Knowledge Waits is a feature where I just share some bit of comic book history that interests me.
Today, we look at some “hidden” pages that are part of an Avengers classic.
One of the most famous Avengers stories of all-time was “Under Siege,” which told the story of Baron Zemo putting together a new Masters of Evil specifically designed to overpower the Avengers. Zemo was methodical and studied the Avengers for months, finding all of their weak spots and then exploiting them in a plan that involved luring Hercules to be beaten nearly to death and using the power of Blackout to knock Captain Marvel out of commission while the Masters of Evil took control of Avengers Mansion, capturing Captain America, Black Knight and Edwin Jarvis within the Mansion.
Luckily, the one free Avenger, the Wasp, managed to put together a new team to free the captured Avengers.
It was a classic tale by Roger Stern, John Buscema and Tom Palmer.
However, there are actually four extra pages to the story, by the creative team of the series (Stern, Buscema and Palmer) that are not nearly as well-known as the rest of the series (although they have been collected in a trade in at least one reprinting of Under Siege. I don’t know if it was the most recent version of the trade).
These four pages came in Marvel Age Annual #2. You see, every year, starting with 1985, Marvel Age would do previews for the upcoming year’s stories of various comic book titles. These previews would often come in the form of comic book pages, but comic book pages designed to tell a preview story.
Most of these pages were just extra nonsense. They didn’t really tell an actual comic book story. They were just preview pages in comic book page format. You know, like a sort of, “Hey, I’m ____, member of team ____ and here’s the rest of my team! Here are some of the things that we will be getting up to in the upcoming year!” In fact, in the case of Walter Simonson’s Thor run, his preview was just a double-page splash showing a possible future event (in the case of Simonson’s story, the actual story ended up not coming out, which is a rare but occasional occurrence in these preview specials).
However, while most of these comics weren’t full stories, in the second Marvel Age Annual, Stern, Buscema and Palmer managed to do previews for the Avengers-related titles (plus Fantastic Four) as part of a four-page prelude to “Under Siege,” as a tie-in to the fact that Baron Zemo would routinely monitor the Avengers (we see him communicate with Doctor Doom during this, as well).
Very cool stuff. It really does fit smoothly into the overall narrative, as Zemo really WAS monitoring the various heroes before the actual attack began. It’s rare to see a framing sequence that smooth.
That’s it for this installment! If you have any ideas for interesting pieces of comic book history, drop me a line at email@example.com!
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