Undervalued Spotlight #74

Marvel Tales Annual #1, Marvel Comics, Summer 1964

Undervalued Spotlight fan Dave submitted this pick and I couldn’t agree more. Thanks Dave for the good work and your good eye for undervalued comic books.

Is this the comic book that really made Marvel?

The Marvel Age started when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby published Fantastic Four #1 in Nov. 1961. Hulk followed in May of 1962 and Spider-Man in August 1962. They of course created many more great stories as their vision of the Marvel Universe began to unfold. More and more young readers found this super powered escapism alluring and addictive. Many were jumping in late and hadn’t purchased or read the original printing. There was now a need to tell the back story of these increasingly popular characters.

Consequently Marvel Tales Annual #1 was born.

Marvel Tales Annual #1 may be the forgotten gem in today’s collecting market, but I assure you, that back in 1964 it was the single most important comic book on any young readers “gotta have list”. Proudly displayed on a yellow and white cover backdrop were Spidey, Hulk, Giant-Man, Thor, Sgt Fury and Iron Man.

Marvel Tales reprints include the origins of Spiderman – Amazing Fantasy #15, Hulk – Incredible Hulk # 1, Ant-Man – Tales to Astonish #35, Giant-Man – Tales to Astonish #49, Iron Man – Tales of Suspense #39 and 48, Thor – Journey into Mystery # 83 and Sgt Fury – Sgt Fury #1. Its fun to note that Journey into Mystery is noted as being “exactly as it appeared in Journey into Mystery #83“.

Further, I also believe this is the beginning of serious marvel Fandom, as also included in this issue is a photo of virtually every member of the Marvel Bullpen.

Marvel had reprinted a few stories up to this time , where Strange Tales Annual #1 had reprinted early Marvel Monster stuff, and Strange Tales Annual #2 has the 1st Spiderman  x-over vs. the Human Torch and again reprints various scary stuff. But this was the first full-scale reprint effort highlighting the origins of Marvels first heroes.

And I can assure you…it is a readers and collectors delight in every way.  Also the coloring of the Marvel Tales reprint captures the colors from the original issues in a very convincing and similar fashion…unlike the reprint trades and hard covers of today.

This is one buy you won’t regret. The comic displays better than a poster…and all images on the cover appear to be iconic Jack Kirby drawings (Spidey was a Ditko I believe).  ( B E A U T I F U L )

The 40th edition of the Overstreet Price Guide shows $218/$422/$625 as the splits at the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grades.

Strengths that make this comic book a good long-term investment are:

  • Important reprint that allowed way more of us to catch up to the new Marvel U
  • Kirby/Ditko cover
  • Bullpen photos are priceless
  • Dave says its undervalued
Walter Durajlija Written by:

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.

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  1. February 5, 2011

    The success of Marvel Tales paved the way for Marvel Collectors Item Classic which launched in Feb. 1965. These two titles gave all the new Marvel fans the chance to read the now hard to find early Marvel issues.

  2. Dave
    February 6, 2011

    Hi Walt.
    Thanks for the kind words.
    Just a reminder, Inside of Marvel Tales #1 they reference the Thor story as exactly as it appeared in Journey into Mystery #38“. an error on their part.
    And note the muscular Spiderman…similar to how Romita eventually drew Spiderman…but as I understand credited to J.K ? Certainly an interesting debate…and more information I will share in a pending email

  3. Mike Huddleston
    February 6, 2011

    I could not agree more with this submission. I have coilected comics for over 40 years and this has always been one of my favourites. In lower grades it is a terrific “reader” for young folks new to the hobby. In mid grade it has a place in any comic collection. In higher grades it is difficult to find and at the 9.2 plus range it sells for many multiples of guide at auction. Good call!

  4. February 6, 2011

    Sorry Dave, and here I was all proud of myself for fixing what I thought was your typo. Look forward to your email.
    Hey Mike, glad you liked this weeks pick. Would love to get a rew suggestions for the spotlight from you.

  5. Dave
    February 10, 2011

    Hi Mike ! Thanks for the kind words ! Happy collecting regards !

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