Wow! That went down to the wire! The compressed voting schedule of our tournament final made for an especially frantic contest, with Swamp Thing jumping out to an early lead, but Ghost Rider gradually reeling him in in the closing hours, thanks in no small part to friend-of-the-Longbox (and Ghost Rider fan) Sam King working Twitter overnight!
So impressed was I with Sam’s ballot-box stuffing that I left the polls open until this morning … but when I closed them just shy of 10:00 AM Pacific, Swamp Thing still took the win. By a single vote!
So there you have it. Swamp Thing triumphs (survives?) by the thinnest of margins, 51/49.
It is a fine time to celebrate Swamp Thing. Halloween is tomorrow, and the 27th of this month would have been the 71st birthday of the late, great, Bernie Wrightson. Go read a Swampy comic to celebrate! The indefatigable Mars Will Send No More showcases a bunch for you if you don’t have an original or reprint close to hand.
Thanks to everyone who voted in the tournament, weighed in through comments, and stumped for their candidates on Twitter. In the end, the favorite won … but we had some twists along the way, and you couldn’t have had a more thrilling final. I don’t know about you, but in the midst of a news cycle more terrifying than any Halloween horror, I appreciated the chance to get worked up about goofy comic book monsters a couple times every week. You guys are the best.
All hail Swamp Thing!
(And Ghost Rider, and Hellboy, and …)
The Final Bracket:
TOMORROW: Happy Halloween!
We did it, friends! We’ve made it to the last page of my Marvel Value Stamp Book!
It has been a house of horrors, to be sure, but it has also been a bit cathartic, confronting the sins of my comics collecting past, one grim page at a time.
I’ll also admit that it’s been a little … fun? Nostalgic, at least. Sure, I lament the damage done to my old Marvels, and even if I never would have sold any of them, the “replacement cost” I’ve incurred still rankles.
But this survey has also taken me back to the Summer of 1974, and that kind of remembrance is really what Longbox Graveyard is all about.
there’s some karma … my very own social media icon turns up on the last page!
I was new to comics in 1974, and my first exposure to many Marvel characters came through those Value Stamps. On that level, at least, the scheme was a marketing success. I might never have known about Byrrah, or Puppet Master, or even (yes!) the Mole Man if not for finding these portraits on the letters pages of the books I read and re-read that lazy summer. Along with those pithy little marketing messages typed in the footer of most pages (“You’ll gasp at THE ASP!”), Marvel Value Stamps helped alert me to the warp and woof of a larger Marvel Universe … an imaginative tapestry that obsesses me to this day.
So, yeah, Marvel Value Stamps cost me some money, but they also helped cement me into a lifetime hobby. I guess we can call it even.
- #89 Hammerhead: Captain America #178 – $9
- #90 Hercules: Marvel Team-Up #24 – $8
- #93 Silver Surfer: Marvel Two-In-One #25 – $5
- #95 Mole Man: Amazing Spider-Man #136 – $51 (1st app of Harry in Goblin costume)
- #96 Dr. Octopus: Avengers #130 – $19
- #99 Sandman: Amazing Spider-Man #137 – $37
- #100 Galactus: Sub-Mariner #72 – $9
That brings the grand total for replacing my defaced Marvels to … $3274. To be honest, that’s less than I thought it would be. Sometimes looking at facts rather than emotions can put your fears to rest.
Something I haven’t touched on much, though, is the violence Marvel Value Stamps did to the comics collecting hobby as a whole. Even when these books were new on the stands, I remember coming home one day and opening a brand-new issue to see some jackass had ripped the stamp out of my book and put it back on the rack, without even paying. And raise your hand if you’ve ever sourced a Marvel comic through eBay only to find a chunk of the letters page removed! It’s been decades, and we are still dealing with the fallout!
It just goes to show, as much as I’ve exorcised my Marvel Value Stamp demons with this month-long blog series … these are a dark gift that will keep on giving. You never know where the Curse of the Marvel Value Stamp will … pop up … next!
TOMORROW: Tournament of Terror Winner Announced!
Our championship final is set! In our Final Four, Swamp Thing easily swatted aside Werewolf By Night, while Dracula recovered from Ghost Rider’s fast start to at least make a fight of it, but Ghost Rider prevailed in the end!
- Swamp Thing over Werewolf By Night 78/23
- Ghost Rider over Dracula 53/47
I felt a little bad for Dracula going down … but defeat is part of his DNA. He’s always getting staked or baked to ash, and always rising again. Dracula is the Comeback King. He’ll return soon enough to call us all “miserable clods” or “cretins” or “dolts.” (On second thought, maybe I don’t feel so bad for him, after all).
On to the title match! Get your votes in EARLY this time … unlike previous rounds, voting is open only through Tuesday night!
Here’s our bracket:
The Title Bout!
Swamp Thing vs. Ghost Rider: Our month-long tournament concludes with a DC vs. Marvel match-up! Swamp Thing has yet to be seriously tested in this tournament … is Ghost Rider the fiend to do it? Or will Ghost Rider’s skid marks terminate unceremoniously at the edge of the swamp?
Who ya got?
Remember to vote early. Polls close TUESDAY NIGHT — we want to get a result before Halloween.
TOMORROW: Marvel Value Stamps!