Marvel’s 1970s output, for me anyways, is the most insane, wonderful work to ever come out of any of the major companies, and two titles stand tall above the rest: Steve Gerber’s Man-Thing and Don McGregor’s stint on T’Challa, the Black Panther, in the pages of the unfortunately titled “Jungle Action”. McGregor was a pioneer, breaking all sorts of taboos and barriers and standing his ground, creating a book that is just this perfect combination of exploitation pulp adventure and thoughtful, intelligent storytelling. This storyline is notable for being possibly the height of both, and this cover is one of those ones I can remember seeing for the first time as a kid at my local comic shop- I bought it immediately. I liquidated most of my single issues last year, but my complete run of singles on this title was one that made the cut and I suspect always will, even with my nice hardcover edition on my bookshelf.
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #14 (1980). Art by Frank Miller; Words by Denny O’Neil.
Miller took storytelling advice from Jim Shooter; they’d get drinks and talk about Matt Murdock’s character and motivations. When Denny O’Neil took over the editorial reins of Daredevil, he, too, took Miller under his wing. “He was one of the best students I ever had,” O’Neil said. “We would play volleyball on Sunday afternoons, and when everybody would walk to Nathan’s for hot dogs afterward, he’d ask me questions about my work. He became like a second son.” They shared meals two or three times a week, picking apart stories and discussing their craft. O’Neil hired Miller to draw an Amazing Spider-Man annual, and together they plotted a story in which Spider-Man, looking for Doctor Strange, found himself at a punk-rock show at the Bowery club C.B.G.B. It was a perfect introduction to Frank Miller’s aesthetic: while the rest of Marvel’s heroes were still lingering at stale discos, Miller ripped it up and started again, with a stripped-down vocabulary and a throwback to the grit, violence, and threat of the early 1950s.
This is it—with this advertisement, the Marvel Age truly began. The first branding of the “Marvel Comics Group.” The first mention of “The House of Ideas.” The first time this many characters from different titles shared a page.
From Fantastic Four #14, published February 12, 1963.