Maximum Anniversary X-Perience (1993)
Hey y’all, it’s Sunday — and so, howsabout we do something a little weird, eh? It’s nice to change things up a bit every now and then… x-specially considering how “samey” our Vignettes are feeling. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m starting to feel like I’m in a Groundhog Day situation with some’a them. The stories aren’t the same… but, the “trappings” and tone are… if that makes any sense…?
Anyway — let’s shift gears on this Sunday, and take a look at an odd piece of “x-phemera“. You all know I love my X-Men ephemera… almost as much as I love forcing horrible portmanteaus. As is normal, I found today’s piece in what I lovingly refer to as a “trash box” in the back corner of a local comics shop. A “trash box” is… well, a box full of stuff that even most comics fans wouldn’t consider worth rifling through. Odd papers, pamphlets, post cards, ancient magazines — ya know, stuff ya probably couldn’t get a whole lotta likes on Twitter for, or make much money on eBay with.
As the “fake ass comics historian” I present myself as being, I find (probably too much) value in some of the weirdest and niche bits of ephemera — and, as such, I am immediately drawn to the “trash box”, anytime I see one. There have even been times where this box of goodies was a literal “trash box”… like, moments away from being plopped in the dumpster. Shop owners are usually surprised and amused when I ask if I might take a look… even more so, when I actually find something I want to take home with me.
Today’s piece is one of those things. A retailer-friendly promotional somethin’rnother all about the 30th Anniversaries of the X-Men and the Avengers. This is the point in the pre-ramble where I’d say that this’ll be a “Just the X, ma’am” look at this thing… but, Marvel’s PR department pretty much already took care of that for me! There are only a couple of pages in this entire portfolio dedicated to Earth’s Mightiest! For completionists’ sake, I’ll include ’em.
I’ll act as your 1993 tour guide, but I’m not sure x-actly how much “commentary” I’ll be providing below the dashes, as — a lot of this stuff doesn’t require any, plus — I’m not nearly as witty as I like to think I am, and so I’d only be distracting from the oddity that is — the Maximum Anniversary X-Perience!
Our inside front-cover advertises the Larry Hama/Mark Texeira Sabretooth miniseries, complete with die-cut gimmick cover on its first issue. This is the first we’ll see of there being an attempt made at synergy between the X-Men cartoo– er, “Animated Series” and the comics. Y’ever notice when “comics scholars” don’t care for a toon, it’s just a cartoon — but, when they do, it’s “upgraded” to Animated Series? Ehh, maybe I’m projecting.
Next, we’re welcomed to the x-perience… and, thankfully this was written in 1993 and not “current year”, because I’m sure they’d drop a line about how they “hope we survive it…” It’s written with this “hello, fellow kids” sorta jive, which… we’re about to find out, is the tone of the day. This bit x-plains everything we’re about to see… however, since we’re going to keep reading anyway, I won’t spill those beans here.
From here, we learn that the Hunt for Magneto is on! If you were reading X-Men (or Avengers) comics back in ye old 1993, you’ll probably remember this contest… for a few reasons. First, they had to do with a “scratch off” card that came stapled in the middle of your books — which, speculators and fans of the day probably faced an internal struggle with. Honestly, in an era where we were really pushing the concept of comics-as-investments, it’s kind of a dick move to put a scratch-off card inside the book. First, it was a card… stapled into just the bottom staple of the book… which could make your spine wonky. Second, it’s a damn card, that was numbered, which in and of itself made it part of a “series”. Third, have I mentioned that it’s a friggin’ card — that you could scratch off (the best possible “prize” for doing so was an uncut sheet of cards). I’m guessing many’a fan back in the long ago bought multiple copies of the card-carrying books — many of which I’ve happened across in the quarter-bins in recent years.
