Archive for the 'Marvel Books (Imprint)' Category

Dragon’s Lair Coloring Book: ‘Dirk the Daring Battles the Giddy Goons’ (Marvel Books, 1984)

DL 1984-1

DL 1984-2

DL 1984-3

There were two coloring books and two coloring/activity books based on Dragon’s Lair, all of them published in 1984 by Marvel Books. The second coloring book is The Magic Sword, and the coloring/activity books are Dirk the Daring Battles the Black Knight and Dirk the Daring Battles the Crypt Creeps.

More on Dragon’s Lair here, and I talk about the Marvel Books imprint here.

(Images via Dragon’s Lair Fans)

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Characters Coloring Book (1983) (Part Four)

D&D Characters-1

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D&D Characters-4

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D&D Characters-7

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D&D Characters-10D&D Characters-11











D&D Characters-12

D&D Characters-13

AD&D Characters BC

The fourth and final installment of the AD&D Characters Coloring Book. My favorite page in this lot: “Mercion is a good cleric. Scary things like skeletons are afraid of her goodness.” I think Zarak looks appropriately sinister, but isn’t he a little short for a half-orc?

Parts one, two, and three of the book are here, here, and here, respectively.

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars Coloring and Activity Book (1984) (Part One)

Secret Wars Coloring Book FC

Secret Wars Coloring Book BC

Secret Wars Coloring Book pg. 1Secret Wars Coloring Book pg. 1-a

Secret Wars Coloring Book pg. 2Secret Wars Coloring Book pg. 3

Secret Wars Coloring Book pg. 4Secret Wars Coloring Book pg. 5

Secret Wars Coloring Book pg. 6Secret Wars Coloring Book pg. 7

Secret Wars Coloring Book pg. 8Secret Wars Coloring Book pg. 9

Secret Wars Coloring Book pg. 10

Secret Wars was Marvel’s first big crossover event. Mattel wanted to produce a Marvel toy line, but only under the condition that the toys be attached to a major event in the Marvel Universe. Secret Wars was the event. The story was meager—basically a grander version of 1982’s Contest of Champions,  Marvel’s first limited series—but writer-editor Jim Shooter and especially penciler Mike Zeck managed to make it something special.

The Coloring and Activity Book has nothing to do with the comic, but it does feature many of Mattel’s cheaply made, uninspired toys. You’ll see the big ticket item, the Tower of Doom, above.

I talked about the Marvel Books imprint and artist Carlos Garzon here. I’ve covered Jim Mooney’s work a couple of times: The Amazing Spider-Man: A Book of Colors and Days of the Week, and the AD&D Characters Coloring Book.

The Transformers Stamp Fun Featuring the Brave Autobots (1984)

Transformers Stamps 1984

Transformers Stamps 1984-2

Transformers Stamps 1984-3

Transformers Stamps 1984-4

Transformers Stamps 1984-5

Transformers Stamps 1984-6

Transformers Stamps 1984-7

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.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Characters Coloring Book (1983) (Part Three)

AD&D Characters pg. 21AD&D Characters pg. 22

AD&D Characters pg. 23AD&D Characters pg. 24

AD&D Characters pg. 25AD&D Characters pg. 26

AD&D Characters pg. 27AD&D Characters pg. 28

AD&D Characters pg. 29AD&D Characters pg. 30

AD&D Characters pg. 31AD&D Characters pg. 32

AD&D Characters pg. 33AD&D Characters pg. 34

AD&D Characters pg. 35

Page one: Stine continues to play fast and loose with the spells. It gives the artists more freedom.

Page three: Thieves do not enter buildings through the front door.

Page four: Not really a revelation that evil sorcerers use magic for evil purposes.

Page five: A real druid spell.

Page six: The Amazing Spider-Mage!

Pages seven through ten: The druid is about as fearsome as the bard in part one.

Page eleven: Jazz hands!

Page twelve: My favorite from this bunch. Love the feather.

Page thirteen: Warduke does not look afraid to me, merely annoyed.

* * *

Parts one and two of the coloring book are here and here.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Characters Coloring Book (1983) (Part Two)

AD&D Characters pg. 11AD&D Characters pg. 12

AD&D Characters pg. 13AD&D Characters pg. 14

AD&D Characters pg. 15AD&D Characters pg. 16

AD&D Characters pg. 17AD&D Characters pg. 18

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The action picks up in part two. We’ve got a five-headed hydra, the paladin’s Lay on Hands ability, lots of Warduke, the historic dwarf/elf antagonism (from Tolkien), and a helm of water breathing (my favorite page—those fish are flummoxed!).

On the last page, the evil cleric Zargash is charming a snake, but I don’t think clerics have access to the Charm Animal or Charm Monster spells. Maybe I’m wrong.

Part one of the Characters Coloring Book is here.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Characters Coloring Book (1983) (Part One)

AD&D Characters FC

AD&D Characters pg. 1

AD&D Characters pg. 2

AD&D Characters pg. 3AD&D Characters pg. 4

AD&D Characters pg. 5AD&D Characters pg. 6

AD&D Characters pg. 7AD&D Characters pg. 8

AD&D Characters pg. 9AD&D Characters pg. 10









































Along with the AD&D storybooks, Marvel and TSR collaborated on five coloring books featuring the same cast of characters,  some of them from the toy line, others from The Shady Dragon Inn (1983), a game aid featuring pregenerated characters (and stats for the characters in the toy line).

Jane Stine, who co-wrote The Treasure of Time (1983), wrote the Characters coloring book. Earl Norem did the cover art. Jim Mooney, who worked for DC in the ’60s and Marvel in the ’70s and ’80s, and John Tartaglione, Silver Age inker of Sgt. Fury and Daredevil, did the interior art. (The lips look unmistakably Mooney to me, so I gather he did the pencils.)

The book is essentially a visual illustration of the different D&D character class attributes, alignments, and skills. It even covers some spells (feather falling) and magic items (helm of water breathing). Unlike the storybooks, there’s a definite link to D&D‘s role-playing core.

Parts two, three, and four of the Characters Coloring Book are here, here, and here.


Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Storybooks: The Forest of Enchantment and The Treasure of Time (1983)

AD&D Forest of Enchantment

AD&D Treasure of Time

In 1983 Marvel published a series of D&D storybooks and coloring books under license from TSR. (One year later, the roles would be reversed for the Marvel Super Heroes RPG, published by TSR under license from Marvel.) I believe these are the only two storybooks. You can read The Forest of Enchantment here. The Treasure of Time is here. Both PDFs are originally from Kuronons’ D&D Goodies Collection.

They’re kid’s books, so it’s pretty juvenile stuff, and there’s no effort to introduce the concept of role-playing (unlike the 1979 AD&D Coloring Album). All but two of the characters from LJN’s first run of AD&D action figures make appearances, so the books are basically long toy commercials.

Nevertheless, they’re notable for a few reasons: Bob Stine is Goosebumps author R.L. Stine, and Jane Stine, who founded Parachute Publishing, is his wife.

As for the art, Earl Norem did the interior work for The Forest of Enchantment, and Marie Severin did the cover and designed the book. She also illustrated The Treasure of Time. Severin was a colorist at EC until the notorious publisher was run out of town by the Comics Code. She worked for Marvel—as colorist, inker, and penciler—from 1959 until the early ’90s. She is one of the most well-respected artists in the comics field.

Famously, Severin was directed to soften the facial expression of the Hulk on one of the most innovative covers in Marvel’s history: The Hulk King Size Special #1 (1968). See both versions here. The artist who made the Green Guy too savage for public consumption? Jim Steranko.




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