Marvel Weaves Strange Tales #1, 2, and 3

Marvel's Strange TalesFrom the strikingly different covers that grace these three issues (Paul Pope on issue one, Peter Bagge on issue two, and Stan Sakai on issue three) you know immediately that these aren’t going to be your normal Marvel comics, let alone normal superhero fare.  Taking a page from DC Comics’ Bizarro Comics, Marvel enlisted an eclectic group of writers and artists from comic’s indy scene and basically told them to “Have fun.”  And they did. 

I’ve been reading comic books for most of my life and for many, many years I was a “Marvel Zombie” (someone who reads just Marvel comics).  But then Dark Horse Comics pulled me into their world with their Aliens and Predator comics.  From there, Dark Horse Presents opened my eyes to writers and artists I had never been exposed to.  That started me on my way to a well-rounded comic book library.  And that brings me back to Strange Tales.

This is the perfect series for the readers who just read superhero comics, but want to expand their artistic horizons.  Or for those readers who avoid superhero books because they think they’re just  hero vs. villain fare.  Or it’s for anybody who just wants to read some funny stuff.

Each issue has anywhere between 10 and 13 stories, and they run the gamut from Peter Parker realizing he’s never been in a bar fight to Iron Man fighting Baloney-Head to the Fantastic Four playing practical jokes on normal people.  In fact, the only story that runs through all three issues is Peter Bagge’s The Incorrigible Hulk.  This was a story that was originally supposed to be published a few years ago and is seeing print for the first time in this series.  Whether Marvel didn’t know how to market it until now, or if Peter Bagge took this long to finish it is still a mystery, but as a fun story with both the Hulk and Bruce Banner each finding love, I’m glad I get to read it now.

Every story might not be to everyone’s taste (I know Cup Cake by Chris Chua left me scratching my head), but that’s okay.  Just turn a couple of pages, and something’s bound to strike your fancy.  My three favorites are: Michael Kupperman’s Namor the Sub-Mariner in “Fed up with Man” with Namor realizing why he’ll never truly hate “air breathers.”  Jhonen Vasquez’s M.O.D.O.K. and M.E. where MODOK finds the perfect companion for all his evildoings in young Donnie.  And, finally, Jeffrey Brown’s Fantastic Fool’s Day, where practical jokes are the key, but The Thing has some trouble grasping the concept. 

There’s nothing wrong with good superhero comics, but it’s worth it to take some notice when the big publishers go out of their way to expose readers to creators who might never appear on their radar.  There’s a mini biography of each creator at the back of each issue that tells you what else they’ve done.  I know I’m going to check out some new stuff because of this.


Marvel's Strange Tales


3 Responses to “Marvel Weaves Strange Tales #1, 2, and 3”

  1. Gregg

    Great article, John! This is a great piece on bringing an otherwise lesser known title to the forefront. Thanks!

  2. Bob Ignizio

    Sounds like a fun comic, John. I kind of gave up on superhero comics a while ago, but still occasionally miss some of the characters. Seeing Peter Bagge’s take on The Hulk might might just be enough to get me to dip my toes back in the water. Plus the other stuff sounds like fun. Great review!

  3. Brian White

    Outstanding review John!

    Welcome aboard!

    I look forward to reading more of your work!