Saturday, 24 November 2012

Stamping out that sort of thing.

Killraven Marvel Value Stamp #35
Black Panther Marvel Value Stamp #50
Brother Voodoo Marvel Value Stamp #20
Marvel Value Stamp
images from
Like Dracula, Steve Does Comics leaps from its grave.

Like the Harker family, they try to stop it with a steak through the heart.

Frankly, I get the feeling they aren't the finest vampire hunters the world can supply.

But it's coming up to Christmas - and that can mean just one thing.

Christmas cards.

And that can mean just one thing.

Envelopes.

And that can mean just one thing.

Stamps.

And that can mean just one thing.

Marvel Value Stamps.

And that can mean just one thing.

I didn't have any.

In fact, that's not true. I actually had three.

Well, OK, that's not true either. I had loads because I had loads of Bronze Age comics but I only had three that I ever dared to physically cut out of the comics and do something with.

I'm pretty sure that was because I had more than one copy of the comics in question and was thus willing to take the scissors to them.

Weird War Tales #24, clawing hands are met by the beckoning finger of death
See the dread fate that awaits those who seek out
Marvel Value Stamps!
The three I cut out featured the Black Panther, Killraven and Brother Voodoo and, in the absence of anywhere else to stick them, I glued them in my scrapbook, somewhere between those cards you used to get with PG Tips, and the copy I drew of this cover to Weird War Tales #24.

In fact I only copied the skeleton. I couldn't be bothered to draw the rest, so I instead drew him in the Time Tunnel

Why he was in there, I'm not totally sure but I like to feel it was a salutary reminder that death is everywhere, even in the Time Tunnel.

Happily, death isn't in The Star Maidens or I wouldn't be able to cope with life.

I was never actually sure just what one was supposed to do with Marvel Value Stamps. Was there a booklet you could buy to stick them in?

If so, I never heard anything about it. But I always suspected that the real reasons for the Marvel Value Stamps' existence was to make you buy two copies of every comic. One to keep, knowing it'd be worth a fortune some day, and one to cut to pieces. In this way would Marvel double their sales with little extra effort. What cunning devils they were.

Anyway, that's my heartwarming tale of Marvel Value Stamps. If you have any of your own, you know just where to post them.

10 comments:

Kid said...

Going purely from memory, I think that once you get a certain number you could use then to get a Marvel comic (or something). It's a vague notion and I could be entirley wrong, but I can't be bothered digging through boxes of comics to check.

Steve W. said...

It brings to mind the good old days of Green Shield Stamps where, after you'd collected fifteen million of them, you'd take them along to the Green Shield Stamp shop and they'd give you a cucumber slicer in exchange for them.

Comicsfan said...

I always suspected that the real reasons for the Marvel Value Stamps' existence was to make you buy two copies of every comic. One to keep, knowing it'd be worth a fortune some day, and one to cut to pieces.

You know, I'd be right there with you on this assumption--but at the time I didn't have the impression that the comic book "collection mentality" was extensive to such a degree. And I certainly didn't know many kids who had the extra money (or the inclination) to shell out for an extra copy to keep in pristine condition. In the end, readers didn't seem to be all that mindful of a small cut-out hole left in a letters page--it wasn't from the cover, or from any page that contained the story (usually!), so it didn't feel like any damage was being done.

I don't know why I didn't give more than a passing thought to these stamps when they were being issued. They just never clicked for me, for whatever reason. If I had to take a guess, I'd say it was probably because they were all produced with stock art rather than original images made exclusively for the stamps. I think the trading cards Marvel issued later did much better, as far as generating collection enthusiasm (and all without a promised discount or other trivial award for filling up the collection).

There's a really cool site that's devoted to the stamps which is pretty comprehensive, if you're curious. Sure brings back some memories. :D

Kid said...

I took a look at that site, Comics fan, and it says nothing about the stamps being redeemable for anything so I guess they weren't. I must have assumed way back in the '70s that, as they were called Marvel VALUE Stamps, they probably had some value to them for acquiring something. Funny how certain notions stick with you, eh?

Boston Bill said...

I remember these. I used to look at them with some curiosity. I'm pretty sure they weren't worth anything other than they were supposed to be fun to collect. But by the time I started reading Marvel, all of the good ones (Human Torch, Hulk, Spider-Man, etc.) were clearly gone and I was always getting the Watcher or Gorgon (of the Inhumans).
I think they tended to be on the opposite side of the comic, not ads, so I never bothered cutting them out.

Comicsfan said...

Kid, have a look at the page of the site that quotes the Marvel 2007 article--the third section down describes the benefits of turning in your complete stamp collection. Page 2 of the stamp book also gets into it a little (as well as in the second series). Personally I would have just followed the book's advice to hold onto them as collectors' items. ;)

david_b said...

There was a 'stamp book' Marvel offered, and the collector of all stamps got a 'discount' for attending some Marvel Comics event to meet the Bullpen staff, from what remember reading. You didn't get any 'expenses paid' or anything, just a 'free visit' type event, can't recall the specifics, I just remember b&w pics of kids who collected all the stamps.

Pretty chincy, especially at the expense of comics.

Nowadays, I'm just slowly going through my collection to re-purchase issues I cut stamps out of.

Yeeeah, it wasn't Marvel's BEST IDEA.

Kid said...

I've just looked at my Marvel Vault book and it says that once you collected your stamps in the booklet, they could be redeemed for small prizes. I'll take another look at that site, Comicsfan. Thanks.

Learning Linux said...

There where 2 sets of these one book was just a collection the other 10 stamps joined to make a series of little posters in the book (should have gone a stage further and made it a comic when completed.)

Of course getting a complete set of these involves cutting up an Incredible Hulk #181 so let us all know if you complete your collection

Steve W. said...

LL, I've just this moment finished cutting up Hulk #181. I'm about to start tearing the cover off Amazing Spider-Man #121 then sticking it on a sheet of cardboard to create a lovely diorama.

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