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 Heróis 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 Athough I guess some great stories went unpublished, I don’t recall many duds that were.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.