I can’t think of an occasion when Marvel have put together such a perfect anthology of their comics. The 1974 Marvel Treasury Special, Giant Superhero Holiday Grab-Bag assembles 100 pages of classic comics from the House of Ideas.
The collection opens with a seasonal pairing of Spidey and the Human Torch from Marvel Team-Up 1. It’s probably the most Christmassy tale with Pete and Johnny seeing a softer side to their old foe, Sandman. It also has the first appearance of an unnamed character who would become Misty Knight.
Then we had the glory of Wally Wood drawing a battle between the Sub-Mariner and a certain Man Without Fear. The tale from Daredevil 7 ends with Matt being beaten to a pulp. He earns Namor’s respect for his persistence but comes off worse for wear. A little teaser promised that we would see more of Subby in something called The Invaders. I wonder what that could be?
Next, came a melancholy tale from Amazing Adventures 5 during the period where Natasha Romanov was getting her Modesty Blaise make over. Written by Roy Thomas, drawn by Gene Colan and inked by Bill Everett, we learn that the Black Widow has a video phone in her bathroom, There’s a seasonal touch to this one, snow in San Francisco and unfortunate death.
The Grab-Bag finishes up with a double issue does of Fantastic Four 25-26 where the Thing has a classic Stan Lee-Jack Kirby drawn out drag-down punch up between the Thing and the Incredible Hulk. The battle destroys large swathes of real estate and draws in The Avengers as well. if memory serves, this yarn was a prelude to Jade-jaws regaining a regular series in Tales to Astonish.
There were two more Holiday Grab-Bags, released as part of the regular Marvel Treasury Edition series.