Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Those were the days

I was perusing the Conan issues from MARVEL TREASURY EDITION when I came across this ad in the interior backcover for MTE #19 (1978). And it took me back a few wonderful years. Although I only started reading Marvel comic books in the early 80s through the Brasilian translations from Editora Abril (before that I'd read the DC Comics that were published by EBAL, also a Brasilian publisher), these were the exact three titles I was reading when I first discovered Sword & Sorcery, Conan and Sonja. At the time, Abril’s superhero comic books  were made up of collections of several stories that in American comics had been published in single issues. They were a little over the traditional digest size (being 19x13cm) and ran for 82 pages. They had titles like Superaventuras Marvel or HerĂ³is da TV. Conan and Sonja were usually featured in the pages of the former, alongside Daredevil, Doctor Strange, the X-Men or Kull. As they didn’t print the entire series run for each character, but only selected stories, a typical issue would be extremely varied; take for instance issue #5 from Supervanturas Marvel (one of my favourites, cover dated November 1982, which means I would have read it about six months later – that was the time it took before they could be sold across the Atlantic): you would have the two stories from CONAN THE BARBARIAN #8 and #10 (1971), the Doctor Strange story from MARVEL PREMIERE #8 (1972), and the Daredevil story from DAREDEVIL #166 (1980).  The Portuguese language editions were coming out with over two years delay relative to the original American publication and sometimes, as was the case with SAM#5, with over ten years delay, which meant they had all this wonderful backlog of issues to choose from, something from which they took full advantage. Athough I guess some great stories went unpublished, I don’t recall many duds that were. Then, in 1984, Abril started publishing A Espada Selvagem de Conan (THE SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN) in all its glorious black-and-white grandeur (although with some extra inking to hide some undully exposed breasts, if I recall faithfully). Be as it may, those were the three titles I was reading at the time I was fourteen, in a hapilly serendipitous way in the mid-eighties. And so it was a nostalgic rush I got from this advert with the unmistakable art of John Buscema. Those were the days, all right.

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