I began collecting comics on a regular basis (meaning whenever I could find the next issue at my local drug store as it was another year or so until I discovered Classic Movie & Comic Center. in Farmington.)
Still remember getting it and opening up that giant cover. Compared to my kid hands, it was massive! The characters just came alive for me. And that back cover was both hilarious and wild to me! (The gag had been used before of course but it was a first for my young peeps.)
I picked up the next two of course, but nothing compares to your first.
Thanks for rekindling a great, great memory.
Thanks for the kind words, Mike. It’s always great to hear from a former local. I know that Classic Movie & Comic Center was the first “comic book shop” I ever shopped at. Do you also remember Jerry’s Used Book Store across the back parking lot from it? I think I bought quite a number of the Jack Kirby 4th World series at that bookstore for maybe 75 cents or a dollar each tops. Cheaper that at Classic anyway. That’s where I fist met Andy, as well.