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Review: Marvel Fanfare #1

Marvel Fanfare #1 cover
Cover by Michael Golden

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.

•••

Title: “Snow”
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?

Marvel Fanfare #1 back cover
Back cover by Frank Miller

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.

Marvel Fanfare #1 inside wraparound cover
Inside wraparound cover by John Byrne and Terry Austin

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