Friday, January 16, 2009

Master of the Picnic Arts?

File this one under "Collector-Level : INSANE"...

As I was returning my Marvel Calendars * to their proper place on the "paper-goods" shelf of my collection within the Sanctum Sanctorum, I had to slide THIS item over, lest it get crushed.

Seeing it, I realized that something utterly ridiculous like this would be a great item to showcase next on the blog.

I present to you a Marvel Comics "PARTY TABLE COVER"!

*click all images to cast a spell of "enbiggenment" upon them.*

Produced in 01995 by Hallmark Cards for their 'PARTY EXPRESS' line.

But WHY is it in MY collection?

Take a look at the flip-side...

Still don't see it?
OK. Here's a CLOSE-UP.

Behind that image of Thor you'll see THREE panels featuring DOCTOR STRANGE!

If those panels and poses (and dialogue) seem familiar... they should.
As any Doc-fan worth his salt will tell you, they originate in the classic;
Strange Tales # 127.
Which along with issue # 126; featured Dr. Strange's first battle with Dormammu.

Written by Stan Lee. Art by Steve Ditko.

The story behind it's acquisition is a testament to my die-hard collector's insanity.

Back then, I was holding down two jobs (one was as Art director - and Art books department head for a small Antiquarian book and comics shoppe). The second gig was as an artist for a company that painted murals for businesses and private homes.

One day, I was part of a team sent to paint a mural for a Party store.
While walking through the aisles my eye caught a glimpse of the familiar webbed bootie (his boot, not his butt) of Spider-Man.

Walking over, I saw several party supply items featuring Marvel characters.
To any rabid fan collector-monkey, what happens next is a familiar series of events;

My pulse began to quicken, my eye growing sharper, looking for any slight sign of the object of my obsession.

After looking at all the assorted goodies; plates, napkins, party hats and favors, I saw no sign of Dr. Strange (or any of my other sources-for-mania).
Just as I was about to go back to my work, I saw the paper tablecloth.

It was shrink-wrapped in clear plastic so all I could see was the front and back (despite my desperate attempt to peer into the sides) of the item.

But, within a fraction of a second, I spied that tiny one-tone reproduction of the Master of the Mystic Arts.


"The Quest" leads me to some strange places, and even when I'm not actively on "The Quest", I am always at the ready.


As a bonus, for the curious, here are pics of the item partially unfolded.

This isn't the entire table cover (which measures 54" x 89 1/4" or 1.37m x 2.26m for our metric friends) , but it is this series of artwork that is repeated constantly all over the item.

The LOGOS are what comprise the main body of the table cover. And the comic-art is the border that runs along the sides.

Featuring artwork by modern Marvel artists, like Jim Lee, Art Adams, Gary Frank, John Byrne, Mark Bagley, and others superimposed over a background of classic Marvel comic panels by such masters as Ditko and Jack Kirby, this paper table cloth, would have been a hit at any kiddie comic-fan's party!

Trust me. There's LOTS more "stupid shit" like this in my collection.
And hopefully, you'll get to see all of it in time.


* Check out the recent "Time Warp" series of Marvel Calendars, if you haven't already, via these links.
Part I - The "Classic" Marvel Calendars -
Part II - The "Modern" Marvel Calendars -
Part III - The 1980 Occult World of Doctor Strange calendar -


Howard Hallis said...

You're not insane. I admire your attention to detail Sanctum, and after all it is a Ditko panel...

When's the picnic??

~P~ said...

Ah, yes. So you say... but YOU'RE just as crazy as I am.


As long as we stick together, we can testify to each other's "sanity" on the day we're paid a visit by the men with the padded-rubber truck.

Post a Comment