Thursday, February 18, 2016

Twice Told Tales : Mike Zeck´s Spider - Man

In my post with John Romita Sr´s AMAZING SPIDER - MAN issues 108 and 109 I mentioned the reprint comic MARVEL TALES and posted some of Mike Zeck´s brilliant covers for the series ( and of George Perez ). As a big fan of Mike Zeck´s work I thought why not make a full post out of it ?

The only problem was that I was not the first one who ever had the idea.

There´s a post on GIANT - SIZE MARVEL with 5 of these covers and with a bigger size than you will find here. You can also find a post on MARVEL COMICS OF THE 1980s with all of Mike Zeck´s covers for the series ( again in a bigger size than here ) and a post with the original art for issues 210 and 212 of MARVEL TALES. There are also some great Mike Zeck G. I. JOE covers to be found on that site. Now I definitely wanted to include the black and white art but what else could I do to come up with a unique twist ? What something that hasn´t been done before with this ?

Now I´m always working on posts even when it looks like I don´t. Which is mostly because there is a lot of work involved that has to do with preparation that you don´t see on the blog but that´s also important.

So besides the Mike Zeck covers for MARVEL TALES and the ones from George Perez I also had some covers by Ron Lim that included some issues that were included in the Epic Collection SPIDER - MAN : GHOSTS OF THE PAST ( which I got from amazon´s new and used books section for 14 EUROS ) about which I plan to write a post pretty soon. Now I was pretty sure I knew which MARVEL TALES Ron Lim cover belonged to which original issue of AMAZING SPIDER - MAN and I sorted them accordingly but because I like to double and triple check things before I put them on the blog for all time - a habit that has saved me some embarrassment so far - I went to the GRAND COMIC DATABASE to make sure and lo and behold, while I was spot on with some of the covers there was a great number where I was totally off. So I´m going to throw everything into this post : the Mike Zeck covers, the original art - where I could find it - and the issue of AMAZING SPIDER - MAN they correspond to which might surprise you in some cases. Now MARVEL TALES 209 reprints AMAZING SPIDER - MAN 129 which has been hommaged quite a few times over the years.

Here´s the original art of Mike Zeck´s cover for MARVEL TALES 210.

Okay, here we have Spider - Man and the South American villain Tarantula fighting on a ship so it should not be difficult guessing this one, right ?

Okay, this one IS pretty easy : AMAZING SPIDER - MAN 134. By the way you may have noticed that the covers I posted from AMAZING SPIDER - MAN so far are not the ones from the american edition. As I said I wanted to make this post special so I thought why not include some foreign comic covers ? For my readers from the United States this is an interesting peek to how the covers are translated to foreign editions and for me it´s less work since I can use covers I already have. There will however be some original US covers, mostly where I didn´t have another version handy.

Our next Mike Zeck cover is MARVEL TALES 211. Here´s the original art :

So here we got Spidey and the Punisher coming through a window with shattered glass fying everywhere, guns a - blazing. Does it look familiar ?

Well, if it doesn´t it´s because the cover by John Romita Sr doesn´t look like this at all. Here´s the original art for AMAZING SPIDER - MAN 135.

It´s a totally different design. Instead of Spider - Man and the Punisher side by side here we have Spider - Man prominently in the middle with the Punisher sharing the background with the rest of the supporting cast.

Our last original Mike Zeck art is for the cover of MARVEL TALES 212.

Another great Spider - Man / Punisher cover ( he was used quite a lot during that time ) but for which issue of AMAZING SPIDER - MAN ?

Actually MARVEL TALES 212 didn´t reprint any issue of AMAZING SPIDER - MAN and instead contained the first half of GIANT - SIZE SPIDER - MAN 4.

The second part of this oversized comic book was put in MARVEL TALES 213 so there is no corresponding SPIDER - MAN cover for this one.

Now some of you might say that it´s not that difficult to figure out to which issues of AMAZING SPIDER - MAN the covers of MARVEL TALES correspondent because you just have to go in chronological order. But as you have seen MARVEL TALES jumped from issue 129 right to issue 134.

