Marvel Entertainment has certainly gone far from its basic beginnings as a comic book publisher. Now a part of the Disney umbrella, it has been able to stretch its multimedia muscle through TV series, animation, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, videogames and much more. But even as the Marvel brand continues to spread through other media, its original source and inspiration, Marvel Comics, also carries on the stories of their constituent characters as established decades ago. With the comic book arm of Marvel developing a line-wide special event to pay homage to its classic characters, they are also reviving for the duration a totally retro media spin-off for the fans: Marvel collectors’ stamps.

Superhero stamps

As a tie-in to the “Marvel legacy” line-wide re-launch being undertaken by Marvel Comics, Marvel Entertainment is reintroducing to a new generation a favorite pastime of retro fans of the company: collecting “Marvel Value Stamps." This was a promotional program that was initiated by Marvel Comics 43 years ago, from 1974 to 1976. At the time, the publishers included a special printed stamp on the cover of the various comic titles running at that particular period, usually depicting a headshot of a particular Marvel superhero like Spider-Man.

The Marvel Value Stamp program ran in two waves of collectibles, with the publishers enjoining the readers to cut out the stamps from the covers in order to collect them all inside a special stamp album, which was available by direct mail order from Marvel Comics.

It was a hit with the readers for a while, only to fall out of favor with the decline of stamp collecting as a hobby for any but the most dedicated philatelists. Furthermore, cutting out a portion of a comic book cover to get at the stamp imprinted there was very damaging to the publications, which may have become collector’s items in themselves.

Then meets now

Marvel Comics “Legacy” re-launch is being presented as an opportunity to reconcile the classic character portrayals of yesteryear with the current status of Marvel superheroes in the latest titles. This involves having some of the original characters from the past (Steve Rogers/Captain America, Tony Stark/Iron Man, Mar-Vell/Captain Marvel) getting to meet the modern-day successors of their mantles (Sam Wilson, Riri Williams, Carol Danvers respectively) in special one-off issues.

Marvel Entertainment will be including brand-new Value Stamps in all 53 titles taking part in the “Legacy” branding. This time, however, the stamps themselves will be printed on inserts rather than the covers, to avoid having to cut up some premiere cover artwork. A stamp book is also being advertised with details on how acquire them to be revealed at a later date. Marvel Legacy will start on issues coming out in October.

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