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VI: FUTURE MASTERWORKS

D) NEW MARVEL AGE MASTERWORKS LINES

Since the last survey was taken, a plethora of new Marvel Age lines have been introduced: Defenders, Marvel Team-Up, Black Panther, Iron Fist, Deathlok, and Inhumans. As certain lines have come to a close – such as Ant-Man/Giant-Man, Nick Fury, Human Torch, Silver Age X-Men, and Inhumans – new lines serve to renew the vitality and variety of the Masterworks Library. The following list ranks the most favored new lines among survey respondents.

#1) Dr. Doom Vol. 1


40% ballot representation

640 total power points


36 first place votes

Last survey ranking: #6 (+5)

The most coveted new line of Masterworks belongs to the most diabolical super-villain in all of comics? Wotta revoltin' development! Doc Doom had the highest ballot representation by 7 points, garnered by far the most power points, and tied for most first place votes. The desire for this line, which would most likely be a done-in-one*, is both deep and wide among Masterworks fans.

All kidding aside, this is some pretty good stuff that has yet to be reprinted. It would begin with the solo tale from Marvel Super-Heroes #20, and proceed with the eight solo appearances from Astonishing Tales #1-8 (the latter featuring 40 pages worth of prime Wally Wood pencils and inks). Our map for the volume includes origin appearances from Fantastic Four and a multi-issue guest-run from Sub-Mariner, though if we do see Dr. Doom in Masterworks there are multiple ways in which the material could be presented.

* For instance, the initial volume could also include the first issues of Super-Villain Team-Up, which featured Dr. Doom as one of the headline characters for much of its run.

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#2) Ka-Zar Vol. 1


33% ballot representation

577 total power points


36 first place votes

Last survey ranking: #4 (+2)

Just because Ka-Zar finished second to the bad guy doesn't mean his Masterworks won't be very, very good. Much like Doctor Doom, the first Ka-Zar would most likely kick off with his first solo story in Marvel Super-Heroes, then continue with his feature appearances in the very same Astonishing Tales series in which the FF's longtime foe debuted. These issues feature a "Who's Who" of great artists, including one of Jack Kirby's last assignments before leaving for DC and the Fourth World, Barry Windsor-Smith, Herb Trimpe, John Buscema, Gil Kane and Neal Adams. The first volume would likely go well into Ka-Zar's long run on Astonishing Tales.

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#3) Marvel Two-In-One Vol. 1


31% ballot representation

490 total power points


24 first place votes

Last survey ranking: #11 (+8)

The second biggest mover in this survey, and arguably the biggest surprise, is the long-running Thing team-up title Two-In-One. The last survey it didn't make the Top 10; now it's a strong #3! The first volume would include the Thing's first team-ups with the Hulk and Iron Man in Marvel Feature, then move on to the 1974 debut of Two-In-One, featuring guest-spots by Man-Thing, Sub-Mariner, Daredevil, Captain America, Thor and plenty more!

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#4) Bronze Age Horror Vol. 1


30% ballot representation

474 total power points


25 first place votes

Last survey ranking: #9 (+5)

Coming in at #4 is a catch-all category for two titles from Marvel's early '70s: Tower of Shadows and Chamber of Darkness. These books were a revival of the horror anthologies of Marvel's Atlas Era, and direct competition to DC's popular House of Secrets and House of Mystery. Both titles featured some of comics most sensational talents, including Stan Lee, Neal Adams, John Buscema, Barry Windsor-Smith, Jack Kirby, Bernie Wrightson, Jim Steranko, Gene Colan, Wally Wood. It's hard to argue with that creative lineup, and as we see classic anthologies like Tales of Suspense and Tales to Astonish wind down, makes these latter day series all the more desirable. One problem seemingly vexing this run are some potentially constraining rights issues.

Our suggested maps could extend this series to include more original monster/horror stories and cover art from Monsters on the Prowl, Fear, Where Monsters Dwell and Where Creatures Roam, among others.

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#5) Man-Thing Vol. 1


28% ballot representation

432 total power points


18 first place votes

Last survey ranking: #14 (+9)

The shambling mound of muck formerly known as Ted Sallis makes a giant-sized leap up the rankings to #5, a climb of nine places! Recalling the list of future Omnibus choices, '70s Marvel Horror characters placed highly there as well, and apparently Man-Thing sits atop that heap! Man-Thing Vol. 1 would likely feature his very first appearance in the black-and-white Savage Tales, his pair of feature appearances in Astonishing Tales #12-13, and the beginning of his run on the book he would call his own for ten issues, Adventures Into Fear, setting up a Vol. 2 with the first issue of Man-Thing #1 from January 1974.

This Masterworks would feature the art of Gray Morrow, John Buscema, Neal Adams and Jim Starlin, before settling into the Steve Gerber written, Val Mayerik drawn series of Fear.

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#6) Not Brand Ecch Vol. 1


27% ballot representation

495 total power points


44 first place votes

Last survey ranking: #5 (-1)

Even though it got the most first place votes, Not Brand Ecch actually slips a spot in the rankings since the last survey, indicating that while it has a pretty good amount of ferocious fans, it's still a tough sell to fandom at large. Don't know why, though: the series that made affectionate fun of the characters and creators of Silver Age Marvel (and other publishers, natch) includes a roster of top shelf Silver Age talent, most notably Jack Kirby, Marie Severin, Don Heck and Stan Lee. With the 200th Masterworks looming, and the usage of those "milestone" slots of 50, 100 and 150, for fun and unexpected choices, Not Brand Ecch would be a solid candidate.

