Ad for Marvel Treasury Edition #1

The ad above comes from the back of Master of Kung Fu #20 (Sept 1974). DC had been running reprints in the tabloid format for over a year and were presumably having reasonable sales success, so Marvel jumped on the bandwagon with the first issue of Marvel Treasury Edition. And what better subject for the launch than their best-selling character? The tales represent a fair smattering of the full span of Spidey’s career to that point, with some Lee and Ditko, Kirby, Romita, Buscema, Andru and Gil Kane. They’re perhaps not the most well-chosen of stories, but who’s gonna complain too much when $1.50 buys a hundred pages at that wonderful, hard-to-hold, giant size?

I know when I saw ads for this in the Marvel UK titles when I was a wee lad it seemed like the most exciting thing ever! Not that I actually ever did see a copy until many years later — oh woe…

A month later (MoKF #21) and Marvel are now enabling you to actually purchase a copy directly. Loads more technical detail and hyperbole abound—and, what’s more, you can actually get copies signed by Smilin’ Stan and Jazzy John! Wowza!!

I’m not entirely sure that the truth in advertizing police should let ’em get away with the “most gigantic comic-book of all time” line though.

Ad for Marvel Treasury Edition #1

Fabulous—nay, iconic!—cover by John Romita, natch!

For more on tabloid comics, do yourself a favour and check out Rob Kelly’s TREASURY COMICS.

Images ©2011 Marvel Characters, Inc