Anyone here remember the Marvel Treasury Edition books? I do, but that’s because I’m old enough!
Well, they’re coming back with Spidey: All-New Treasury Edition Vol. 1, scheduled to appear in comics shops this June. It will collect the first five issues of the new Spidey comic, written by Robbie Thompson and with art by Nick Bradshaw.
For those unfamiliar with it, Spidey focuses on Spider-Man’s earlier adventures, before he became an international corporate mogul.
This event brings back the “Treasury Edition” format that hasn’t been used in 35 years! It’ll be 10” x 14” in size and cost $15.99.
I enjoy larger-sized comics, so I’m happy to see this!
WHAT WAS THE TREASURY EDITION ABOUT?
Often featuring reprints of previously published stores, the Marvel Treasury Edition was published by Marvel Comics from 1974 to 1981. There were 28 of them, and they often had different topics, including a holiday “grab-bag,” superhero team-ups, Conan the Barbarian, the Fantastic Four, Thor, the Hulk, and Spider-Man.
The final one sold was the second crossover between Superman from DC and Spider-Man from Marvel. It was released in 1981 and was written by Jim Shooter, with art from John Buscema and Joe Sinnott.
Marvel also published treasuries under the titles Marvel Special Edition (six of them, including Star Wars) and Marvel Treasury Special (two of them, including a holiday special and a Bicentennial celebration) as well as a number of one-shots.
Every once in a while, new content was published in this format, but not much.
I still see some of these on sale at comics conventions occasionally, but because they cost a lot to bag, board and save, they cost quite a bit more than their cover price.
Of course, DC produced books in a similar format. The ones I remember best had art by Alex Ross and focused on everyone from Superman to Batman and beyond. I often wanted those to be made into posters, they looked so great!
LARGE PRINT VS. SMALL PRINT
One trend that I never really liked was having stories reprinted into smaller editions. The rationale was that kids would (and could) read them, and their size was easy for them to carry.
I never liked those because I often found the dialogue difficult to read. The interesting part was that many of the children I spoke to who looked at them also didn’t like size. This was one thing we had in common – we liked the bigger art, the larger text. That’s probably one of the very few times kids and I agreed on something!
Granted, they were less expensive than the larger volumes, but they weren’t worth it, I felt. It was me looking at a book instead of me diving into the story. I couldn’t leave the real world behind – instead, I was looking at printed pages. What I enjoy so much about the comics experience is being able to lose myself in the story, the page, the art. I was never able to do that with smaller editions.
Larger books, on the other hand, always worked for me. I could get into the story a lot faster.
This reminds me of a tale that my favorite comics artist George Perez once said. When asked if he would like to draw larger volumes, he responded, “Don’t tell me it’s a bigger book because I’ll try to fill every bit of it with detailed drawing!” Yeah, I can see him trying to do that!
GIVE IT A TRY
Let’s be real here – the comics industry is at a crossroads. There are a lot of possible ways it can go, and nobody has any idea what we’ll be doing in the next five years or so. Could larger-print comics bring in that extra income the companies need? Maybe.
On my iPad, I can enlarge the image so I can look more closely at details. If I had a bigger-print edition, I could look more closely. Either way works for me!
I see other fans online who fondly remember the Marvel Treasury Edition, so it’ll be fascinating to see how the sales go. If it’s a success, expect to see more of them soon.
Also, Spider-Man is by far the most popular Marvel character around these days, so telling his early stories will likely attract all ages. Hey, there’s Spider-Woman, Silk, Spider-Gwen and Spider-Man 2099 all in ongoing series’ today. Depending on what demographic buys the larger edition, any of those could easily be reprinted.
“Nick Bradshaw’s work on Spidey practically leaps off the page,” said David Gabriel, the publisher’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, in a news release. “We knew we had to do something special for fans of this series. And since Robbie Thompson does such a wonderful job of capturing the early days of Peter Parker’s super hero career, we thought Spidey was the perfect title to bring back this classic comic format.”
If it really takes off, Marvel could give new material a shot! A Spider-Man story by some of today’s hot creators, maybe people who have never worked on the Web-Slinger, could be worth picking up! Or what if something crazy happens and ALL the comics come out in this size?
This whole experiment comes down to this – are people going to be willing to spend about $16 for a reprint book that’s a larger size? Stalwart fans will have already bought the individual issues, which may be a hindrance to spending more money to collect this bigger book. It’s going to depend on how fervent fans of Spidey are … and how many parents want to buy this volume for their kids.
If this format becomes like variant or coloring covers, it’ll hopefully help attract newer, younger readers and introduce them to reading comics. That’s ALWAYS a good thing, I think!
Are you interested in Marvel Treasury Editions? Or maybe it doesn’t float your boat? Be sure to share your thoughts below![signoff predefined=”PayPal Donation”][/signoff]