#2571: Marvel Selects Spider-man #3 (2000)
So this is a weird one.
Marvel Selects was a pair of strange series published in 2000, one title dedicated to Spider-man and one to the Fantastic Four. The comics featured reprints of stories from the 1970s, which was not exactly the peak material in the runs of these characters. Both series ran only six issues, so it doesn’t seem like the idea was a success.
What is weird, though, is that this comic features ads that are not ads.
Our coding protocol addresses three types of ads: external ads that are sold to some company that is not the publisher (a film studio, a video game company, a food company); in-house ads that advertise other products from the publisher itself (subscriptions, other forthcoming titles, trade paperbacks), and public service announcements. What it doesn’t count are what this book has: reproductions of ads that ran in the original comic book that are marked at the bottom as no longer valid. That is to say, they are ads for companies that no longer exist.
So, what are they?
We have a category for editorial content, and the little notices on the bottom seem like that could make them qualify, but it’s not really what we mean by that term. We have a category for activities like puzzles, but that also doesn’t seem to fit. We have one for title pages, but that’s a no.
There are two categories that seem close. The first is pin-ups, which are images meant to stand alone outside of a narrative, which these do. The other is behind-the-scenes material. If we would want to make a case that the comic is being meta-reflexive about its own publishing history (which, to be fair, it actually is!) then this category might bend enough to accommodate these pieces.
Frankly, I’m not sure where I fall on this question yet, though I lean towards pin-up. If you have an opinion, we’re all ears.
There is, of course, always the dreaded “other”, but we’d prefer not to have to do that….