I´m not sure about the reason for this but the series jumps back after issue 136 to the first Ditko issues, then reprints some MARVEL TEAM - UP issues before coming to the issues with the Mike Zeck covers. I think they concentrated on the issues with the Punisher in them to capitalize on his popularity and because they had already reprinted these issues earlier they made some new covers for these. Anyway, this cover is really easy to guess since you have spider - Man, Nightcrawler and the Punisher on it.

As you can see we´ve made another jump and to tell the truth I was expecting a different cover. So what´s the next MARVEL TALES cover ?

Okay, that doesn´t ring any bell. And the reason for that is that it reprints the issue I was thinking about earlier AMAZING SPIDER - MAN 162. You see, the reason why I was thinking about this issue earlier is that issues 161 and 162 of AMAZING SPIDER - MAN are reprinted in DIE SPINNE COMIC - JUBILÄUMS - SONDERHEFT NR 1, a special 48 page comic celebrating 20 years of Spider - Man in Germany and since they had to choose one cover they decided to go with issue 162 because it´s obviously the better cover.

There are still a few Mike Zeck MARVEL TALES issues to cover.

This is another case where I wasn´t familiar with the original cover which is probably due to the fact that I stopped buying ESSENTIAL SPIDER - MAN with volume 7 which only goes to AMAZING SPIDER - MAN issue 160. So I had to use GRAND COMICS DATABASE for all of the following ones.

Mike Zeck draws a mean Punisher. Too bad the big publishers don´t have any idea what to do with him but maybe that´s for the better considering how bad their current output is. Maybe he would be better off doing his creator owned thing. At least Disney brought out the MIKE ZECK CLASSIC MARVEL STORIES ARTIST EDITION but so far I have only seen it at one online comic shop and with a price of more than 150 EUROS I´d have to sell a kidney to buy it. Anyone know somebody who doesn´t need his ?

Now I didn´t immediately make the connection but I was a bit surprised that MARVEL TALES 218 reprints AMAZING SPIDER - MAN issue 201.

Because the cover to MARVEL TALES 219 looks more like the cover above.

The only way I can explain that is that Mike Zeck decided to switch these because he had a good alternative idea he could use for the cover of issue 201 but could not come up with a new layout for the cover of issue 202.  

With MARVEL TALES 220 we make the jump to a different Spider book.

It´s a reprint of PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER - MAN 81 guest starring the team of Cloak & Dagger who were very popular when I was still reading comics in the german translation from Condor Verlag.

Which is probably why they were put in this story with the Punisher.

The last few original covers really are not that convincing to me.

Maybe it´s just me but I think Mike Zeck was born to draw the Punisher. Has a guy in handcuffs ever looked so menacing only by standing there ?

Compared to that the original cover is just all over the place.

And that´s all for Today. I still have a few covers from MARVEL TALES and the issues they reprinted but for me Mike Zeck deserves his own post.

The title of Today´s post was taken from the movie Twice - Told Tales from 1963 starring Vincent Price. Funny enough the title of the movie was taken from the short story collection in 2 volumes by Nathaniel Hawthorne which was published under that name. It was chosen since the stories in the collections had been previously published in magazines and annuals just like the stories in Marvel Tales. The movietells three stories of which only two were actually written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Dr. Heidegger´s Experiment and Rappacchini´s Daughter of which only the first one was published in Twice - Told Tales. The movie might seem a bit tame to Today´s oversaturated audiences but if you have the chance watch it.

One of Mike Zeck´s best works without any doubt and one of THE best Spider - Man stories PERIOD is Kraven´s Last Hunt by J. M. DeMatteis. I´m probably going to do a DEATH IN COMICS post about it somewhere along the line but until then here is a motion comic about the saga.

Okay, I really have to start taking deleting bookmarks once I have posted them more seriously because this is the second time I had to replace the original video because I have already posted it. Anyway, this one stays.

I already posted the original verson of this so here is the german video. It goes more into detail about collecting comics to invest for my taste but it´s the only german comic video that included comic books from Marvel.

I think my readers deserve a break from all the lip sync battle videos so I went back - and quite a lot back to tell the truth - to go over the last casting show videos I posted to find out that it´s the guy´s turn again. And because of Twice - Told Tales I think Superstition fits just fine.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest / best of the best

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