Last time, we looked at the third and final Giant Superhero Holiday Grab-Bag from 1976. But what if there had existed one last Christmas Treasury Edition, to celebrate the festive season in 1977? It might have looked something like this:
You’ll have to imagine the snowflakes, the Christmas lights and Ol’ Greenskin’s Santa hat for yourself but this is the line-up I’d assemble for this fictional Treasury. As for the stories themselves:
This is a bit of a cheat because this Wein/Andru Spider-Man collaboration had actually been published the previous Christmas and I think it unlikely that it would be reprinted eight or nine months later! However, sometimes, you have to cheat in this game. Stegron the Dinosaur Man is of course the leapin’ Lizard turned up to eleven; plus, he has one of those quintessential Bronze Age names ( cf. Firestorm, the Nuclear Man; Steel, the Indestructible Man; Drom, the Backwards Man
Iron Fist lost his book in 1977, despite groundbreaking work by the team of Claremont and Byrne. I’ve included the almost-self-contained iron Fist #2 because it elaborates on the origin of the Living Weapon. This rather downbeat tale not only introduced a half-sister for Danny, the enigmatic Miranda; it also revealed the sci-fi origins of the mystic city of K’un-L’un.
Red Sonja was probably Marvel’s most popular solo heroine in 1977. I chose this done-in-one largely for its seasonal downpour and because I’m not as familiar with it as the other Jones/ Thorne stories. Marvel’s sword and sorcery line was largely undone, at least in the colour comics, by the space opera of Star Wars. The b/w Savage Sword of Conan of course, carried on regardless for over another decade. Meanwhile, DC’s Warlord thrived. Comics!
Next, another female star and one who had made her début in 1977. It’s hard to find a solo story from Ms. Marvel‘s original run ( which is the reason I nixed the Claremont/Cockrum X-Men vs. Sentinels trilogy). I chose this one because I feel it represents the end of the Vision’s reign as a fan-favourite. His whole arc during 1975-76 had been “What if Mr. Spock got married?” With the departure of Steve Englehart, we never really got to see that arc play out and Vizh would soon be eclipsed by Wolverine as the major non-Lee/Kirby/Ditko draw at Marvel.
My final selection is a one-off Wein/Trimpe story which I picked largely because the helpless Siberian girl is wearing a Santa-style outfit! However, the Mole Man is the oldest villain in the Marvel Universe and his Gollum-like qualities of pity and repulsion make him an effective contrast to Ol’ Jade-Jaws.
So: what do you think? Would this Treasury have had pride of place in your Yuletude collection or would you have spent your shekels on Dc’s Rudolph instead?
Next time, we’ll be looking at a Xmas addition to my Super-Spectacular collection: Detective Comics 441!
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