Sunday, 5 June 2011

Marvel Treasury Editions.

Conan the Barbarian Marvel Treasury Edition, Roy Thomas, Barry Smith, Red Nails and Rogues in the House
Incredible Hulk Marvel Treasury Edition
Avengers Marvel Treasury Edition, Jack Kirby cover
Superman vs the Amazing Spider-Man, Treasury Edition

Mars Bars might like to tell us that small size is fun size but we all know better. Fun size is giant size.

And they didn't come any gianterer than Marvel Treasury Editions, those magnificently impractical comics that reprinted classic Marvel tales at a scale that would've made Black Goliath feel small. I'm pretty sure that Bronze Age Babies, in the not too distant past, invited us to nominate our favourite Marvel Treasury Editions and, as there's no idea too firmly nailed down for me to steal, I'm going to do the same.

I only ever had four Marvel Treasury Editions. In fact I only had three but, as I'm a Marvellite rather than a DC fan, I always count Superman vs the Amazing Spider-Man as belonging to the House of Ideas. My least favourite of the four was The Hulk on the Rampage. While it had such classic tales as Jade Jaws having  to fight all his greatest foes in one afternoon, Doc Samson's debut and the Hulk teaming up with the Thing to fight Kurrgo and the Leader, it also had a not very inspired meeting of the Hulk and Hercules that could only be called crude even by early Hulk standards. Superman vs Spider-Man is reviewed here and The Mighty Avengers was packed with a raft of Avengers debuts; from the Panther, to the Vision, to Yellowjacket and even the Valkyrie.

But of all these books, my most loved had to be the single Conan Treasury Edition that I had, which featured Barry Smith and Roy Thomas' adaptations of Robert E Howard's Rogues in the House and Red Nails. With its epic length, Red Nails really was something special, as Conan and sword-swinging piratess Valeria teamed up to take on a house that could only be described as divided. Packed with detail, style, drama, atmosphere, gloomy corridors, monsters and occasional nudity, if ever there was a tale that seemed designed to be reproduced on a giant scale it was Red Nails.

But, while those are my thoughts on the matter, a blog is no blog without feedback. It's merely one of those awful static websites that belong in the dustbin of history. So, that in mind, which were your favourite Treasury Editions?

21 comments:

cerebus660 said...

Hi Steve! I'm with you on the Conan Treasury - it really is a beautiful piece of work. Not only do you get Red Nails ( my favourite Conan story and amazingly, seemingly unedited from the original Savage Tales version )but also the classic Thomas/Smith/S.Buscema adaptation of Rogues In The House, a map of the Hyborian Age, and a history of the Conan comic by Roy the Boy. All for 50p! Bargain! I can honestly say I re-read this issue more often than any other Treasury, and I've got a few of them...

Some other favourite Treasuries include Kirby's epic 2001: A Space Odyssey, a Doctor Strange issue ( featuring fantastic artwork by Colan, Brunner, Ditko, Severin etc. ), a Fantastic Four issue featuring the Galactus Trilogy, and the Howard The Duck Treasury which includes the Duck's origin and a brand-new ( at the time ) team-up with the Defenders. Phew! That's a lot of Titanic Treasuries!

Anonymous said...

Yep have to agree with the Conan Treasury Edition no 4 (if memory serves me correctly I think there were a couple of other Conan's in this format?) excellent book and nicely printed showed of some stunning BW Smith art (and a great stories as well of course)- I would second the Dr Strange Edition also (not a lot of folk seem to rate that but it was really good) -Although not a Marvel Treasury I would have to also vote for DCs Superman vs Muhammad Ali with Adams art wonderful stuff.

MCScotty

Steve said...

I'd totally forgotten about the Hyborian Age map but, now that I've been reminded about it, remember it with fondness. Sadly, I have no memory at all of Roy's history of Conan's comic.

I always wanted the FF Treasury with the Galactus Trilogy but I never caught sight of it in any shop I was ever in.

The Superman/Muhammad Ali comic always sounded a strange and baffling idea to me. No disrespect to Muhammad but I always assumed Supes would marmalise him. Tragically, there was never a trace of any of the DC equivalents to the Marvel Treasuries in my local shops.

Kid said...

Favourite? That's hard - I liked all the ones mentioned above, as well as the Thor one with Thor fighting Hercules. I can even remember buying the very first one - Spider-Man - in 1974. Still got quite a few of them.

Boston Bill said...

DR STRANGE!!!

The first Spider-Man Treasury was terrific, and it had 100 pages - something that not all of the Treasury Editions had. I also had the FF, but that was dominated by the Galactus Trilogy; great though it was, I preferred the hodge podg of different eras, artist and villains that you got with collections like the Hulk's (I disagree with you on that one, I even liked the Hercules battle). A 2nd Hulk collection containing some other fights was so-so (I recall the Blob). Better was the Spider-Man featuring the Sinister Six - It was dominated by Ditko and featured The Lizard's first appearance too (and the Molten Man's 2nd appearance, for good measure). I'll abstain on the others since I never got them (I would like to check out the Avengers & Conan now).
The best one for me was Dr Strange, which was probably one of the poorest selling ones (Poor Doc alway is!). It started with Ditko's swan song and ended with the Shuma Gorath climax and had everything in-between: the death of the Ancient one (first death that is), The Living Tribunal, and even the masked version of Doc! Alas, I got it as a 'cover-tear'. For those who don't know, companies would refund the dealer if they returned just the cover or the letterhead of the cover, saving them shipping costs. They were supposed to dispose of the rest of the magazine, but a lot of people would sell the damaged book for cheap. Dr Strange was missing the first few pages and the razor blade that took off the top of the cover removed the top 3rd of the first few pages as well - And that was the DITKO story! Still, I read and reread it countless times - I wish I had it now!

