Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Marvel Comics Index Spider-Man And Conan

Back in the days before digital downloads and the internet (or even Epic Collections, Omnibus, Archives, Masterworks or even most tradepaperbacks), if you wanted to know what was in a particular comic book, you had to own that comic book itself.

That changed in the 1970s, when George Olshevsky (owner of a set of Marvel Comics himself), put started a series of Marvel Index magazines, that contained that information in multiple volume form, focusing on a character or small group of characters in one particular magazine volume.

Here are the first two of those magazines, one focused on the Amazing Spider-Man, the second on Conan and the Barbarians.

The Amazing Spider-Man

Spider-Man (young Peter Parker, bitten by a radioactive spider, gaining the proportional abilities of a spider, planned on using those abilities for fame and fortune, who also learned a tragic lesson with the preventable death of his Uncle Ben at the hands of a burglar...that "with great power, there must also come great responsibility" in his first tale by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko).   But, unless you had an Amazing Fantasy #15 (August, 1962), you likely wouldn't know that.  But, in January, 1976, The Amazing Spider-Man Index (Marvel Comics Index #1) came out, written by George Olshevsky with a color cover by Ronn Sutton.

Spidey didn't start in Amazing Spider-Man, but premiered in the last issue of a horror/monster comic book, like the old time ones produced for years...

...but, these, along with various Spider-Man centric titles were covered in this index.

The issues covered here are:
Amazing Adventures #1-6 (June 1961 to November 1961)

(Tales of monsters and alien invasions, including adventures of Dr. Droom, all by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers and Steve Ditko)

Amazing Adult Fantasy #7-14 (December 1961 to June 1962)

(Even more aliens, invasions and oddly named monsters....all by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko)

Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962)

(the issue that started it all, but was the last of a run)

Amazing Spider-Man #1-151 (March 1963 to December 1975)

(this is the majority focus of this index, featuring Peter Parker, Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin, Kingpin and oh so much more excitement and adventure in all those issues!)

Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1-9 (1964 to 1973)

(oversized issues, started off with big new tales including the premiere of the Sinister Six, later issues reprinted hard to find original stories from earlier issues)

Spectacular Spider-Man #1-2 (July 1968 to November 1968)

(larger, magazine sized tales of Spider-Man, in continuity with the regular comics)

Amazing Spider-Man (Mini-Comic) February 1969

(Reprints Amazing Spider-Man #42, revealing the face of Mary Jane Watson!)

Giant-Size Super-Heroes #1 (June 1974)

(featuring a meeting of Morbius the Living Vampire and the Man-Wolf, both who got spin off series in Marvel monster titles)

Giant-Size Spider-Man #1-6 (July 1974 to 1975)

(special team-ups of Spider-Man and other characters, including Dracula, Doc Savage, Master of Kung Fu, the Punisher and the Man-Thing, with a Spidey/Human Torch reprint in the last issue)

Spidey Super-Stories #1-14 (October 1974 to December 1975)

(stories published in conjunction with the Electric Company; simpler stories for younger readers, to get them interested in Marvel Comics, and not tied to the main continuity).

All of which had a black and white picture of the cover, title of the stories, writer and artists, main first appearances and comments.

A separate section in the back had a cross-index of Spider-Man comics by personnel, and another cross-index by appearances of characters.

Conan and the Barbarians

Marvel Comics Index #2 featured Conan and the Barbarians, and came out in March, 1976 (compiled by George Olshevsky with a cover by Tim Conrad).  Conan was created in the pulp novels by Robert E. Howard, whose hero was based in the Hyborean Age before the fall of Atlantis.  Conan first appeared in comics in Conan the Barbarian #1 (October, 1970) by Roy Thomas, Barry Windsor-Smith and Dan Adkins.

This issue also features bits on King Kull and Solomon Kane, a little taste of Red Sonja, Sinbad, Thongor and Gullivar Jones (all licensed by Marvel at the time) as well as Marvel characters Ka-Zar, Shanna and Man-Wolf!

The issues covered here are:

Conan the Barbarian #1-61 (October 1970 to April 1976)

(Tales of Conan, including the premieres of Thoth-Amon, Red Sonja and adaptations of stories by Robert E. Howard and Gardner Fox, and monsters and sorcerors galore)

King-Size Conan #1 (1973)

(Early Conan reprints)

Giant-Size Conan #1-5 (September 1974 to 1975)

(Some new stories, some reprints, and some a mix of both)

Savage Sword of Conan #1-10 (August 1974 to February 1976)

(Magazine sized black and white stories of Conan, and others like Red Sonja, King Kull and Blackmark, not under the Comics Code Authority)

Savage Sword of Conan Annual #1 (Summer 1975)

