Strange 25th Anniversary Portfolio, part 1

 portfolio-cover

The Strange 25th Anniversary Portfolio was released in 1995 to celebrate the first 25 years of the French comic Strange, and featured 25 colour plates reprinting covers from that title’s long publication history. 

Published from January 1970 to December 1996 Strange was a monthly title that reprinted Marvel comics translated into French. Originally published by Editions LUG the title was one of three comics that featured stories licensed from the US publisher – the other two, FanTask and Marvel, folded after less than a year due to pressure from French censors who considered their content too violent. Thankfully Strange avoided cancellation and went on to run for 324 issues, each one reprinting four complete stories featuring some of Marvel’s most famous characters: Spider-Man; The Avengers; Daredevil; The Fantastic Four and The X-Men to name a few.

The covers to Strange featured a mix of reprinted (and often recoloured) artwork as well as original paintings, many by French artist Jean Frisano. Some of his paintings were based on those reprinted covers while some were his own composition, and this anniversary portfolio does a great job showcasing the diversity of Strange‘s covers. The plates measured 210mm by 297mm (slightly smaller than the standard portfolio size) and were printed on thick watercolour paper. The portfolio shipped in a distinctive cardboard folder featuring Spider-Man’s mask and was published by Semic Editions (the company who bought Editions LUG in the mid-Eighties), and was limited to only 5,000 sets.

I really want to do justice to this distinctive portfolio so instead of covering it all in one post I’m going to spread it out over three. The main reason is time: it’s going to take me a while to scan-in and colour-correct the plates; I also want to do a little research into Jean Frisano, an artist with whom I’m not very familiar.

Here are the first eight plates, with annotations:

The Silver Surfer, 1970

Plate 1: The Silver Surfer
From Strange issue 3, March 1970
Artwork by John Buscema and Dan Adkins
Recoloured artwork originally featured on the cover of
The Silver Surfer issue 8, September 1969

Daredevil, 1971

Plate 2: Daredevil
From Strange issue 20, August 1971
Artwork by John Romita, Sr and Frank Giacola
Recoloured artwork originally featured on the cover of
Daredevil issue 20, September 1966

Spider-Man, 1972

Plate 3: Spider-Man
From Strange issue 25, January 1972
Original artwork by Jean Frisano

The X-Men, 1973

Plate 4: The X-Men
From Strange issue 40, April 1973
Artwork by Jean Frisano based on Don Heck‘s original cover pencils from The X-Men issue 39, December 1967

Spider-Man vs Medusa, 1974

Plate 5: Spider-Man vs Medusa
From Strange issue 59, November 1974
Artwork by Jean Frisano based on a panel drawn by Don Heck from The Amazing Spider-Man issue 62, December 1967

Iron Fist, 1975

Plate 6: Iron Fist
From Strange issue 67, July 1975
Original artwork by Jean Frisano.

Captain Marvel, 1976

Plate 7: Captain Marvel
From Strange issue 73, January 1976
Artwork by Jean Frisano based on Jim Starlin‘s original pencils

the-eternals-1977

Plate 8: The Eternals
From Strange issue 92, August 1977
Artwork by Jean Frisano based on Jack Kirby‘s original cover pencils from The Eternals issue 3, September 1976

That’s it for this post. I’ve uploaded eight more plates from the Strange 25th Anniversary Portfolio here, as well as some biographical information on Jean Frisano.

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