Dollar Bin: The Forgotten Past of Marvel Comics

Back before Iron Man was a household name….

Back before waves of fourteen-year-old girls “fangirl” at the sight of Tom Holland…

Back Before Avengers End Game earned 2.7 billion USD in the box office…

And back before Stan Lee was a hero to all….

There was a side of Marvel Comics that only the geeks know about. Outlandish runs of comics driven by the cliché and crutched by generic genre semantics. Promoted to the kids, but beloved by the “losers” of the time, these are the key factors that make up a Marvel Comic Dollar Bin. Over-the-top cover art that is simply humorous. These are the comics that slipped through the cracks. The ones that only children had because nobody else wanted them and all they could get from Mom and Dad is a dollar.

Ridiculous titles such as “The House That Dripped..DOUGH?!”

Dramatic stylized title logos to catch the eye. Usually in bold colors like red, these logos are all very distinctive and are created by the artists to help capture the mood of the hero. Spiderman’s title logo always flows similar to his webbing and Thor’s logo is always rigid and strong, like the God of Thunder Himself.

Notice both of these title logos are bright red, this was done to grab the attention of young children.

Sound effects have always been an important part of comic books, creating the action for the readers to imagine. But in the dollar bin comics…the artists clearly did not put much though into these effects.

Noises like “SHRAK” and “ZBAM” have not once ever been naturally made.

And finally, the advertisements. These clearly show who the dollar bin was catered to…. the children. 

A Marvel trading card advertisement with kids shocked to see the Amazing Spider-Man.

All of these semantics mixed with many more create a series of very similar comic books. Despite having different narratives, the structure of the dollar bin comic will always remain the same. These comics reveal to us the “embarrassing baby photos” of Marvel’s past that most people were unaware of. 

Follow this hyperlink to read Jarred Bloom’s project statement.