The Saturday Comics: Marvel Photo Covers

12 May

May 12, 2012

As I’ve shown over the past weeks, back in the 1980’s it was good to be Marvel. From Generic Comic Books to weird Fumetti comics to a No-Prize book that consisted of nothing but reprinted panels, anything Marvel put out sold. Why? Well, their fans are called Marvel Zombies for a reason. And this phenomena was not just an 80’s thing; the 90’s brought, among other things, NFL Superpro.

However, I have saved the best  for last. These are comics with photo covers, regular issues of their series and not some odd one-off special. Nowadays I guess this would be called “value added.” Although they achieved varying degrees of success, they at least showed potential.


This is the best of the bunch, and it really works for me. Nicely composed, realistic, and it even reflects the interior story. Of all these issues this is the only one that remains in my collection. Like the rest of these it isn’t particularly valuable.

This is my favorite because it fails on a couple of levels. First, they (I believe) highlighted the webs on Spidey’s suit- compare it to the cover above- and it just stands out badly. Next, the guy in the Cap suit is too earnest, too obviously posed.  And lastly, look at their feet. The are clearly not on the roof, they have been inserted into that background. I had this comic once but somehow over the years it disappeared.

I never owned this but I do recall seeing it on the stands. Does Spider-Woman look sultry or slutty? That’s the story of this cover in a nutshell. Plus The Wasp’s wings look like cardboard..

I don’t think I ever saw this issue until I started to research this post. It is the worst of the lot. The concept is not bad but the execution is terrible. A back-lit woman holding her hands in front of a pair of spotlights just doesn’t cut it.

You have to give Marvel credit for trying. In the 1980’s they were big and bad and, for better or worse, pushing the boundaries of what their fans would buy.

7 Responses to “The Saturday Comics: Marvel Photo Covers”

  1. zathra May 12, 2012 at 4:55 am #

    I wonder how Marvel has done since being acquired by Disney ? Was it just Marvel studios that were acquired by them, or all their media branches ?

    Back in ’94 – 95 ( Whenever the Sci – Fi Channel 1st started broadcasting or were at least still new to the airwaves ) they had a program called Sci – Fi Buzz, & a 15 – minute corner called ” Harlan Ellison’s Watching “, during 1 installment, he ripped Marvel a new one for marketing collecter’s cards that cost roughly $ 100 a set, maybe more ( it was a while back ), ” Unca Harlan ” told Marvel they were ” thugs ” & showed a lovely set of collectable trading cards that were vintage DC & much more affordable to kids who couldn’t shell out major bucks for this kind of comic memorabilia.

    The last item published by Marvel that I bought was a commemorative Spider – Man comic where Spidey meets the current CiC, Barack H. Obama, after arresting a villain who was posing as him. You can imagine the reception it must’ve gotten in a predominantly Republican Bible – Belt area. 😉 😀


    • bmj2k May 13, 2012 at 12:01 am #

      Harlan Ellison is an… interesting person… I love him though, but…
      Whenever I start getting ambivalent about Harlan Ellison I pop in The Outer Limit’s Demon With A Glass Hand and all is well.

      Marvel is, I think, owned in its entirety by Disney. I know for a fact they are running the comics.


      • zathra May 13, 2012 at 3:45 am #

        H. Ellison is…… A riddle wrapped in an enigma enclosed in some layers of contradictions. Or something.

        I wish I could find my VHS copy of ” Demon With a Glass Hand ” after procuring a VHS player or get it on DVD. It would make a wonderful movie adaptation, if done RIGHT. Ellison supposedly wrote the screenplay with Robert Culp ( Whom he had become friends with ) specifically in mind. Saw it on Hulu about half a year ago, then installments on Youtube later on. The building that most of it was set in would feature in a fantastic sci – fi movie shown in 1982 directed by Ridley Scott & starring Harrison Ford & Rutger Hauer that I DO have a DVD copy of – But I do digress. ( Pauses, 😀 takes a deep breath )

        I hope Disney doesn’t try to seriously ” dumb – down ” Marvel as a whole. They could bring Miley Cyrus back into the fold as ” Hannah Montana : Celeb Superheroine ! ” ( I’m really reaching. MC has lost her ability to act since leaving Disney ).


  2. dysfunctional literacy May 12, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    Those photo covers may be cheesy, but if I remember correctly a couple early Fantastic Four comics had giant full page photographic panels that looked kind of cool… but that’s only if I remember correctly. It’s been awhile. I once owned three of the comics with the covers you presented. I wasn’t quite a zombie because I refused to buy Dazzler.


    • bmj2k May 12, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

      I think so too. Steranko’s S.H.I.E.L.D. had some amazing examples of that too.


  3. louise October 23, 2017 at 9:32 am #

    i have a comic book of spider man and captan america is it worth anything still in plastic


    • bmj2k October 23, 2017 at 8:40 pm #

      It depends on what issue it is and the condition.


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