Changes to 1960s Marvel covers

Over at his blog, Ferran Delgado’s been posting some comparisons between the cover stats that Marvel Comics sent to the Spanish publisher and the covers Marvel published. Ferran’s generously allowed me to share some of his content here. Thank you, Ferran! – http://ferrandelgado.blogspot.com/

Note the grey-toning of the buildings in the background on the right, additional figures, the shadows of the monster….

1961 - Fantastic Four 1 cover comparison

1961 – Fantastic Four 1 cover comparison

Word balloons, character name bursts, issue number, picture frames.

1962 - Fantastic Four 2 cover comparison

1962 – Fantastic Four 2 cover comparison

Black Panther’s trunks, mask and cape.

1966 - Fantastic Four 52 cover comparison

1966 – Fantastic Four 52 cover comparison

Crackle on the stat, buildings on the cover…

1967 - Fantastic Four 65 cover comparison

1967 – Fantastic Four 65 cover comparison

Crackle on the stat, empty space on the cover

1967 - Fantastic Four 69 cover comparison

1967 – Fantastic Four 69 cover comparison

Shadows, speed lines and crackle on the stat, space on the cover

1968 - Fantastic Four 71 cover comparison

1968 – Fantastic Four 71 cover comparison

Marvel’s Greatest Comics cover in 1975 returned some of the speed lines and crackle

1968 - Another Fantastic Four 71 cover comparison

1968 – Another Fantastic Four 71 cover comparison

Crackle blackened

1968 - Fantastic Four 78 cover comparison

1968 – Fantastic Four 78 cover comparison

1975’s Marvel’s Greatest Comics cover removed the added black, but did not restore the crackle. Also adjustments to Ben Grimm’s face.

1968 - Another Fantastic Four 78 cover comparison

1968 – Another Fantastic Four 78 cover comparison

Architectural element & shadows on the stat, outline around story title; not on the cover. Note the shape of the shadow to the left of the Thing’s foot

1968 - Fantastic Four 79 cover comparison

1968 – Fantastic Four 79 cover comparison

1976’s Marvel’s Greatest Comics edition returned the architectural element around the background figures, and the shape of the shadow by the Thing’s foot!

1968 - Another Fantastic Four 79 cover comparison

1968 – Another Fantastic Four 79 cover comparison

Added black background, removed black on Tomazooma’s torso

1968 - Fantastic Four 80 cover comparison

1968 – Fantastic Four 80 cover comparison

1976’s Marvel’s Greatest Comics cover returned the shadow on Tomazooma’s torso

1968 - Another Fantastic Four 80 cover comparison

1968 – Another Fantastic Four 80 cover comparison

Story title different

1969 - Fantastic Four 93 cover comparison

1969 – Fantastic Four 93 cover comparison

Buildings added, word balloons removed, web increased to full cover

1963 - Strange Tales Annual 2 cover comparison

1963 – Strange Tales Annual 2 cover comparison

 

8 thoughts on “Changes to 1960s Marvel covers

  1. Barry Pearl

    I have no real evidence to confirm this, but I suspect we can deduce the reason that the cover to Fantastic Four #52, the costume of the Black Panther was changed.

    This was a real weird time in America, the civil rights movement was on and many new laws were passed. Just the year before, in 1965, Dell comics put out a western comic, Lobo, that featured a black hero on the cover. Normally, companies took about six months to get in the sales figures, but according to Tony Tallarico, the artist, so many of these comics were returned, up opened that they actually cancelled the printing of the second issue while it was on the press.

    I suspect that the powers that be at Marvel, decided that the Panther should have a full mask to hide from the southern newsstands that the Panther was black. A year before, in the Rawhide Kid, they had a character called the Panther on the cover with no repercussions. He was white but had a full mask.

    Also note that on many of the Marvel comic covers for the next five or so years, he was referred to as the Panther, leaving out the word “Black.”

    Reply
    1. Danny Slater

      Interesting explanation, Thanks. Trying to understand though – If it took 6 months to get feedback from an issue, when was the FF #52 issue with the Black Panther’s reissued to places in the South?

      Reply
  2. Ferran DELGADO

    Barry,

    Thanks for the context, because for people outside the USA like I, this explains many things.

    In fact, in a future post I’ll show a comparison of the TOS #98 cover were the word “Black” was removed from the original cover.

    Keep tuned!

    Reply
  3. Dan Petitpas

    I found the stat images very interesting. It’s almost like restoring an old painting and finding additional stuff underneath the layers of varnish and repairs! I always wondered why FF 2 and FF 79 had such bland backgrounds. On FF 52, the Black Panther looks like Daredevil, so I think that’s why he was given a full mask rather than him being black. It also seems that Marvel was anti-crackle, cutting down on Kirby’s clouds of energy, toning down the excitement. (Could it be because Marvel was afraid of the Comics Code?) I would also suggest that the title “At the Mercy of Torgo” was too reminiscent of Marvel’s monster comics from years earlier and was changed because of that. On Strange Tales Annual 2, it seems strange to see the word “callouses” on a cover!

    Reply
  4. Ferran DELGADO

    Marvel reprints also published unretouched covers.

    A really nice case is the cover of Journey into Mystery #83, Thor’s first appearance, which was printed in the book Origins of Marvel Comics fully unretouched, as opposite to the spanish edition. It had many Lava men removed around Thor’s figure as seen here:
    http://ferrandelgado.blogspot.com.es/2012/05/grandes-retoques-en-al-portada-de.html

    Dan, it’s funny that you comment the likeness among Plack Panther and DD in the cover FF #52 because in the spanish edition the colorist got confused and painted Black Panther with red. It was corrected in the second edition.

    Reply
  5. Shane Foley

    MGC version of FF 70 has no flames around the Torch, making me wonder if that’s the way Jack drew it. There is also a change in Sue’s stance. On FF 60, there is minor retouching, with a glow added around Dr Doom.
    Jack’s Avengers 28 cover had some of the background black deleted, with the original version on display in Essential Avengers 2. (Buscema’s Avengers 46 cover had a similar excise of black on his cover. Again, the Essentials version shows the difference.)
    And of course there’s the changes on FF 64 and Thor 148.

    Reply

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