(Reprints of Conan the Barbarian stories, a story from Monsters On The Prowl and one King Kull tale with a cover painting by Enrique Badia Romero)

Ka-Zar #1-3 (August 1970 to March 1971)

(reprints of Ka-Zar/Lord Kevin Plunder appearances with his pet sabretooth Zabu in X-Men, Amazing Spider-Man and Daredevil, with new Hercules and Angel stories in the back)

Ka-Zar #1-15 (January 1974 to April 1976)

(skipping Ka-Zar's appearances in Marvel Super-Heroes and Astonishing Tales, issues with new adventures of the hero of the Savage Land, including Shanna, Zabu, Klaw and more)

Kull The Conqueror #1-10 (June 1971 to September 1973)

(King Kull of Valusia is another creation of Robert E. Howard, set in a time 8000 years before Conan, who premiered in Creatures On The Loose #10, got his own title for two issues, had the story finished in Monsters In the Prowl, then had his own title revived with issue #3, facing monsters including Serpent People)

Kull The Destroyer #11-15 (November 1973 to August 1974)

(Kull's title changed from the Conqueror to the Destroyer, as his foe, Thulsa Doom, took control of Valusia, and this story continued in...)

Kull and the Barbarians #1-3 (May 1975 to September 1975)

(With a first issue full of reprints, Kull's saga continued in the next two issues of this black and white magazine, along with stories of Red Sonja and Solomon Kane - another creation of Howard's)

Savage Tales #1-11 (May 1971 to July 1975)

(Starting with tales of Conan, as well as the Femizons, as well as the premiere of Man-Thing, this black and white magazine switched over to tales of Ka-Zar, Shanna the She-Devil and Brak the Barbarian)

Savage Tales Annual #1 (Summer 1975)

(Reprints of Astonishing Tales of Ka-Zar and Zabu, with some art by Barry Windsor-Smith before he worked on Conan)

Chamber Of Chills #1-21 (November 1972 to March 1976)

(Though only the first two issues are indexed, due to having stories with The Dragon Slayer and Brak The Barbarian, covers for all 21 issues are included in the index)

Chamber Of Darkness #1-8 (October 1969 to December 1970)

(Only indexing issue 4 with Starr the Slayer, it does feature the 8 issues of this horror title)

Chamber Of Darkness Special #1 (January 1972)

(The one and only special for Chamber of Darkness cover in the index)

Monsters On The Prowl #9-30 (February 1971 to October 1974)

(Continuing numbering from Chamber of Darkness, reprints of monster tales from before Fantastic Four #1, including stories of Xemu the Titan, originally called the Hulk in Strange Tales, and It the Living Colossus from Tales Of Suspense, along with a few new King Kull tales)

Tower Of Shadows #1-9 (September 1969 to January 1971)

(A few fighters, like Beowulf, Vandal the Barbarian and King Hamand, plus horror reprints)

King-Size Tower Of Shadows #1 (December 1971)

(One special, cover only)

Creatures On The Loose #10-37 (1971 to September 1975)

(Switching over from Tower Of Shadows, first, horror reprints with  King Kull for a few issues, then the title changed...

....to feature Lt. Gullivar Jones, a character licensed from Edwin L. Arnold, though changed to a Vietnam veteran to go with the times, and transported across space and time to a Mars one billion years ago, where he helped a Princess Heru, eerily similar to Burroughs' John Carter of Mars, with the last cover in the series by Jim Sterenko....

...who drew the first cover for Thongor, a barbarian who fought in ancient Lemuria, and was licensed from novels by Lin Carter, fighting his share of magicians, gods and serpent people, whose people helped give rise to the Serpent Crown, which affected modern Marvel stories....

...then Man-Wolf, who was really astronaut John Jameson, the son of Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson, and rescued by Spider-Man in his first solo issue.  Later, after turning a moon rock he found into a pendant, he would turn into the Man-Wolf at a full moon.  After a few adventures against Spider-Man, Man-Wolf had his own series, where he faced Kraven the Hunter, the Hate-Monger, and agents of SHIELD, and his last issues were drawn by George Perez, as the series was taking a turn more towards science fantasy)

Worlds Unknown #1-8 (May 1973 to August 1974)

(Odd novel and movie adaptions, switching to movies with the Golden Voyage of Sinbad)

These were just the first two indexes, fraught with problems, as they would detail within the indexes, but there were more to come, including teams like the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, but those are tales for the future!


  1. Hi, I'm trying to track down a Spider Man comic I used to have, bought between 1980 and 1986 (pretty sure in the summer), where Peter Parker gets injured (as Spiderman) and turns up at MJs house and falls into her arms as she opens the door. Any help tracking it down greatly appreciated. Kind regards, Andy