The Marvel Books imprint launched in 1982. As Jim Galton, Marvel Entertainment Group’s president at the time, explained in 1986:
The concept was to publish highly recognizable merchandise to kids… It’s a two-tier strategy, in that one element of the product appeals to the kids, and one element appeals to the parents.
The line’s tremendous success, he says, was due to a “combination of aggressive marketing and a new respectability of comic books.” Much of that “respectability” was a direct result of Marvel’s unrelenting marketing and licensing.
Dwight Jon Zimmerman got his start on Marvel Books and went on to write and edit various Marvel comic titles until becoming executive editor of Topps comics in 1992. Today he’s an award-winning author of military history books.
Bogotá-born Carlos Garzón came to New York in 1970 to work with artist Al Williamson. The duo would go on to illustrate Marvel’s Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi adaptations. The two had an unconventional working relationship, according to Marvel editor Archie Goodwin:
Unlike most teams listed in comic book credits, Al isn’t strictly the penciler and Carlos strictly the inker. They each do some of both, switching back and forth, sometimes from page to page, sometimes even from panel to panel, or even within a given panel. The end result is one smooth, high quality style, and an adaptation we at Marvel are very proud of.
Read a good interview with Garzón by Ryder Windham at the Star Wars Blog.
There was a different stamp book covering “The Evil Decepticons.” I’m looking for copies of both.