Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Retro Marvel: Marvel Age #10

Since the earliest Marvel titles, Stan Lee projected a clubhouse mentality about how Marvel operated and invited readers to peek into the behind the scenes machinations of the company.  Readers not only read about their favorite heroes, but they also learned about the creators who brought those heroes to the printed page.  From 1965 to 2001 these insights into the operations of the company were captured in an informational page in most Marvel comics called the Bullpen Bulletins.  This promotional page would feature a list of upcoming Marvel publications; news about titles, television shows, and cartoons that Marvel wanted to draw attention to; profiles of Marvel creators; and Stan even had a column he used to promote Marvel using his unique, flamboyant style with Stan's Soapbox.

This access to information about creators and upcoming publications proved to be successful with the readers.  In fact, Marvel expanded on the Bullpen Bulletins by creating a comic-sized magazine that would promote Marvel publications for a small fee.  This magazine was called Marvel Age and ran for 140 issues from 1983 to 1994.  By 1983, the Star Wars title was in it's 6th year of publication and only had 3 years left until it was cancelled.  Return of the Jedi came out in the summer of 1983 and the Star Wars title did not have a post-Return of the Jedi story until Star Wars #81 with a cover date of March 1984.  A few months earlier, an interview with Star Wars writer Mary Jo Duffy and editor Louise Jones was published in Marvel Age #10 titled Beyond Star Wars.  In the article, the two discuss the direction for the Star Wars title after the pre-Return of the Jedi stories wrapped up.

Marvel Age #10a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (January 1984)
The cover for Marvel Age #10 is by Ron Frenz, the regular artist for Star Wars at the time.  Frenz worked on issues #67, 71-82, and 99.  On the cover are many characters and aliens that were used during Frenz's run on the title.  Front and center is Luke Skywalker.  On Luke's right is Lando standing next to the smugglers Chihdo, Rik Duel, and Dani with a Stenax towering over them.  On Luke's left is Chewbacca, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and C-3PO.  Behind them is another Stenax and a Huhk.  Directly behind Luke kneeling next to R2-D2 is Kiro.  Several Plifs (the rabbit looking aliens) and Lahsbees are located around the other characters' feet.  Humorously, the character box in the upper left of the cover features Forbush Man wearing a C-3PO mask.

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