The majority of casual comic fans have never really heard of this series from 1993 and it’s easily ignorable unless the retro Marvel-esque covers are your kinda thing. If you just glance at it and toss it away then you’ll miss the most important thing; Alan Moore penned every issue with a rotating crew of artist and inkers including Rick Veitch, Steve Bissette, John Totleben, Dave Gibbons, Don Simpson, Chester Brown, and Jim Valentino. That’s…..a pretty awesome grouping of creators.
Every issue stands alone as a parody/homage to the Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko era of Marvel. While you can read every issue by itself they do actually start to connect into one cohesive event that touches on all the separate characters, mimicking the close world of the Marvel Universe.
The tricky thing is each issue has a different comic title with the 1963 indica hiding inside the Image brand on the top left corner, a design that might throw off some readers. Part one takes place in Mystery Incorporated (Fantastic Four), the next chapter jumps to No One Escapes the Fury (Amazing Spider-Man), then over to Tales of The Uncanny (Captain America & a Silver Surfer/Iron man hybrid), then on over to Tales From Beyond (Hulk & Doctor Strange), then over to Horus Lord of Light (Thor), and finally ending at The Tomorrow Syndicate (Avengers). None of all these are terribly difficult to find, although the first three are generally a little easier. I’ve only ever seen one copy of Horus pop up in 15 years, and I snatched that one up for myself.
Now for the bad news. There was supposed to be one final special Giant Size final issue but due to delays (Jim lee was supposed to draw it) and the changes of the industry (Lee moving Wildstorm to DC, the chaos of the founding circle of Image, and Alan Moore pretty much hating everybody) there is no chance in hell this will ever be finished. I also believe it’s highly unlikely this will ever be collected, at least not for a good long time.
Is it still worth hunting down even though it will leave you sad there will never be any more? Definitely. For one thing, the stories are just straight up fun. Moore captures the style and tone of silver age Marvel comics perfectly and invents some great tribute characters. Then you have the fake letter pages and ads which are nothing short of brilliant. Moore places himself as the Stan Lee of the company and becomes the overbearing ‘Affable Al Moore’ and just runs with it. The Horus issue alone is brilliant for the way in which he switches the Norse mythology for Egyptian and makes a fantastic superhero comic out of it. Plus, you can usually find these issues in cheap bins since most people don’t know what they are. I would say spending $20-25 is reasonable, but in all likelihood you can get away with only dropping $5-10 on this set.