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Here's how the Top 10 rounds out:

07: 25%....Luke Cage Vol. 1 (386 points, 15 first place votes, #20/+13)

08: 24%....Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze) Vol. 1 (369 points, 15 first place votes, #18/+10)

09: 22%....Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man Vol. 1 (356 points, 25 first place votes, #13/+4)

10: 22%....Moon Knight Vol. 1 (315 points, 12 first place votes, #19/+9)

Sweet Christmas! Luke Cage knocks on the Top 6 with his first volume. Now that Iron Fist has been started (and seems poised to see a quick and final followup to its first volume), Masterworks fans seem ready for a little Power Man to hit their Masterworks shelves. Peter Parker seems to be making a slow climb up the charts, though it may be a couple more volumes of Amazing need to see print before that line gets the green light. Moon Knight crashes the Top 10 despite seeing print in Premiere Classic hardcover.

Taking a closer look at #11-20:


11: 19%....Invaders Vol. 1 (283 points, 13 first place votes, #12/+1)

12: 17%....Killraven Vol. 1 (256 points, 13 first place votes, new entry)

13: 17%....Werewolf By Night Vol. 1 (231 points, 8 first place votes, #16/+3)
14: 16%....Frankenstein's Monster Vol. 1 (242 points, 12 first place votes, new entry)

15: 15%....Alpha Flight Vol. 1 (249 points, 12 first place votes, new entry)
16: 15%....Two-Gun Kid (Silver Age) Vol. 1 (243 points, 18 first place votes, new entry)

17: 15%....Captain Savage Vol. 1 (206 points, 9 first place votes, #17/no change)
18: 14%....Kid Colt (Silver Age) Vol. 1 (206 points, 5 first place votes, new entry)

19: 14%....Ghost Rider (Western) Vol. 1 (204 points, 8 first place votes, new entry)
20: 14%....Nova Vol. 1 (167 points, 7 first place votes, new entry)

The rankings of survey respondents favorite monsters come clear: Man-Thing #1, with Ghost Rider, Werewolf by Night, and Frankenstein finishing #2-4.

Invaders once more hangs at the entry point of the Top 10, but even with a bunch of room clearing out ahead of it from the last survey, doesn't break through. At least for now it would seem the classic trades that have reprinted the entire series suffice.

Alpha Flight tops the list of '80s material with a pretty strong showing at #15. The series has begun collection in classic trades, but the first volume is now OOP. If any '80s title would merit a new launch in Masterworks, it would seem the fans think Alpha Flight is the one.

Captain Savage holds steady in the doldrums at #17, with Silver Age Westerns holding court all around him. Seems survey respondents want to see more super heroes before taking on more genre material like cowboys and soldiers.

Here's the bottom of the rankings just for fun:

21: 14%....Ms. Marvel Vol. 1 (159 points, 5 first place votes, new entry)

22: 13%....Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 (159 points, 4 first place votes, new entry)
23: 11%....Tomb of Dracula Vol. 1 (184 points, 7 first place votes, #3/-20)

24: 11%....New Mutants Vol. 1 (178 points, 10 first place votes, new entries)
25: 10%....X-Factor Vol. 1 (156 points, 10 first place votes, new entry)
26: 10%....Champions Vol. 1 (136 points, 5 first place votes, new entry)

27: 9%....Howard the Duck Vol. 1 (127 points, 8 first place votes, new entries)
28: 8%....Spider-Woman Vol. 1 (116 points, 4 first place votes, new entry)

29: 7%....Punisher Vol. 1 (100 points, 6 first place votes, new entries)
30: 7%....Red Wolf Vol. 1 (79 points, 1 first place votes, new entry)

31: 6%....Wolverine Vol. 1 (81 points, 4 first place votes, new entries)
32: 5%....She-Hulk Vol. 1 (62 points, 2 first place votes, new entries)

I'm a bit surprised to see Howard the Duck as low as it is. The Gerber/Colan '70s masterwork has seen print as an Omnibus, but even though that tome is OOP, demand seems to have been met.

Speaking of the Omniboo, Tomb of Dracula's numbers just SUCK! It has fallen 20 spots since the last survey, owing of course to the complete run being reprinted in not only Omnibus format, but a new series of color trades. Throw in the Essentials volumes that also captured the complete run of Dracula, it may be a long time before another pass at the Tomb is taken. Having said that, this series is most definitely Masterworks-worthy.

New Mutants and X-Factor score similarly in the race to be the second X-team to get into Masterworks. Ms. Marvel is the clear victor among female-focused super hero titles, gaining a commanding spot in the rankings over Spider-Woman and She-Hulk.

Wolverine scrapes the bottom of the barrel, which is a bit of a surprise. Despite a fairly comprehensive Omnibus volume dedicated to his earliest adventures, he's still one of comics' most popular characters. Likewise with Punisher, whose classic material hasn't had a hardcover reprint and apparently there aren't a lot of survey respondents demanding it.


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