Marvel Value Stamps — A Book Of Horror
If you followed my countdown to the return of Longbox Graveyard, or read my preamble in “First Cut,” then you know that Marvel Value Stamps form the backbone of this month’s Halloween features here at the blog.
What do Marvel Value Stamps have to do with Halloween, you ask?
Well, for a comic book fan — could anything be scarier?
Here was a promotional scheme purpose-built to get kids to cut up their comic books! Being all of twelve years old in 1974, I of course fell for this scheme, and hard. I chased Marvel books I might not normally read to get those “precious” stamps … and I cut up my books when I found them!
Today we will begin our forensic examination of my personal Marvel Value Stamp Book. Think of it as my own little Book of Sins. It is the human-skin bound copy of the Necronomicon that I keep buried at the back of my graveyard of longboxes. It is the sad and poignant proof of my long-ago folly, where I slashed my best comic book friends with a straight razor, and laughed while I did it.
I’m going to exorcise this demon, one page at a time!
Whelp, that’s the cover, all right. I get the sweats just looking at it. I think you can see some sweat stains in the scan, too.
Pay special attention to that blank spot on “This Is Stampbook # …” We will come back to it in a second.
As I recall, you could send away for these from Marvel by paying postage and not much more than what these little terrors cost to print. So friendly! So reasonable! It was like giving your address to Freddie Krueger! You hear the bell go ding-dong and in your childish innocence you leap up and shout, “It’s here at last!” and you run to the door and open it and then you get your freaking throat slashed open.
Behold this sermon from the Prince of Lies (aka Marvel’s promotional department):
Oh, goodie! I can take my book to ANY of those virtually non-existent “star-studded Comic Book Conventions, comic art dealers, or other centers of contemporary culture” to collect my “MVS discount, free gift, or other goodies.” I’d say, “Be still, my beating heart,” if my heart hadn’t already stopped when I bled out through my neck.
I mean, just look at all the discounts I could have cashed!
There was no way I was getting to any of those conventions when I was twelve years old, even if I filled my whole book (and I never got more than half the damn stamps, anyway). This was like that secret decoder ring that spelled out “Drink Ovaltine.” A foul blow! Those finks!
And as if it weren’t enough to just cut my throat, Marvel gave my corpse a kick by promising still MORE secret goodness to come in relation to “the special number on the cover of this stampbook” … which they couldn’t even bother to fill in!!!
Oh, yes, my stampbook is just BOUND to increase in value as the WEEKS go by!
We will see just HOW MUCH value this little horror cost me in the weeks ahead, as we take a page-by-page tour of my Marvel Value Stamp Book; mourn the stamps I collected; celebrate the stamps I missed; and count the bodies as they pile up on the floor.
In the meantime, share your own memories of Marvel Value Stamps in my comments, below. Did anyone ever fill out a whole book? Did they get anything more than a punch in the neck for doing so?
Marvel Value Stamps … you kill me.
Thanks to Billy King for Marvel Value Stamp horror scenes Photoshop wizardry!
TOMORROW: Godzilla, King of the Monsters!