No new comics this week! Oh, the agony, wait, this is not AGONYday, it’s FUNday! What to do… what to do… well, on FUNday, we just get out some of our old comics and read them, eh? How about this one :
Marvel Age #38
Marvel Age was a monthly series featuring previews of upcoming comics, news articles about various subjects, advertisements, humorous pieces, and the occasional interview with creators and Marvel staff. Long removed from the Internet age, it was a great way (sometimes the ONLY way) to get news about what was going on in the world of Marvel Comics. Cartoon Puck appears in this issue on the back cover.
This issue was concurrent with Alpha Flight #34 and solicited issue #35 in the section, “Marvel Coming Attractions”:
ALPHA FLIGHT #35~Puck confesses his love to Vindicator! The tormented Snowbird returns to Alpha Flight! Shaman begins his trial for power! The merciless Attuma captures Marrina! And that’s just the beginning! “The Child is Father to the Man” is written by Bill Mantlo, penciled by Dave Ross and inked by Gerry Talaoc. 75¢.
In the Newswatch section, the Top Ten lists the ten best-selling direct Marvel titles for the month of November:
- X- Factor #2
- X-Men #203
- Secret Wars II #9
- Firestar #1
- Fantastic Four #288
- Marvel Universe #4
- New Mutants #37
- West Coast Avengers #6
- Amazing Spider-Man #274
- Alpha Flight #32
“Marvel Universe” in the number six slot is the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition, which was referred to as just “Marvel Universe” back then. Alpha Flight had disappeared off of the top ten list for a bit, last seen three months prior when issue #29 was in the tenth position, although the 2nd issue of the X-Men/Alpha Flight Limited Series reached the number three position one month after that. For those of you who can’t stand the suspense, Alpha Flight would rebound to the number 3 slot with issue #33 in the following month.
The back page broke from the usual calendar format which was suspended for the 1986 year, since Marvel was publishing their own wall calendar that year. Instead, advertisements ran on most back pages that year. So what’s fun about that? This is supposed to be FUNday, after all! Well, this issue’s back cover was a 12-panel grid titled, “Alter Ego (the confessions of a comic book letterer)” by Rick Parker, who lettered Alpha Flight #4,15,16, and 18 through 28, and left with John Byrne to work on the Incredible Hulk in the creative team switch after issue #28. Puck appears in one of the panels repeatedly asking, “eh?”
Note: Although this back page wasn’t fully credited, it is likely to have been drawn by Rick Parker himself, not Ron Zalme, who had been the regular calendar artist.
Note: I wrote to Ron Zalme to check this, and he was kind enough to very quickly respond, saying, “I don’t recall ever doing art for a script by Rick Parker, a good friend of mine. I could tell for certain if I saw it… But, Rick is a fine artist in his own right and mostly illustrated his own ideas. I’m fairly certain that if the page you are referring to is marked “by Rick Parker”, then he probably wrote it and drew it himself.” How nice of him to correspond with Alpha Flight Collector!