Here is a “Hunt for Magneto” card from my own Uncanny X-Men #303:
For completionists’ sake, here is the official Marvel Press Release for the Hunt for Magneto contest:
Hey, howsabout another Press Release? This time for the 16-Page X-Men/Avengers (could you imagine living in a time where “X-Men” came before “Avengers”?) Anniversary Preview. Here, Marvel PR guy, Gary Guzzo, drops some knowledge about the Anniversary celebration — and all the goodies that are going to be coming out of it.
Wanna see it? Well, here ya go (from Uncanny X-Men #302)!
Next, we have a couple’a display/promo options retailers could order – to promote both the Anniversary and their shops.
Then, some clip-art…
Next, some more promos for the “as seen on TV” Sabretooth and “Buy it or he’ll kill ya!” Deadpool Miniseries’…
Then the Avengers swipe a line from Superman…
And, we have a… kinda irritating X-Men promo. It’s kind of a “did you know…” where it informs us that, believe it or not — the X-Men x-isted before they were on TV! Imagine if Marvel put have the amount of effort into promoting “current year” comics!
With the promos out of the way (for now), I’d like to introduce the true “star” of this bit of x-phemera. Marvel PR wrote up… radio ad scripts, that local comic shops could read (or maybe just order — with their own “shop tag” inserted) and send in to radio stations. There really isn’t anything I can say to add to the absolute delight these “ad reads” deliver. So, dudes, I’ll just shut up and post up. Here’s “Jump Start Your Heart with the X-Men”:
Here’s “Earths Mightiest Radio”:
“In Your Face X-Men”:
And, finally, the “Escape With the Avengers” radio-play:
Now, put’cher kids to bed and cover grandma’s eyes, cuz it’s time for the X-Men “Strip Tease”! These are “incentivized” comic strip newspaper ads, that Marvel would really like for the shops to send in to their local papers to promote the big X-Men Anniversary. So much so that, should they get their ads to run before August 1, 1993 — Marvel will send them a special “gold” version of the Cable Hologram from the cover of X-Force #25! I tried finding a pic of the “gold ‘gram” online… but, it would appear as though everybody on eBay considers their copy to be “gold”. Hmm…
Here are the foursome of “strips”. I considered doing my usual “Chris is on Infinite Earths” style play-by-play for these… but, a) this was supposed to be a “gimme” post, and I’ve already been working on it for two hours, and b) I’m just not witty enough to add anything here (not that that’s stopped me before!):
Then, we’ve got an ad for the “free” Magneto #0. Now, this one was a bane of my young collector’s soul. The Magneto one-shot… that was a special order limited deal… during a time of heightened speculation. I did NOT get a copy of this back in ye ol’ 93 — but, have come into several copies of it in the 50¢ bins in the years since — including one signed by Fabian Nicieza!
Here’s a copy of the Magneto #0 “check-off card”… swiped from eBay, because mine is packed away Lord knows where…
Hungry for more Press Releases? Well, our man Gary Guzzo’s still pumpin’em out. This one is cartoo… err, “Animated Series” focused — really playing up the killer ratings the show does each and every Saturday Morning. Oh, and also — if you want a lazy comic book based on it — welcome to the fold, X-Men Adventures!
Press Release for Magneto #0:
Press Release for the spiral-bound X-Men: Survival Guide to the Mansion… which, I think I have kickin’ around somewhere… but, again — I couldn’t even hazard a guess as to where it might be!
More Press Releases… Deadpool and Sabretooth are gettin’ minis, donchaknow…
X-Men Anniversary Merch Page… which might just double as my “shopping list” going forward…
And, finally… out inside back-cover sports a Deadpool miniseries Display ad.
While we’re on the X-Men at 30 kick… howsabout a (very) quick look at Marvel Age #122 (March, 1993):
Well, there ya have it — a post that I originally saw as a “gimme”, that ran me from dark o’clock AM til mid-morning. That’ll learn me for looking for a shortcut!
An odd and interesting piece of X-Phemera from the comic shop junk heap, that I’m happy to have — and even happier to have been able to share. I’m assuming most of the folks reading this probably won’t get much of anything out of it — but, for the one or two of you who DO, I’m happy to have put the time in.