US Comics series from Marvel Comics in oversize tabloid perfect-bound format measuring 10 ins x 14 ins. Editors included Archie Goodwin, Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Len Wein and Marv Wolfman. Writers included Jo Duffy, Scott Edelman, Stever Gerber and Bill Mantlo. Artists included Klaus Janson, Bob McLeod, Roger Patterson and Don Perlin. 28 issues 1974 to 1981.
This series chiefly reprinted classic stories featuring Marvel's most popular heroes such as the Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk and especially Spider-Man, who made several appearances. Issues often contained art galleries at the back, leading to many copies being mutilated for poster art. Perhaps the most interesting issue was the second encounter between Spider-Man and Superman during a period when relations between Marvel and DC Comics were more cordial: Superman and Spider-Man (1981). These two Superheroes' first meeting had taken place in the joint Marvel/DC one-off Superman vs the Amazing Spider-Man (1976), set in a Parallel World where both companies' heroes coexist.
There were two associated series in identical format. Marvel Special Edition ran for eight issues, 1975 to 1980, each issue number being applied for unexplained reasons to two comics with different content: hence #1 The Spectacular Spider-Man (June 1975) and also #1 Star Wars (August 1977). The latter began a reprint of Marvel's adaptation of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) from their regular ongoing Star Wars comic; this was concluded in #2 (1978) and reissued complete as #3 (1978). The second #3 (1978) featured an adaptation of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) reprinted from Marvel Comics Super Special #3. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (Spring 1980) was adapted in the final issue, also numbered #2.
The second associated series, Marvel Treasury Special, had two issues in 1974 and 1976. #1 was an unspectacular Christmas-themed collection of superhero story reprints. #2, Captain America's Bicentennial Battles, is more important as it featured the first new Captain America story from Jack Kirby in some years, along with classic reprints featuring the character.
The Marvel Treasury Edition format ultimately proved unsuccessful despite the large pages which displayed the artwork to strong advantage, and it ceased production in the early 1980s. The $1.50 cover price, considered expensive at the time, may have contributed to the failure. [GSt/DRL]
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