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…
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.
With the popularity of superheroes there is much talk about the modern mythology we’re creating. But the movies aren’t being made about any old superheroes, the most popular heroes are the golden and silver age ones who not only fight evil operating on their own authority, but are motivated by a need to support the weak, to help the poor and generally aspire to lofty, humanitarian goals. These are not the violent vigilantes of modern superhero creation, but the old guard, created not to uphold the status quo, nor to simply destroy criminals, but above all to help the helpless. These are the superheroes that have universal appeal because they embody the dreams of humanity to propagate a healthy future.