More of the smalldetails that made a BIG impression on me, randomly plucked from the nostalgia-drenched regions of my comic-addled brain.
1. The technical drawings of Eliot R. Brown: As soon as The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe hit the stands in 1983, I was instantly hooked. A fifteen issue mini-series, the Handbook exhaustively
chronicled Marvel's massive catalog of characters (living and dead), vehicles, weapons, headquarters, artifacts, and other minutia geeks like me gobble up. As exacting and interesting as the information was (they even listed how much weight characters could bench press!), one of the coolest aspects of the Handbook series was the amazing technical drawings of a designer and science-whiz named Eliot R. Brown. Despite the absolute impossibility of comic book tech...well...actually working, Brown's highly detailed drawings and schematics somehow made them seem (kinda-sorta) plausible. I mean, look at this guy go....and these are just Iron-Man's gloves and boots (click to enlarge)!
Pure malarky, of course...but speaking as a kid who'd spent hours drawing breakaway diagrams of the Six-Million Dollar Man's bionics, I loved this stuff.
2. Kirby Mouths: Jack Kirby drew like nobody else...and that included parts of human anatomy that bore little resemblance to the way real body and facial features functioned.
One of those endearingly exaggerated body parts was the male mouth, which Kirby often drew with the lower corners hitched well below the bottom lip line. It's a mouth position you can imitate with some effort (come on...you know you want to try it), but it's not a facial expression you're likely to see reflected anywhere in reality. But that's part of the magic of Kirby's Marvel years...where anatomically illogical quirks and shortcuts wonderfully conveyed the hyper-drama and explosive action The King perfected.
3. Marvel's bottom-of-page promo blurbs: A bit like cable news text crawls along the bottom of the TV screen, Marvel's bizarre little promo blurbs were also curiously irresistible to read. Printed in tiny type at the bottom of each story page, these snappy phrases not only plugged other Marvel mags on sale that month, but they also made it clear that things were happening allacross the Marvel Universe. A very simple but effective little gimmick that (to this day) is still an endearing and (inexplicably) comforting aspect of 1970's Marvel Comics.