Marvel Fanfare was a comic published by Marvel Comics(natch) back in the 80's to experiment with distribution in the then burgeoning direct sales market.The comics were printed on thicker and glossier paper than what was common at the time and utilized more sophisticated color processing.It was also used to clean out some of their back log of fill in issues.
Ok ,there are two stories in this issue.The main feature is the second part of a story written by Chris Claremont with art by Michael Golden starring Ka-zar the jungle lord and featuring Spiderman and the Angel.I'm guessing this was originally intended to be an issue of Marvel Team-Up,but it's easy to see why it was put on the back burner.The plot in the Ka-Zar story has something to do with the evil Brainchild and his partners capturing people and changing them into inhuman creatures.Or something.Spidey and Angel have already been transformed and Ka-Zar is trying to save them as well as a female scientist who has come to the Savage Land to search for another scientist who's incidentally a creature named Sauron.Or something.
Even though there's a recap and lots of captions,this story is very confusing.It's not that there's too much going on,it's that it's not told in a clear fashion.I feel most of the blame has to go to Michael Golden.Golden is a wonderful artist,but he dropped the ball on the storytelling on this.Too many close ups with no clear delineation of where characters are in relation to each other or their immediate environment.People just all of a sudden appear in panels when it hasn't been established that they were even in the room.Marvelous figures,great coloring,but the reader is left feeling, "What?Where'd that guy come from?"If I hadn't been already familiar with most of the characters.I'd still be scratching my head.
The back up story is a Reed Richards tale by Roger McKenzie and Trevor Von Eeden.Reed has forgotten he and Sue's anniversary because he's locked in the lab trying to find a cure for the Thing's condition.We get a two page recap of the Fantastic Four's origin,then somehow Annihilus shows up and has a particularly pointless fight with Reed.Reed of course tricks him back into the negative zone.The end.The art and the script are the definition of serviceable.No zip,no flourish,just the facts ma'am.It's obvious this was produced to have a a story ready to go in case the Dreaded Deadline Doom struck.On the other hand,I least I can tell what was going on in this tale.
There are no ads in this comic,but the Bullpen Bulletin editorial page provides an interesting look down memory lane.There's an item announcing that the X-Men has won the Eagle Awards for favorite comic for the 5th year in a row.There's item hyping how great Marvel's graphic novel line is doing.There's also an announcement of the death of comics artist Wally Wood.Looking at the checklist of comics on sale that month,it's amusing to see some of things Marvel was willing to publish back then.Crazy (a Mad Magazine clone),Epic Illustrated (fantasy/science-fiction),Team America and Rom (based on toy lines) and Dennis the Menace.Dennis the Menace!
All in all Marvel Fanfare #2 was nothing groundbreaking in terms of story or art.Nothing significant as far as the histories of the characters,but a interesting look back at a time when comics production and distribution were in transition.