Marvel Fanfare #1
Published and © by Marvel, March 1982
Title: “Fast Decent Into Hell!”
Synopsis: Peter Parker and Angel’s mission to the Savage Land is interrupted by a pterosaur and artificially evolved mutants.
Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Michael Golden
Review: Based on its creative team, this lead story should have been a surefire winner. But Chris Claremont’s story is heavy on setup and exposition. (Also, Peter Parker changing into his Spider-Man costume makes zero sense.) Michael Golden’s art is quite lovely, but not really improved by Marvel Fanfare’s slicker stock.
Synopsis: When drug addicts mug the neighborhood Santa, Daredevil leaps into action to help save Christmas.
Writer: Roger McKenzie
Penciler: Paul Smith
Inker: Terry Austin
Review: Early Paul Smith art isn’t enough to elevate this second story, which features sterotypical thugs and a melodramatic script.
Grade (for the entire issue): B+
Second opinion: “Golden’s art and colors on this good paper are worth the money to have.” – Matt Denn, Comics Coast to Coast #1, 1982 … “What fans got was a book they’d likely always dreamed about but thought would never happen!” – Pierre Comtois, “Marvel Comics in the 1980s: An Issue By Issue Field Guide to a Pop Culture,” 2014
Cool factor: An all-star lineup of writers and artists on a book targeting the emerging fan-supported direct market? That’s pretty cool.
Not-so-cool factor: What’s up with the nasal-gazing letter from Jim Shooter to Stan Lee?
Notable: Includes a Daredevil backcover by Frank Miller and a wraparound, inside cover featuring Spider-Man and the Silver Surfer by John Byrne and Terry Austin. … Also includes a one-page “Editori-Al” strip by Al Milgrom, and “An Open Letter to Stan Lee” from Jim Shooter, commemorating the latter man’s time as Marvel editor-in-chief.
Character quotable: “One thing about the X-Men, you can generally tell where they’ve been.” – Angel, surveying the ruins of a futuristic city in the Savage Land
A word from the editor: “The price is higher. That’s why we designed this comic to be direct sales only. We know that you discriminating readers are willing to pay more if you get a quality product. We think Marvel Fanfare qualifies!” – Al Milgrom, talking about the creative talent and paper quality, in this issue’s “Editori-Al”
Editor’s note: This review was written Aug. 26, 2021.