Steve said...

I am intrigued by the multiple votes for Dr Strange. I was always a Dr Strange fan. If I ever pluck up the courage to buy any old Treasury Editions off the internet, I may see about getting the Dr Strange ones (assuming there was more than one).

cerebus660 said...

I think there was only one Doc Strange Treasury: no. 6 from 1975. Between two cosmic covers by Frank Brunner you get reprints of Doc's adventures from Strange Tales 146 and 148, Doctor Strange 170 and 177, and Marvel Premiere 10 - the awesome "Finally, Shuma-Gorath!" Great stuff!

R. W. Watkins said...

I managed to get my hands on only two of the Marvel Treasury Editions: #10, reprinting Thor #s 154 through 157 (the Mangog and Ragnarok story arc from 1968); and #14, reprinting Amazing Spider-Man #s 100 through 102 (the 'extra arms' saga from '71) and a Spidey spoof from Not Brand Echh #6 (1967). Those two issues featured classic stories written by Lee and drawn by Kirby and Gil Kane.

I was around six or seven when I obtained these, and not yet firmly committed to the Marvel line of superheroes. These two Treasury Editions sealed my devotion. Bonus points for Gwen Stacy looking so good in knee-high boots and orange jumpers.

Steve said...

I have the Conan edition somewhere. I'm tempted to find out if it's worth anything, as I have done with numerous other comics I have buried, but I fear it won't be. Why can't I come across a first edition Batman that I forgot I had?

Thinking about it, those Treasury Editions were pretty good value.

http://moody-by-name.blogspot.com/

Steve Chung said...

My favorite Marvel Treasury Editions are the Avengers, Dr. Strange, and The Sensational Spider-Man (reprinting the six-armed Spider-Man Saga).

One that I'd like to track down is the Marvel Team-Up one.

Steve Chung

A Question Of ITIL said...

Great!
Btw, Gollancz is offering free download of Conan - Red Nails!

Conan Red Nails e-book free download Upcoming4.me

tharg said...

Read and re-read the Superman vs. Spidey many, many times when it first came out. I still hope to locate my own copy sometime!

This DC-Marvel thing seemed a bit strange for a Marvel fanboy at the time though. Apollo-Soyuz anyone? I did like the destruction of Lex's robots and the undersea lab though. In contrast, Doc Ock just whined and whined which seemed weird -he's usually pretty cool.

Detested how Spidey came off as the also-ran. Oh well, always has Ross Andru's pencils to gape over. Also remember that this was the comic that added the word 'tsunami' to my vocabulary.

There's something about these oversized comics. I've always loved Savage Sword of Conan for example. Seems larger than life - or maybe better value or something.

Anyway, I was reading this blog post a month ago and thought I *have* to have the Conan Treasury Edition. Arrived in the post recently, complete with that old comic smell.

Awesome is sometimes an overused word, not this time. I'm a huge REH fan and 'Red Nails' is an all-time favorite. Thanks for posting this Steve :-)

Steve W. said...

It's nice to know I've brought a little light into someone's life, Tharg. :)

20 cent aka Mike in Jersey said...

When I was a kid I coveted the Superman vs. Amazing Spider-Man one. I wound up buying some type of anniversary regular-size reprint that came out a while back. Sadly, I never owned a Treasury Edition. When I was a kid I was afraid to spend $1.50 on a comic. I would only splurge on the Giant-Size comics that cost 50 cents. If I attend a convention I would like to buy one finally. Wasn't there one on The Wizard of Oz? I wonder why DC did not print some besides the SM v ASM. The TE is an example of how print is superior to digital. (Read it on iPad Pro?)

Steve W. said...

Mike, there was indeed a Wizard of Oz one, which I believe was the first ever collaboration between Marvel and DC.

DC had their equivalent of the Treasury Editions, which were the Limited Collector's Editions. Sadly, unlike the Treasury Editions, they didn't seem to be available in Britain, as I never saw one. They did however, always look highly covetable.

Dean Willetts said...

I had several of those wonderful Treasury editions, but my absolute favourite was the Conan one. I was and still am a devout Jack Kirby worshipper, but a friend of mine had a copy of the Conan treasury so I swapped all my beloved Kirby comics just so I could get my sweaty little paws on it. I only slightly regret it now...

Steve W. said...

I think it was very much the Sgt Pepper of Treasury Editions.

Michael Phillips said...

Loved the Conan treasury!

Brendan said...

I managed to get a copy of the Conan treasury for £10.00 on Amazon a couple of years ago.
My original copy disappeared into the void many years ago, as did my Dracula Lives Special Edition (card-bound b&w job which the postman tragically mistook for a catalogue and - horrors - folded in half to push through the letterbox.).

The Conan is just as good as I remembered. Magical stuff.

Steve W. said...

Brendan, was the Dracula Lives Special Edition, the one in which he has to fight a giant heart that lives in a shed? If so, I had that one too.

Brendan said...

The very same. I would love to find another copy - gloriously un-creased - if only to right that ancient wrong, which clearly still gnaws at me.

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