CGC Registry

IMJ's Marvel Boy Set


Set Type: Marvel Boy
Owner: IMJ
Last Modified: 9/17/2020
Views: 117

Rank: 2
Score: 1175
Leading by: 166
Points to Higher Rank: 823

Set Description:

"In the dawning days of the 1950's, there came from the beyond the heavens, a mighty youth!"







I first discovered that Marvel Boy had authentic Golden Age roots from the two pages of note he was awarded in Marvel’s popular 1993 history book, "Marvel: Five Decades of The World's Greatest Comics". Until then, I had only been exposed to the character through the backstory from Mark Gruenwald’s Quasar run. The story of the Quantum Bands hinted at the historical importance of Robert Grayson, but until learning more about Marvel’s publishing history from that coffee table book, I didn't know the character had actually seen print as a Golden Age superhero. This was in the 90’s and before we could aim our “google-fu” at any area of interest, so books like this one were the valuable research tools of the time.


As a kid, it was a revelation to find that Quasar had authentic Golden Age roots through the Marvel Boy archetype. Finding this out was somehow legitimizing to the character and to Mark Gruenwald’s efforts to tell Quasar’s story, and so in turn, I became interested in reading more about Robert Grayson as well. The problem, however, was that these desirable Golden Age books were as mythological and seemingly unattainable as something like Tales of Suspense #39 was for your average kid-collector.










It wasn’t until some had passed that I fished a “Marvel Super Action” book out of the bargain bins and realized that the most accessible way to read the Marvel Boy content was through reprints. Finding the reprints of “Marvel Boy #1” and “Astonishing #4” in “Marvel Super-Action #4” rekindled my interest in digging up more on Robert Grayson’s Marvel Boy.

The appeal of a Golden Age I.P. like Marvel Boy can be multifaceted to collectors. It is noteworthy that Marvel Boy was the only new Marvel super hero of the 1950’s, whereas others might appreciate the historical story-beats making these books inextricable from the “invasion scares” of the era. But for me, first and foremost are the aspects of character-prototype and story connections to Marvel’s Cosmic Avenger and Protector of the Universe, Wendell Vaughn. Although later Marvel material has indicated that Grayson’s bands were never the Quantum Bands at all, a magnificent argument can still be woven that Marvel Boy #1 is their first appearance. And regardless of those years of story retcons, it is clear that the character is the archetype that led to the design and power set of Marvel Man, who later took the name “Quasar”.

Of course, we can put those threads to the side and interested collectors are still left with the storytelling sensibility that makes this run a fun, if not anachronistic archetype of Golden Age comic books. The overall science fiction elements of the time, the invasion scare content and flying sources are all there. And then, the series takes a somewhat surprising thematic turn a few issues in, with the character shift from costumed super-hero into a Private Eye of the time, speaking even more to that era’s zeitgeist.


In the end though, I pursue the Marvel Boy & Astonishing material as an extension of my Quasar collecting and enthusiasm for that character. I hunt down these books for the same reason that after decades of collecting Iron Man I dug up copies of Tales of Suspense #16 - that it's simply more deep-cut material to dive into when building a collection of content representing the characters that we gravitate towards.


Since being intrigued by this character as a kid I’ve managed, over time, to cobble this run together as raw examples. A few of which are maybe a hair nicer than “reader copies” and make for good slabbing candidates. But in the end, I’d like this to be more than a quick slab set, and rather have it be a special golden age set, even if that takes more time.


This set in slabs is off to a solid start with a respectable issue #2, but the uphill climb is ahead digging up solid examples of the remainder of the run. We will see how the rest of this one goes.


Slot DescriptionCert #GradeScore
Marvel Boy 1 No Comic    Shop eBay
Marvel Boy 2 1204403003 9.01175 Shop eBay
Astonishing 3 No Comic    Shop eBay
Astonishing 4 No Comic    Shop eBay
Astonishing 5 No Comic    Shop eBay
Astonishing 6 No Comic    Shop eBay

All Set Comics/Scores
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