Giant-Size


Giant-Size Marvel, written by everybody, illustrated by everybody else (1970’s; collected 2007): Bad comic-book art in the 1970’s had a very distinctive feel: it tended to look simplistic in a bad way, and it was often inked by Vince Colletta. Colletta may have been a terrific guy, but as an inker he really should have been kept away from, well, almost everybody. Steve Ditko apparently used to visit the Marvel offices and give Stan Lee the Royal Stink-eye when he found out that Lee had again assigned Colletta to ink Jack Kirby on Thor.

And Kirby’s pencils were robust enough on Thor and New Gods to mostly withstand the reductive inks of Colletta, who had the super-power to make every male character’s face look exactly the same regardless of what the pencils looked like. Still, New Gods inked by Joe Sinnott would have been eight kinds of awesome. WHY DID EDITORS KEEP PUTTING COLLETTA ON KIRBY?!?!?!

As you can see, I really don’t like the inking of Vince Colletta. And I swear, he inks almost every story in this anthology of ‘Giant-Size’ Marvel specials from the 1970’s. Only the late, great, idiosyncratic Frank Robbins (on Giant-size Invaders#1) really survives the Colletta Blandification process relatively unscathed, probably because Robbins looks to have been a pretty tight penciller, and he didn’t really draw like anyone else at Marvel at the time. Still, some of those patented Colletta plastic-mannequin heads still manage to find themselves grafted onto Robbins characters on the occasional page. Ugh!

Otherwise, this anthology is pretty much a dog’s breakfast of the good (the aforementioned Invaders piece by Roy Thomas and Frank Robbins; the first appearance of the new X-Men by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum); the passable; and the unfortunate. I’m pretty sure I can live the rest of my life without reading another Tigra/Werewolf by Night crossover. Or another appearance of Man-Wolf. ‘Giant-size’ referred to the fact that these comics were 64 pages long (with ads) as opposed to the standard 32 pages with ads format of regular books. Not recommended unless you pay $5 for it like I did.

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