AVENGERS #28 May 1966
Jack Kirby and Frank Giacoia original artists
This cover comes with a really silly story. No no no--NOT the one included with the comic book itself. That's a typically solid Stan Lee/Don Heck outing bringing the recently disenfranchised Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne back into the Marvel Universe thick. Only now, while she's still the Wasp, the erstwhile Giant-Man has transformed himself into Goliath. New name, new costume, but sadly, same old results. Try as they might, the folks in the Bullpen could never quite push the size-changing scientist past B-level status. But I always thought this issue was a particularly nice attempt, and had fond memories of it for many, many years. Which sorta leads into the goofy story...
I was in college at the time, living off campus with a couple of friends. Lynn and I were already together, and she was well aware of my ...ahem...eccentricities by that time, so when I saw a reprint of this very issue in the cheapie bin at my local comics store, I figured, why not? I hadn't scared her off yet, so I decided to proceed with a little, somewhat unorthodox, project. Now, at this late date, I couldn't possibly tell you where I got the idea from, but the plan, in a nutshell, was this: excise said cover from reprint comic, double-side glue it with rubber cement to a piece of thin but still stiff cardboard, whip out the ol' exacto knife, and carefully--VERY carefully!-- cut it through, out and around the five gaudily costumed figures. Once it's separated from the remainder of the illustration, make a triangle with a portion of the excess cardboard and tape it to the back of the now substantially weighted down drawing. Once properly adjusted, stand it up, and you have yourself a fine looking conversation piece!! Or more likely, one that'll stop the conversation DEAD!?! (...which, in certain circumstances, can ALSO be handy!...) That's right, folks, while toiling away at an institution of higher learning, I took some valuable time off to make myself a TOY!?! Hey, you've gotta remember--in the mid-seventies, decent licensed products from Marvel were few and far between. You young 'uns have it easy--back in those days, you had to make your own. Well, you didn't HAVE to, but heh, I did. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I should add that I only ever created one other in the limited edition line of Hembeck Produced Marvel Standees (patent pending)--a real obscure character known as the Scarecrow (benefiting from some fine Gil Kane/ Berni Wrightson art) stood alongside the assembled Avengers on my night bureau for many a year. Yeah, I still have 'em, but they've been packed away for the last six years, pretty much since we moved to our new location. Maybe I'll go fish 'em outta storage and then set 'em up next to the computer? Y'know, as inspiration?
Nah. That would be silly...