Comics : Marvel 1995 Annual Report
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This review was first published on: 2006.
While operating as a publicly traded company, Marvel began to issue, both quarterly and Annual Reports. While quarterly reports came in the form of card- stock, or gate-fold reports, the annual reports, tended to be comicbook-sized booklets, with the first 32 pages a comicbook stories staring various Marvel heroes punching out Marvel villains while pontificating on the financial standings of Marvel the company. This was then be followed up by more detailed (and more traditionally-presented) financial information about the company.
Marvel 1995 Annual Report
Dec 1995 : SM Article
Summary: Spider-Man appears
This is a 62-page comicbook-sized booklet with the first 32 pages set up as a comicbook detailing information about Marvel's operations during the course of the calendar year 1995. This section is followed by another 32 pages of financial information presented in a more traditional fashion. Yet, even here Marvel has peppered the report with images of its various heroes, as well as unique graphs and charts with them showing off the company's financial information.
J. Jonah Jameson's office at The Daily Bugle has been trashed. He is standing in the rubble of his office with our Friendly-Neighborhood Spider-Man hanging from the ceiling. As is his wont, JJJ accuses Spidey of destroying his office in order to steal a special report on Marvel's '95 annual earnings.
Apparently it is just before deadline, and the information is missing. Spidey musses that while he knows that he has been busy, he hadn't realized that Marvel had extended his franchise so far. Just then, Robbie Robertson rushes into JJJ's office shouting that they should turn on the News channel, as there is additional information on who blew a hole in JJJ's office wall, and stole the report.
They are treated to images of the Hulk bounding through lower Manhattan. Typically, JJJ accuses Spidey of being in cahoots with the Emerald giant, and Spidey, knowing better, swings off to find out what the Hulk knows. Spidey quickly catches up with the Hulk as the Jade behemoth enters a hidden lab on the Lower West Side and retrieves the pages, explaining to the Hulk that he wants to get the pages back to Jonah so that he will finally realize that Spidey is one of the good guys.
As Spidey attempts to gather the pages up (we are treated to a pair of pages discussing Marvel's new strategy regarding story and art, and a second page discussing Fleer/Skybox trading cards), Hulk keeps switching back and forth in his dialogue between "Hulk Smash" and coherent speech. Suddenly, Spidey is joined in his attempt to subdue the Hulk by Captain America and Wolverine, only when Wolverine gets up close to Hulk he realizes that the Brute's smell is all wrong, whereupon Hulk transforms into the Impossible Man. Impy then reveals that he turned the rest of the pages over to several Marvel Villains, including Magneto and The Red Skull. Then Impy disappears.
Spidey then utilizes the teleportation tubes at the lab to send both Cap and Wolverine to hunt up the missing pages of the Bugle's Marvel Report. Wolverine has Spidey contact the kids from Generation X to assist him (while making a side comment about the fact that the Generation X kids might be busy with making another movie for Fox TV, a footnote relates that a Generation X movie was broadcast on FOX on Feb 6, 1996). Wolverine next appears with the kids from Generation X (M, Husk, Jubilee, Chamber, and Skin) in Eastern Europe on the doorstep of Dr. Doom's Latverian castle. And are immediately set upon by several Doombots, which are promptly dispatched by Chamber.
Once the 'bots have been reduced to rubble, a bespeckled man points out that Doom has not been around for months, and that the valise with the pages of the report are in a valise off to the side. M looks in the valise to see two more pages, discussing continued growth in Merchandising, and Toy-Biz. Satisfied that they now have the goods, the heroes get ready to depart, when Doom's man, Augustus DeLorenzo, Doom's Accountant, presents them with a bill for the damage to the Castle, and the 'bots.
Next up, we hook up with Cap, who is now on the upper East Side of Manhattan. Cap stops the Jackal hustling an elderly woman out of an apartment building, as he is carrying a briefcase, Only Cap is prevented from interfering, as the Un-American appears to challenge the hero. Before the pair can throw down, Cap is joined by the Avengers (Iron Man, Giant Man (Pym), Thor, Crystal, Black Widow, Wasp, Vision). Unperturbed, The Un-American calls in his friends, "negative" versions of the Avengers. Whereupon, the Jackal is congratulated by the elderly woman, who turns out to be his mother.
Un-fortunately for the Jackal, the anti-heroes are in fact more of his "un- clones" (including his "mom") and all disintegrate into so much dust (as did most of Jackal's Spider-Clones). Taking the better part of valor, Jackal turns his briefcase over to the Avengers, and beats a hasty retreat. This last batch of pages includes a report on Panini, the Italian sticker company Marvel bought, as well as a page revealing Marvel's future plans.
Back in Midtown Manhattan, Spidey returns the case and all of the pages back to JJJ, only to have him change into The Impossible Man, and inform our hero that there are more pages. As it turns out, the "additional" pages are actually the 32 pages of "traditional" financial data that follows the comicbook portion of the report.
This has to be one of the most unique Annual Reports ever presented, and it is this presentation that earns it its high grade.
As best as can be determined, this was the last annual report that Marvel issued, as it was soon leveraged out by Toy-Biz (its own subsidiary), and wound up becoming part of that company.