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Good Archives - Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources

Gimmick or Good? – Amazing Spider-Man #400

In this column, Mark Ginocchio (from Chasing Amazing) takes a look at the gimmick covers from the 1990s and gives his take on whether the comic in question was just a gimmick or whether the comic within the gimmick cover was good. Hence “Gimmick or Good?” Here is an archive of all the comics featured so far. We continue with 1995′s die-cut embossed “tombstone” cover of Amazing Spider-Man #400…

ASM 400 cover

Amazing Spider-Man #400 (published April 1995) – script by J.M. DeMatteis, pencils by Mark Bagley, inks by Larry Mahlstedt

In an attempt to piggy-back on the enormous cultural and commercial success and impact of Amazing Spider-Man’s previous “centennial” issue (ASM #300), Marvel busted out a cavalcade of 1990s gimmicks for ASM #400. The front cover sported an embossed die-cut overlay in the shape of a tombstone, promoting a “death in the family” (Jason Todd was spared this time). And if that was not enough to titillate collectors, Marvel released a very limited edition variant cover with a snow white tombstone rather than the standard gray/off-white edition.

On a personal note, I will always remember how the release of this comic bought out the speculator in me. After kicking myself over the fact that my 7-year-old self destroyed the copy of ASM #300 I had picked up on the spinner rack when it first came out (forcing me to have to pay upwards of 30 times the cover price for a copy at a comic book show in the early 90s so I could own the first Venom story), I reserved TWO copies of ASM #400 at my local comic book shop months in advance: one for reading and one to preserve for the day it would inevitably accrue in value. I was ecstatic when the store owner called my house the night before the comic was released letting me know I could come by and get my copy AHEAD of everyone else. When I saw that tombstone on the cover, I was convinced that my college education would be paid for in no time.

But what about inside the comic?
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Gimmick or Good? – Silver Surfer #50

In this column, Mark Ginocchio (from Chasing Amazing) takes a look at the gimmick covers from the 1990s and gives his take on whether the comic in question was just a gimmick or whether the comic within the gimmick cover was good. Hence “Gimmick or Good?” Here is an archive of all the comics featured so far. We continue with 1991′s foil-embossed Silver Surfer #50…

SS50 Cover

Silver Surfer #50 (published June 1991) – Script by Jim Starlin, art by Ron Lim and Tom Christopher

To celebrate the 50th issue of Silver Surfer’s second series, Marvel unleashed one of its first embossed covers, adorning the titular character and the comic’s title in reflective silver foil. The embossed gimmick would go on to be used on countless other comic book covers throughout the 1990s, by both the “Big Two” and numerous independent publishers. Of course, in the case of this comic book, it actually made sense for the Silver Surfer to be … ahem … silver.

But what about inside the comic?
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Gimmick or Good? – Marvels #1-4

In this column, Mark Ginocchio (from Chasing Amazing) takes a look at the gimmick covers from the 1990s and gives his take on whether the comic in question was just a gimmick or whether the comic within the gimmick cover was good. Hence “Gimmick or Good?” Here is an archive of all the comics featured so far. We continue with 1994′s acetate plastic covered Marvels #1-4…

marvels1gg

Marvels #1-4 (published January 1994-April 1994) script by Kurt Busiek, art by Alex Ross

This mid-90s Eisner-award winning mini-series re-imagines some of the greatest Golden and Silver Age stories in Marvel comics history like the birth of the Human Torch and Sub-Mariner in pre-World War II America, and the death of Gwen Stacy in 1972, through the lens of fictional photographer Phil Sheldon. The series is also famous for introducing artist Alex Ross and his painted covers and interiors to the mainstream comics consuming public. Still, rather than just letting the classic stories and wholly unique artwork speak for themselves, Marvel packaged each of the comics like commemorative books of artwork – complete with “protective” acetate plastic covers (which actually scratch more easily than standard covers) and a hefty (for the time) price tag of $4.95/$5.95 an issue.

But what about inside the comic?
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