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Lest We Should Goof...!

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In 1983 Marvel comics were targetted by corporate raider Mario Gabelli, who attempted a hostile takeover of the company. Marvel needed money, quickly, to fight him off, and so then-President Jim Galton ordered Jim Shooter to churn out a series of reprints one-shots that could raise cash without involving much expenditure. Today we're looking at one of those one-shots, 'The Official Marvel No-Prize Book'.

As anyone who follows this sort of thing knows, a 'No-Prize' is awarded not just for spotting a mistake, but also for offering an in-continuity explanation that means it's not an error at all. This book, however, does no such thing, instead giving a list of mistakes through the ages like a 'blooper reel'. Actually, when I say it offers mistakes through the ages, it actually concentrates almost entirely on those made in the very early days of Marvel. I can see that there would have been more errors back then, with a small team of creators bashing out the whole line under Stan Lee's less than exacting editorial eye (a lot of the mistakes are by him!), but still I would have thought there'd be a few more modern examples. Maybe Jim Shooter didn't like to admit to them? The comic makes no bones about the fact that it's a money-making exercise. The credits on the inside cover begin with "These people, who all love their jobs, were totally against this dumb idea*" with the note adding below "*But Jim Shooter backed a truck up to the office filled with so much money... well... what would you do?"

The comic is narrated by a caricature of Stan Lee who seems to be wearing a very badly fitted toupee. Maybe that's the cause of the rather strongly worded editorial where Lee states (semi-humorously) "I had nothing to do with this fiasco! That's not me talking !" It's all in line with the self-depreciating humour of Marvel, but something here feels like there's a little more truth in it than usual.

Doctor Doom does not appear inside the comic itself, but is (sort of) the cover star, as we see him pulling off his mask to reveal the face of Stan Lee. Apparently Jack Kirby once drew a similar caricature of Lee as Doom shortly after he left for DC comics, but I can't find any evidence of it online. There are, however, plenty of images of Funky Flashman's, Kirby's even less well-toupeed version of Lee from The New Gods! That's just about your lot for narrative appearances by Doctor Doom, however slimly connected they might be, but come back next time for a great big round up of all the other bits and bobs I've found over the past few years!

link to information about this issue

posted 8/10/2021 by Mark Hibbett

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DOOMBOT FILTER: an animal that says 'moo' (3)

(e.g. for an animal that says 'cluck' type 'hen')

A process blog about Doctor Doom in The Marvel Age written by Mark Hibbett