Thursday, August 27, 2015

I miss Marvel Comics' character/corner boxes (CCC flashback)

This is the character
No. 200.

Check out this Cary's Comics Craze flashback from a blog I posted on the original online home of CCC almost exactly five years ago — Aug. 13, 2010. I was inspired by seeing a Facebook posting today by John Byrne fan Steven Carroll on the "Byrne Victims" group page:

Boy, do I miss the character boxes Marvel Comics used to put on each and every one of their titles in the 1970s and most of the 1980s.

A She-Hulk character box by artist
John Byrne
Those character boxes (my original phrase as far as I know) were extremely helpful when scanning comic books in the turnstiles at the grocery store or convenience store. (Do you remember the days when comics were actually sold there instead of at just comic book stores and some major book stores?) 

You didn’t have to flip the top third of the comic down to find the logo to see what was being sold (which actually could — gasp! — wrinkle and damage the comic); you saw exactly that same information in the character boxes.

Positioned in the top left corner of the cover, the small box contained a rendering of the character in the book.

In the case of titles featuring groups with changing rosters, such as THE UNCANNY X-MEN and THE AVENGERS, those boxes often featured headshots of the superheroes who were in that specific issue.

I especially liked that because that often helped me know whether it was worth forking over my money (OK, it actually was usually Mom’s) to buy that issue, simply based on who was or wasn’t in there.

As you know if you’ve reading this blog the last couple of months, I’ve been plugging away at reading back issues of Doug Moench’s/Bill Sienkiewicz’s and John Byrne’s runs on FANTASTIC FOUR.  (Go here for a July 2010 series of CCC op-eds about definitive takes on the FF; that posting also includes my all-time favorite — if not iconic — takes on Bruce Banner, Bruce Wayne, Captain America, Daredevil, Hulk and Iron Man.)

And after I get finished with that, which might take a while since I’ve been falling asleep while reading or not been in the mood to read, I’ll be heading into the first year of ROM THE SPACEKNIGHT and a nearly uninterrupted run of MARVEL’S GREATEST COMICS 9featuring reprints of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's classic early years on FF.)

Reading FF has revealed just how the character boxes, the title and masthead on one title changed and developed over the course of almost five years.

Below are some other character/corner boxes I found online. As you can tell, Marvel used corner/character boxes as far back as the late 1960s:

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