MS. CAPTAIN MARVEL: CARD SHARP

KC Carlson

KC Carlson


A KC COLUMN by KC Carlson

Captain Marvel: Ms. Marvel — A Hero Is Born Omnibus Amanda Conner & Laura Martin cover

Captain Marvel: Ms. Marvel — A Hero Is Born Omnibus Amanda Conner & Laura Martin cover


Today we’re talking about the newly issued Captain Marvel: Ms. Marvel — A Hero Is Born Omnibus — a just-over-700-page collection of the first Ms. Marvel series, plus numerous guest appearances from this era, and including post-cancellation issues that appeared elsewhere. Here’s the factual portion of this blog… followed by something a little more silly.

Ms. Marvel #10

Ms. Marvel #10


The substantial hardcover collects Ms. Marvel #1-23 (1977-1979), Marvel Team-Up (1st Series) #61-62 and #76-77, Defenders #57, Marvel Two-in-One #51, Avengers #200, Avengers Annual #10, and material (individual stories) from Avengers #197-199, Marvel Super Heroes (2nd Series) #10-11, and Marvel Fanfare #24. It’s written by Chris Claremont, Gerry Conway, and others, with art by Jim Mooney, Mike Vosburg, Dave Cockrum, John Buscema, Sal Buscema, Joe Sinnott, David Hunt, Keith Pollard, Sam Grainger, and others. Because even chunky books can’t escape variant covers these days, you have a choice of one by Amanda Conner & Laura Martin or one by John Romita Sr.

Captain Marvel: Ms. Marvel — A Hero Is Born Omnibus John Romita Sr. cover

Captain Marvel: Ms. Marvel — A Hero Is Born Omnibus John Romita Sr. cover


This slab of fun reading includes (beyond the stories themselves) Gerry Conway’s essay “Welcome to the Treehouse” from issue #1. Conway conceived the Ms. Marvel character and wrote the first two issues. (“With more than a little aid and abetment from Carla Conway” says a helpful caption.) Issue #2’s lettercol is also a hoot, as Conway returns with a big announcement — he’s leaving the title with that issue! Chris Claremont jumps in and writes the next 21 issues as well as several guest appearances of Ms. Marvel — including the notorious* Avengers Annual #10 (the last full-length story in this book). Also included is the follow-up story from Marvel Fanfare #24 (from 1986) where Ms. Marvel “returns to say farewell to a dear friend.”

  • Marvel’s history includes one of those stories that didn’t seem quite so weird at the time as we realized it was later, with our heroine mind-washed, impregnated, and kidnapped by a villain as all her friends stood around and gave her happy romantic best wishes. The Annual is where Carol Danvers chews out her former teammates for not understanding what was really happening to her.
Avengers Annual #10

Avengers Annual #10


By the way, the lettercols from the original issues are also included, as are all the covers. No variants, however. Thankfully, that nightmare wouldn’t happen for many many more years.

Also included are a number of single issues of Ms. Marvel by folks like George Pérez, John Byrne, Frank Miller, Howard Chaykin, and David Michelinie & Michael Golden. And when I say “others” I mean a lot of folks. This was a series that had a lot of creators “stop by” for an issue or two and then move on. The book itself has two full pages of creator credits — including 15 colorists and 10 editors.

I DON’T COUNT ON CARDS

Marvel Two-in-One #51

Marvel Two-in-One #51


It has to be said that not all the “extra” stuff is stellar reading, which is frequently the case in compiling these “everything plus the kitchen sink” mega-volumes, but every so often, a lost gem appears. This volume is no exception to this rule, as it includes Marvel Two-in-One #51 by writer Peter Gillis, penciller Frank Miller, and inker Bob McLeod. First published in 1979, the issue starts off as an anomaly with its four (not just one) guest-stars: The Beast, Ms. Marvel (which is why it’s included here), Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD, and the safari-jacketed Wonder Man. It’s also notorious as being the first in-comics appearance of The Floating Super-Hero Poker Game at Marvel.

Ben Grimm (The Thing) is credited as the “creator” of this dubious achievement because of all the poker games held at the Baxter Building over the years. But Marvel Two-in-One #51 is the first in-print appearance (despite Grimm not being present). Other players over the years include Avengers butler Edwin Jarvis, DA Blake Tower (both in MTIO #51), Captain America, The Wasp, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Giant-Man, Wolverine, Monica Rambeau (as Captain Marvel), Mr. Fantastic, Gambit, Human Torch, Dr. Strange, Angel, Iceman, Storm, Cannonball, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Crystal, She-Hulk, Spider-Man, Black Cat, and the Kingpin.

The Thing #8

The Thing #8


Other key appearances of the game throughout Marvel history range from the extreme to the absurd. For Ben Grimm’s bar mitzvah in The Thing (v.2, #8), there was a huge crowd invited (most were previous players), and the key uninvited guest was the Impossible Man. I bet you know how that went… The Great Lakes Avengers were also in attendance. Anybody remember them? This was the last big superhero gathering before Marvel’s Civil War event.

Later, when Captain America was thought dead (in Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America #2), the Thing organized a secret poker game with Cap’s former Secret Avengers: Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Spider-Woman, and Spider-Man. Probably one of the more unusual pairings was Ben and Gambit vs. members of the Yancy Street Gang (in A+X #6).

Sometimes I wish there was a comic just devoted to The Floating Super-Hero Poker Game. I loved that era when Marvel frequently did crazy stuff like that.

ALSO THIS WEEK IN CAPTAIN MARVEL LAND

Captain Marvel: Braver & Mightier

Captain Marvel: Braver & Mightier


Captain Marvel: Braver & Mightier: A one-shot special written by Jody Houser, art by Simone Buonfantino, and covers by Valerio Schiti and Ron Lim. Captain Marvel is a hero to many people. So, what could possibly delay her to her own celebration? Captain Marvel has some tough choices to make!

True Believers: Captain Marvel: The New Ms. Marvel #1

True Believers: Captain Marvel: The New Ms. Marvel #1


Also, special True Believers editions of Captain Marvel: Avenger #1, Captain Marvel: Betrayed #1, and Captain Marvel: The New Ms. Marvel #1. All three of these specially priced reprints are just $1.00 each! (And there were a bunch more released earlier this month!) Marvel Comics’ greatest value!

Why all these marvels? Don’t forget that the Captain Marvel film opens next weekend! Check your local listings for possible Thursday night “stealth” showings in your area! And there are predictions that the film might open HUGE (like Black Panther HUGE!)!

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KC CARLSON sez: Whenever I’m asked what my favorite Marvel comic book is, I often say Marvel Two-in-One #51. Then I really annoy people by saying “You can bet on it!”

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. My grandmother taught me how to play poker. When I was five. Explains a lot, don’t it? When she passed away years ago, I inherited her poker chips (which I still have). You know what’s weird? I don’t even like poker. But I loved playing cards with my grandma.

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  1. Margaret Says:

    Games at Grandma Lil’s were the best. Who’s up for a rousing game of Carems?