3 out of 5
Marvel was a funny little company back in the 70s, man. With their UK imprint and their banana-load of magazines… had I been reading comics back then, I wonder what side of the fence I would’ve been on? ‘Cause I gotta tell ya’… a lot of my older runs are from Stan Lee and co.
FOOM would not be able to exist now. Nor would half their mags, but Marvel and DC editors – and the companies – are fully active P.R. machines now, hyping every fucking book and crossover like it’s the end-all, and turning everything possible into a movie. Was it so different then? No, not on some levels. I mean, Stan Lee thought everything was excelsior, yeah? But there seemed to be more acceptance of humor, and of nerd culture (not ‘cool’ nerd culture, run by memes and top-selling trades), and… of honesty. I mean, FOOM – ‘Friends Of Ol’ Marvel – is a fanzine published by Marvel, so is this just like XBox magazine or Nintendo Power? Well, sure, the last few pages of any given ish tend to be, essentially, ads for Marvel, and no one is going out of their way to hate on anything, but it actually reads like a legit fanzine. The idea to focus on a character or writer for each issue keeps things focused and fun, and the creators actually seem to step outside of Marvel for a few minutes… I mean, I guess it was rare to just talk about what it was like to write one specific book or character… and there are these interesting tidbits scattered throughout that… well, maybe they work better in hindsight, but it confirms when you feel like something was just made up on the spot, or something went wrong with the storyline… Again, no one says “this sucked,” but since a lot of the coverage is on already published books, there wasn’t much harm in saying why you left a title.
The second portion of most issues has upcoming spotlights with the writers which are, yeah, pretty dry, but interesting in just seeing your favorite writers’ personalities coming across… Gerber sort of humble and vague, Kirby very out there, sort of negative on comics, DAK a forever nerdy hype man… and etc. It’s not cover-to-cover awesomeness, and I’m not denying that it’s only a few steps out from being a commercial, but it was a nice thing for Marvel to be putting out, for both fans and the creators, and showcases that oddball moment in the late 70s when things like Howard the Duck were happening.