April Fool’s Day Overview: Assistant Editors Month 1984
We decided this year not to go with fake stories, but instead cover some of the more odd things that have occurred in comics and toys, in this case, Assistant Editors Month 1984. Hopefully we can explore the concept of comic book history later when time allows. For right now, let’s limit ourselves to looking at the month that Marvel Comics went a little off the rails. For our toy coverage go here.
The story is that Marvel took all of its editors to San Diego Comicon in 1984 and left the assistant editors in charge of all of the titles Marvel published that month. Not every comic was affected by mischief and humor. Several mini-series went unscathed as did a few regular titles. The list of Assistant Editors is amazing as well. Notable among them are Mike Carlin, later Executive Editor at DC comics. Bob Harras, Marvel’s Ediotr-In-Chief for two years and DC Comics’ current Editor-In-Chief was also an assistant editor. Ann Nocenti went on to be an Editor an for many years has been a very prolific writer for DC Comics. Jim Owsley later went on to reknowned writing career as Christopher Priest.
Alpha Flight #6 didn’t go too wacky, except that Artist John Byrne included pages where there was no art, just panel borders and word balloons. It is a great example of minimalist storytelling, as the pacing of the battle between Snowbird and one of the Great Beasts in inferred excellently. Byrne also excellently incorporated his Assistant Editors Month tomfoolery into Fantastic Four #262, where he included himself into the “Trial of Reed Richards.” This story featured the ramifications of Richards saving Galactus’s life.
The other issue that constantly comes up in others’ lists of silliest moments is Marvel Team-Up #137, which featured a story inspired by the Hostess ads of the 1970s. (We really should explore that sometime) Peter Parker’s Aunt May became a herald of Galactus named Golden Oldie and worked with Franklin Richards to satisfy Galactus’s hunger. Unlike John Byrne’s stories, this is never considered to be canon, as it ends with multiple characters, both real and fictitious, waking up from horrible dreams.
Here’s a gallery of all of the issues that featured some level of tomfoolery in them from Marvel Comics that month.
There are websites that devote a lot of space to exploring Assistant Editors Month, but among the most in depth is the Assistant Editors Month Blog. It devotes space to each issue and it’s where I got most of the images that I’ve used in this article.