Monday, August 22, 2011

Review: Avengers- The Contest ...of Champions

AVENGERS: THE CONTEST (Marvel, 2010; Hardcover)
Collects Marvel Super Heroes Contest of Champions Nos. 1-3, West Coast Avengers Annual No. 2 and Avengers Annual No. 16 (cover dates June, 1982- 1987)
For Marvel to re-brand this hardcover reissue of the Contest of Champions TPB as an Avengers book is interesting. It will obviously help it in terms of recognition among modern comic fans, but the reality of it is that the original mini-series was not on Avengers story. Instead, it was the first time that any comic book company had a story that featured every single hero they had in a giant “event”, pre-dating the other famous crossovers by two years. The A to Z supplements in the back of each issue also pre-date the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, which in turn pre-dated DC's Who's Who? Handbook series.
In the olden days, before the Internet, kids read comic books and showed their collections to one another. My friend Joey had issue 3 of this series when it came out, and I was awestruck by these heroes whom I had never seen. Sasquatch? Collective Man? Arabian Knight?? Wow! I tracked down cheap-o back issues of this series circa 1985-86, and bought the old trade paperback of this series many years ago. I am opposed to the triple dip, but I got a brand new, mint condition, factory sealed copy of this for $10 at a comic convention. This is the definitive version of this classic, with superior linework and color restoration over the old TPB, and nice paper and sewn binding to boot.
If you've never read this series, I'd say that you owe it to yourself to check it out. What self respecting comic book fan wouldn't want to see what all of these crappy crossovers that we are plagued with nowadays began as. They were really cool, creative ideas at one point in time. Now they are a sales the triple dip.

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