|Back in Late 1964.... Where Were YOU ?!!! |
Sorry.... it's a little bit too late now to join.... But what the heck was the M.M.M.S ???
Well you see, at first the acronym M.M.M.S. was anyone's guess when Marvel Comics first began promoting it as Marvels' first fan club in the mid 1960's.
Stan Lee, now known as the co-creator of most of Marvel's early run of superheroes, began the M.M.M.S. in late 1964 as a way to further differentiate Marvel Comics from its' "Distinguished Competition", the DC Comics that had re-started the super-heroes resurgence in 1956 with Showcase #4 featuring the (later to be called 'Silver Age') Flash !!!
Whereas DC Comics were then considered to be the staid "IBM" of comic book companies, with its long history of tradition and business-like manner, Marvel instead was becoming the "Apple" of many a comic book reader!
Why? Because Stan Lee, sporting a casual atmosphere and less-than-formal dress atire, wanted to convey to his comic book audience that Marvel wasn't some unfeeling mechanism of Big Business, but rather a member of a team in which you, the reader, could become part of.
This I definitely felt because Stan's letter pages in the comics addressed the writers of the letters sent in by nicknames, instead of their formal name, (i.e. 'Dick' instead of Richard), and he encouraged writers to send their letters in to Stan & Jack, or Stan & Steve, instead of 'Dear Editor'.
For collectors their 'Golden Age' of collecting is usually at 12 - 13 years of age. In 1964 I was that age. For months while I waited patiently in Kodiak, Alaska to see what the commotion was all about, Stan and his Marvel Bullpen, (the writers, artists, inkers, letterers), promoted the M.M.M.S. through its lineup of comic book titles without revealing what the letters stood for. They unabashedly slapped the sticker, (top left pic) on comic covers and interior pages from Westerns (see third pic at left), to Superhero comics (bottom pic), to even Romance comics!
Finally, at last, the "Merry Marvel Marching Society" was made public and its membership rolls quickly rose higher... Because for only a One Dollar ($1.00) contribution, each new member would receive an official membership kit that included these anxiously awaited for gems:
A letter on real offical looking stationary welcoming you to the society, A giant-size membership button proudly stating "I Belong: The Merry Marvel Marching Society," A membership card proclaiming that you were a charter member in good standing and (on the rear of the card) a pledge of allegiance to Mighty Marvel, And a collection of cool stickers to plaster the world with ! Plus as a final touch of class, you also received a 33 1/3 rpm record with the voices of the Marvel Bullpen gang that were rounded up when pressing the record welcoming you to the M.M.M.S.! How cool!
I have mislaid or ruined most of my M.M.M.S kit over the years, including scratching the warped vinyl record on my record player, however, for those interested in mid 1960's Marvel comic books, we continue to stock those outtasight comics with the M.M.M.S. sticker on the covers in our eBay Featured Store and eBay Pro Store.
Make Mine Marvel !!! M.M.M.S. Member ..... Michael