It’s a sad day for comics, my friends. Today Stan’s bride of 70 years, Joan Lee, passed away at the age of 93. “93?”, you may ask… “isn’t that a full and long life?” Sure it is. It’s a great run. I am reflecting on the gift that she gave all geeks, and that gift was being the impetus for bringing about the “Marvel Age” of comics.
Stan was ready to leave his position at the company, then called “Atlas” I believe, and told his wife he had had enough. She told him to do one last story, and to tell it the way he saw fit. That cosmic nudge created a multiverse of characters, and brought a failing company back from the ashes. Not only did this ignite the creation of new heroes and titles, it also bolstered the whole industry. Even DC was feeling the pressure and some of their top characters were heading dangerously close to the chopping blocks.
There is nothing better than competition and a great rivalry to bring a faltering industry back from the brink. We can point to Stan, or Jack, or anybody else and heap praise upon them… and we wouldn’t be wrong. BUT, if we drill down deeper we can find that Marvel Universe “Big Bang” moment in the simple words of encouragement of Joan Lee.
Without Joan, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. The world of geekdom would probably look far different than it does now.
She was the Mother of the Marvel Age. She shall be missed.
Thank you, Joan.
In 1996, something happened that most superhero comics fans thought was impossible: DC Comics and Marvel mashed their characters together into an all-new fictional construct. The Amalgam era was truly a once-in-a-lifetime event, because the comics published during this brief experiment probably aren’t getting reprinted anytime soon.
I remember when this all happened. I was 26, and I was still collecting with a passion non-stop since I was 9. This was an exciting event, at least it was to me. Since the very beginning I had always been a “Big Two” fan. The stables of DC and Marvel had always been a mainstay in my collection. Sure, I had several titles like Shuriken, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Beast Warriors of Shaolin, and Vampirella, that I would pick up from time to time. But I digress… the Amalgam universe was special, I didn’t get into all of the pairings, but I really enjoyed the concept. There wasn’t an issue that I would miss. It was incredible, here was a set of monthly books doing what I had been doing since I was a child, fusing my favorite heroes into all new characters.
In 2006, I ceased collecting. Occasionally I have dabbled in an issue or two, but nothing to involved. With the digital age of comics being ushered in, I felt it was time to check back into the worlds of DC and Marvel. I’ve replaced much of my physical collection with digital issues, except my original X-Men (Jack Kirby through Jim Lee’s run). Recently I’ve collected Future Quest and the Superman titles, Marvel hasn’t piqued my interest. Now if they would bring back the Amalgam Universe, or even another round of JLA/Avengers, then I would be all in… again.
Over on the site’s FaceBook page, I posted a Comic Book Cover Cavalcade of Holiday themed back issues in a photo gallery. Check it out here: Four Color Holiday Celebration. I post graphic heavy content on FaceBook to save space for blog-specific items. Anyhow, head over to the gallery, and check it out. There are a few magazine covers too, due to extra christmasy content.
Happy holidays! 🕎☃🎁🎄🎉🖖🎅👹