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The Mighty Marvel Blooper Reel – The Marvel No-Prize Book #1

December 2, 2011

Gene Roddenberry, during the original run of Star Trek and after its cancellation, when he was making the rounds of conventions (igniting the never-ending cycle of “I Grok Spock” pilgrimages), would often carry with him a reel or two of bloopers from the series. It was good, light-hearted fodder and the crowds ate it up, but it drove the actors involved nuts. They resented having their goofs, their flubs, their screw ups paraded before the public. It made them look stupid. It was a bit embarrassing, and they weren’t getting any residual checks from this public shaming.

I think I learned that from reading one of William Shatner’s memoirs. Yes, I just admitted to reading William Shatner’s memoirs. WHO’S EMBARRASSED NOW?

Stan Lee’s P.T. Barnum qualities are a lot like Roddenberry’s circuit-riding hucksterism. I’m not saying they’re identical (I don’t think Lee ever diddled Nurse Chapel). But there’s some overlap. And this No-Prize Book (an outgrowth of Lee’s longstanding No-Prize for eagle-eyed error-spotting readers) reminded me of those blooper reels.

It’s nowhere near as offensive, since Lee’s own goofs are at the forefront — no Roddenberry script typos made it onto the convention footage. And this was more a Jim Shooter brainchild. Whatever its origins, the book’s a lot of fun. I thought people unfamiliar might like to see a few of the panoply of errors — some big, some small — that riddled the Marvel era of comics.

Some are head-scratchingly obvious, especially with decades of retrospect. Everyone knows Peter Palmer, the Spectacular Spider-Man. Right?:

I guess they hadn’t nailed down the bespectacled teen’s name at that point.

You have mistakes keen, practiced geeks would call out, though ones that would fly over lazy heads like my own:

You have errors that violate every law of geography, geology, and common sense:

You have bewildering script miscues (this one made me guffaw):

And you have sartorial transgressions that might not strictly be “errors,” but nevertheless rankle:

What’s the ultimate gaffe presented within these pages? Oddly enough, it’s one that I myself once let slide through this blog’s filters. In a post many moons ago I was so blinded by the surging dynamism of Jack Kirby’s art it made it past my admittedly porous defenses. Go to the bottom two scans here if you want to check it out.

That’s it. Time to go. There are a lot more goofs to be gawked at, but that’s a good sampling . If you ever find this 1982 book cheap, it might make for some good laughs.

Only one of us is making it out of this post alive. AND IT WON’T BE ME.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Thelonious_Nick permalink
    December 7, 2011 2:13 pm

    Ha! I have that issue of MTU with Hercules hauling Manhattan. I didn’t buy it at the time, got it a few years ago without realizing it would be one of the worst comics stories I would ever read. Everything about the book shows signs of being rushed to make a deadline–the nonsensical ending is only the shitty icing on the crap cake.

    • December 8, 2011 1:26 am

      Perhaps we can replace Jump the Shark with Tow Manhattan.

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