Marvel Comics’ GIANT SUPERHERO HOLIDAY GRAB-BAG was an over-sized Whitman sampler of Marvel reprints and is one of my absolute favorite comics and was probably the gateway drug that got me really hooked to comics. After this point, I would throw all of the spare change I could scrape together at the local drug store and newsstand buying all of the characters featured in this special Christmas compilation.
It measured an enormous 10.125 by 13.75 inches which was great because you could really pore over the art, and I did. I don’t think I ever examined comics as closely as when I was 12 years old in the depths of the 1970s. It featured four stories including A Christmas themed Marvel team-up of Spider-Man and the Human Torch by Ross Andru, a fantastic Daredevil story where The Man Without Fear nearly kills himself trying to keep Namor from trashing New York by Wally Wood, a wonderfully atmospheric take on It’s A Wonderful Life starring The Black Widow lushly illustrated by Gene Colan and the double-length Hulk Versus the Thing storyline which made me understand why Jack Kirby was the King of pacing. Yeah, Marvel was just repackaging old stories, but I loved every molecule of this book. Besides, back issues were impossible to come by in suburban New Jersey. At that time, if they weren’t reprinted, you were never going to see them!