Do You Have All the Characters From Your First Marvel Comic In Marvel Legend Form?

It always starts with one. That one comic that made you want to read another…and then another. Soon you’re hooked, and if you’re blessed or burdened with the specific collector gene, you’re ready to move on to the next step, which is getting toy representations of all of those colorful characters.

Sometimes that takes a while. Despite the way it seems now, toys based on Marvel characters could often be quite sparse. There were droughts between Mego’s cloth-covered line and the early 80s Secret Wars line. Then an even bigger drought before the era of the 90s five-inchers began. Then after a brief hiatus, Toybiz started up the Marvel Legends era. Hasbro took over and—despite some shakiness in the beginning—has built something to be proud of.

By now we’re hundreds and hundreds of characters deep into the Marvel Universe, and it’s expanded in all directions, from video games to an entire cinematic universe. Action figures based on Marvel characters don’t appear to be stopping.

But usually it all starts with one.

I thought it would be interesting to go back and find the very first Marvel Comic I ever read, and see if Marvel Legends had provided me with all the major characters from that issue. Depending on the comic, it might be an easy challenge, or it could be tricky, depending on the villain of the month.

There’s a section on called “newsstand” that allows you to look up all of the comics that came out in a specific month. I knew the year was 1981, but I wasn’t sure which month. I started with January and flipped through the Marvel listings until I saw the first cover that I knew I got right off the rack. In 1981 this would have been in a gas station mini-mart, the kind where your both comics and the brown paper bag that the cashier shoved them into would smell like the lingering stale cigarette smoke from a thousand customers. I can still dredge up that smell in my memory, and it’s both disgusting and nostalgic at the same time.

According to the website, my first Marvel Comic was Marvel Team-Up #106, which was cover dated June of 1981 but would have been on sale—meaning on the spinner rack—in March of 1981. Whether or not I actually got it the exact month it came out I can’t remember—it depends on how long a comic would have been allowed to linger on the rack back then—but I’d say that it was pretty accurate. I have the next issue as well, so it’s safe to say I got this the month it was out.

Marvel Team-up was technically a third Spider-man title in addition to Amazing Spider-Man and Spectacular Spider-man, so of course Spider-man was the main character. His co-star of the month was Captain America. The villain of the issue was the Scorpion, and the plot revolves around Scorpion getting revenge on J. Jonah Jameson. Spider-Man and Captain America team up to save the loud-mouthed blowhard, which is the least rewarding bit of heroics ever.

I ended up doing pretty good with this issue. I got lucky that there were no extremely niche characters.  The recent retro Spider-Man takes care of this bronze-age interpretation of the character quite well. We got a brand-new Captain America recently in the 80th anniversary line, although the upcoming 20th anniversary of Marvel Legend Captain America no doubt has a color scheme that is closer to the cap in this issue. And the Scorpion received an excellent update in a recent Spider-man wave.

In addition to all of that, we even have a retro-carded J. Jonah Jameson figure so Scorpion has someone to kidnap. This means I at least have decent figural representation of every main character in this issue. Once I have the new Cap in hand it will be even closer.

This was a pretty fun challenge, and I was pretty surprised by the outcome. What about your first issue? Do you have everybody that appeared and if not, would you like the holdouts? Let us know in the comments!

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