The Groovy Agent's Pad

Like classic/retro comics, music, tv, movies, sci-fi, fantasy, etc., etc., and etc.? Then hang out with The Groovy Agent as he makes the universe safe for all the cool stuff that has come before...and even makes a little room for cool stuff yet to come!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

What Made Comics Groovy! Part 4: F.O.O.M.

In late 1972/early 1973, Marvel Comics created the greatest comicbook fan-club ever, F.O.O.M. (Friends Of Ol' Marvel). Li'l Groovy Agent was a charter member, sending off his $2.50 before the ink was dry on the comic the first ad appeared in.

Oh, what wonders I beheld the fateful day the mailman delivered my membership kit! I was greeted by an envelope completely covered with the Incredible Hulk's face (the mailing label was in his mouth!)! Wild! I ripped that sucker open to get to the more important goodies inside: a "gold-finished" membership card, several stickers featuring the Thing, the Sub-Mariner and other heroes, and the fabulous official F.O.O.M. poster! But that wasn't all. Nope, the first issue of F.O.O.M. magazine was hiding in there amongst all the other goodies. I could see Smilin' Stan Lee's face (portrait courtesy Steranko) peepin' out at me! I'd read Marvel and worshipped the Bullpen like most kids on my block did, but this was the first time I had an inkling of what they looked like. Inside, the first (and most every) issue was info on and pics of various members of the Marvel Bullpen. It was a thrill to get to see what my real-life comicbook heroes looked like. Also in every issue of F.O.O.M. magazine were tons of preview covers and news (kind of like Previews or the internet comics sites), hero histories, conceptual art, rejected covers, puzzles and games, contests ( I entered the create-a-hero contest--didn't win, of course, but did get my name printed in a list with other contestants on the inside back cover of ish 3). It was enough to make a comics fiend like li'l Groove go even nuttier over comics than before. And the covers! What covers F.O.O.M. magazine had! Words can't describe them--you'll just have to see them for yourself! And in case you're wondering, the back covers weren't too shabby, either! See?

The thing that made Marvel so cool back in the Groovy Age was the feeling that the Bullpen were your friends. That you were part of something great. F.O.O.M. took that feeling and made it official--if you were a part of F.O.O.M. you were a part of something great! No one else but a full-fledged got inside information like we saw in the magazine. None but a could enter the contests, join the forum (yeah, they had a reader's forum in the mag), and crack the secret codes (from the Bullpen Bulletin pages). Only F.O.O.M.ers had the heads up on what was going to happen months down the road. (Now the doors are flung wide open for the whole world to see--doesn't seem as much fun that way. But I digress...)

As with all good things, F.O.O.M. came to and end just a year or so short of the end of the Groovy Age. But what great memories it left!

--Agent Out!


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