I added four pre-hero Marvels to my collection this week. I've been actively seeking these books and they're not as easy to locate as I'd hoped. But I landed four books this past week, all from the same collection.
It's fun to see how Marvel operated in those days just before Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko were cut loose to create an entire line of new characters that ended up earning billions of dollars for the parent companies who took and inherited the product of their imaginations.
This was actually a pretty desperate era for the company that was not yet called Marvel Comics. Sales of comic books were largely in decline and so the editor there was constantly struggling to keep sales on an even keel. In these times, Marvel was existing as a kind of faded copy of the old EC company, publishing watered-down versions of the ground-breaking weird and science-fiction stories that had propelled EC to notoriety. To keep the titles supplied with stories, Marvel had come to depend on a small but talented and reliable stable of artists. The workhorses for the remaining Marvel titles were Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Don Heck. Other artists chipped in and filled in various slots, but those three men were creating the lion's share of the art and scripts for all of Marvel's books. And of course Jack Kirby was creating at an almost unbelievable pace in these last years before he created the pantheon of characters upon which Marvel would stand for the next fifty years.
TALES OF SUSPENSE #36 (I already owned a copy of this book, but in poor condition. So I decided to buy this copy which is in very nice shape.)
TALES TO ASTONISH#28. I'd been trying to get this book for quite some time but always missed out on auctions or was too late in getting to my favorite back issue dealers before they'd moved copies. So I'm really happy to land this one.