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Underrated: Marvel’s Facsimile Comics

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Marvel’s Facsimile Comics.

Recently Marvel Comics have been releasing what they call Facsimile Editions of some of their key issues, which essentially just reprints those issues for (modern) cover price. The cynical person would say that this is just a cash grab from a publisher looking to take advantage of people who want to own a copy of those stories in print, whereas I’m looking at it as a great opportunity to own an exact copy of Giant Size X-Men for less than a fraction of the actual cost.

Before you say that it’s available on Marvel Unlimited, I don’t care. Mainly because I don’t have Marvel Unlimited, but mostly because it allows me to read a print version of the story – something I haven’t yet been able to do.

Yes, I understand that some of us may have a copy of two of the original story already, but are those copies exact to the original printing?

Probably not.

(It should be said at this time that I have never been able to touch an original of any of the comics that the Facsimile Editions reprint, much less actually read one, so I have no way of actually verifying this myself but at least that’s the idea).

Because most of us will never get a chance to view an original copy of many of the original comics, these Facsimile Editions are a great alternative to seeing the original comic (not the stories, because you can find those in a multitude of other place – I own several versions of Incredible Hulk #181, just not an original), including the ads. It’s a recreation of a piece of history in much the same way a reproduction Velociraptor claw is. Which exactly how I’m looking at it; there’s no way I would ever read an original copy of Giant Size X-Men #1 or Incredible Hulk #181 if I was ever lucky enough to find one for a non-exorbitant price, but I sure as hell will read these Facsimile Editions.

Because I’m the kind of nerd who loves looking at old comics; the ads, the commentary… it’s a snapshot of where the industry was at the time, and in many ways the older comics mean more for that than the story inside (because those I can read elsewhere).

That’s why these books are underrated.

Unless the comics industry ceases any and all publication look for a future installment of Underrated to cover something else next week.

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