May 1, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 796: Marvel Team-Up #79, March 1979

One of the things I noticed this year at the con was a propensity for "mystery boxes." A couple of years back I bought one in the shape of a giant Lego figure head and it had some interesting stuff in it. This year, they were everywhere, in all shapes and sizes and patterns. And the comics people got in on the trend by offering mystery grab bags. This particular comic came out of a "15 comics for $10" grab bag, some of which was really cool, like today's comic, and some of which are probably going to be terrible. But I kind of love the terrible stuff in its own right anyway.

There's a great panel in this comic, very early on, at a Christmas party at the Daily Bugle. There's a bespectacled man in a blue suit chatting with Robbie Robertson, who says, "So tell me, ol' buddy. How does it feel to be a mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan TV network?" The man is quite obviously Clark Kent, who at this point in time was a news anchor on TV, rather than his traditional role as reporter. It's a nice touch, especially since the crossover between Supes and Spidey was only a couple of years off. This scene sets up a strange space in the Marvel and DC universes, as we're seeing a completely unmediated crossover (in that, there's no dimensional travel or anything) between the two comic book continua. And the DCU isn't even the only other fictional universe to cross into the Marvel U in this comic. While Conan and Red Sonja enjoyed a long run at Marvel, they were more often than not considered in their own fictional universe, yet there's a moment in this comic where Spider-Man notes the artifacts in the museum were recently discovered to "pre-date man's oldest recorded civilizations," thus suggesting that the Hyperborean age was somehow a precursor civilization to the Marvel superhero universe. Whether or not this ever became canonical I have no idea, but this blending of three very distinct universes into one story is quite a treat.

As I noted yesterday, I'll be reading some comics from the stuff I got at the con this weekend, probably a mixture of the old stuff that fills in the collection and the newer, indie stuff that I picked up in the Artist's Alley. Very exciting.

To be continued.

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