Cover Art: Michael Zeck, John Beatty
As we close the ‘second’ Marvel Secret Wars, it’s probably a good time to look at the classic cover of issue #1 which came out in May of 1984.
Many of us know the plot of how the Beyonder brought a who’s who of Marvel’s greatest heroes and villains (although I thought some better known villains could have been used) to battle each other as well as stop the threat of Galactus.
While the dialogue of the story didn’t age very well, this book set the stage for every event books that we have gotten since then. But the cover of the first issue is probably what brought a lot of people on board for this ride.
The significance of the cover is simply that this was the greatest lineup of Marvel heroes at that time all in one storyline which, at that point was a crossover that had never been seen before. Sure, for years, you may have had one or two characters showing up in someone else’s book, like Spider-Man teaming up with the Fantastic Four, but nothing like this.
On the cover, you have elements of the Avengers, X-Men and the Fantastic Four as well as a few solo characters going into battle. How could you resist getting this book? For many of us in the 80s, such a massive team up never seemed possible. It was as if Marvel was pulling every last toy out of the toy box all at once to set them up like green army men and then knock them down and we as the readers acted as the audience. This cover right here was the hook.
As I said earlier, while the dialogue wasn’t the greatest, and the story was so-so, the book was mostly about selling the toy line which came from it was well. The toy line didn’t do well but this comic laid the groundwork for every event book that has come from it in the 30+ years since. Comics like this, where you can see team ups and battles that you may not see elsewhere, owe it to this book and truthfully to the cover itself.
If you are ever interested in getting this book, I have seen a few raw copies range from $25 and up to $500 CGC graded.