Monday, August 24, 2009

Giant-Size Avengers #1: John Romita Sr. Cover Evolution

The Marvel Bullpen Bulletins had whipped me up into a frenzy in anticipation of the Avengers new larger than 20 cent title back in 1974.  At first they were going to co-star in a rotating wheel title called Giant-Size Super-Teams (along with the Defenders and Fantastic Four).  A month or so later, the BB announced they were going to be in a title called Avengers Super Giant.  But when it finally arrived it was, like everything else, GIANT-SIZED!

Giant-Size Avengers 1 cover by John Romita 1974

The cover by John Romita Sr. is certainly dynamic, despite the sidebars, word balloons, and logos.  You’ve got the big three—Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man—plus the central characters of the Avengers—the Vision and Scarlet Witch—in the background.

Giant Size Avengers 1 cover sketches by John Romita

In an issue of FOOM, we got an inside look at the making of this cover.  John Romita (1st and final one) and Rich Bucker (last two concept ones) did these sketches of three possible covers.  Notice that two of them have the Super-Giant title.  From what I gather, Romita took some of Buckler’s sketch (#2) and made Thor even more centrally prominent to draw the reader’s attention.  Of course, the FOOM proofreaders took a break the day this page went to press…spelling GIANT as GAINT.

I don’t have a scan of the original Romita black and white art to Giant-Size Avengers #1.  If you do, please send it to me and I will add it here!

Giant-Size Avengers 1 double page spread by Rich Buckler 1974

The story in Giant-Size Avengers #1 was by Roy Thomas, who brought back some of the Golden Age characters, most notably, the Whizzer.  The art was by Rich Buckler, who drew the Avengers in epic Kirby-esque proportions.  Most of them look fantastic, except for Mantis, who looks like a sumo wrestler instead of a svelte Kung Fu expert.  While it was an interesting story, I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t tie in directly with the main Avengers book.  For that event, we’d have to wait until issue #2, when regular writer Steve Englehart took over.  Nuff said.

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