One more freaking piece of the puzzle!

By Shawn Robare

So today I found another little piece of my childhood that I thought had been lost to time. A couple posts ago I wrote about the Crestwood Monster Series of books that I checked out of my elementary school library countless times. Well there were four other books on that library list that I checked out and read just as much and today I finally freaking found them, the Marvel Secret Origin Story series from Ideal. There were four books in the series printed in 1981: Spiderman, The Incredible Hulk, The Fantastic Four, and Captain America.

These are the first comic books I ever read, and even though I didn’t start collecting comics until around 1987 or so, it was definitely the seed that grew into a “Make Mine Marvel!” fan.

These mini trade paperbacks were actually hardcover children’s books that reprinted three issues of each title, typically the first appearance and two other character defining issues. I found them by doing an exhaustive search on the Fantastic Four on, hoping that someone was trying to sell them used and therefore there would be an entry for them, which, well, there was.

Pretty much I only remember them as comics, but according to some of the reviews there is some commentary between the issues by the “author” David Anthony Kraft, so that ought to be interesting. I did a quick check on Ebay and found them all at mostly reasonable prices, between $7-$15, though the Spiderman book was $20, which is just a little too rich for my blood. I picked up the rest though for about $30. Who would have thought that these would be priced in Overstreet, but they are. Now I’m fighting against nostalgia and comic collector greed. Damn.

What really brought the memories flooding back in was the back cover:

I was so happy to get these, like I said, because this is a big missing link in the past of me and how I came upon the love known as comic book collecting. I can’t wait to get them so I can see what issues were picked and to read them one more time…

  • HooveR

    Wow, I don’t think I ever ran across those. Strange, as I remember owning and seeing plenty of other Marvel books around the same time… Thanks for the info!

  • Nostalgia Manila

    Hey man, love your site! I used to have all these books as well! Seeing all this brings back a lot of memories, as my fist book (Spider-Man) was given to me by someone real special. I’ve got a site called Nostalgia Manila, aand with your permission I would actually love to feature some of your posts here. I also loved your article on your ’80s eraser collection! Absolutely brilliant! I had all of those as well! Let’s link up, and I do look forward to the possibility of featuring you on my blog. Do write me back: nostalgiamanilamail[at]yahoo[dot]com. Cheers man!

  • Milton

    again, i was obsessed with these as a kid. they give the origin stories of the characters and a couple of decent reprints as well. great stuff, man.

  • Dude I still have the incredible hulk one and I stole it in fifth grade so it is a overdue book! How much are they worth?

    • Depends on the condition, but I’ve seen the Hulk book got for $80 in really good condition. I picked up mine off eBay for about $12 each..,

  • Seth Luke

    Man, I’ve been searching for ages trying to find out what these were called! Seriously grateful that you wrote this article or else I might have never found them. Like you, they were the first comics I ever read (although I also have vivid memories of the Rogue’s Gallery section of the Spider-Man book), and like Josh, I borrowed them from the school library and claimed that they were “lost” so that I wouldn’t have to take them back. Only difference was my mom caught on to my ruse so I didn’t get to keep them. These are still on ebay and relatively cheap so I’m going to have to grab them!

    • Rad, this is exactly why I write these things. So glad I could help you track them down!