Marvel Comics Index

Marvel Comics Index, vols 1, 2, 3 and 4 (1976-77)

The Marvel Comics Index #03, The Avengers, Defenders, and Captain Marvel

In the mid-1970’s George Olshevsky was probably one of the most envied comic book fans in the world, for he could lay claim to a unique boast: he was the only person to own every Marvel Comic ever published. Olshevsky utilised this vast collection by attempting to assemble the first complete catalogue of the company’s inventory, the Marvel Comics Index.

Between 1976 and 1982 Olshevsky compiled 12 volumes of his Marvel Comics Index featuring some of the comic giant’s most popular titles. The Fantastic Four, The Avengers, Captain America, The X-Men, Iron Man, Daredevil, The Hulk, among many others, were all broken down, documented and catalogued.

Marvel Comics Index #4, page5
Olshevsky’s introduction to The Fantastic Four, Index #4

In each volume Olshevsky provided detailed author and artist credits for each story as well as reproductions of each comic book cover. The comic’s listings ran in chronological order and each volume featured a guide to using that Index as well as an introduction to each title. At the back of each volume was an alphabetical credit list of Marvel staff cross-indexed against the issue they worked on as well as a complete cast list of characters.

The Marvel Comics Index #2, page 9
Page 9 from Conan and the Barbarians, volume #2

Many of the volumes featured listings for multiple titles and one has to admire Olshevsky’s attention to detail when compiling the books – these volumes really were a goldmine of information. For Marvel fans in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s his Marvel Comics Index was an invaluable resource for comic book readers and collectors alike. I have fond memories of pouring over all the books in this collection, with my copy of The X-Men (volume #9A) receiving the most attention.

Marvel Comics Index #4, page 97
The staff credits index from The Fantastic Four, volume #4

As for the books themselves they all followed the same basic format: they measured 215mm x 280mm, ran from 84 to 120 black and white pages and featured full-colour covers with original artwork by some of Marvel’s biggest artists. The books were published by G & T Enterprises and later volumes were distributed by Pacific Comics.

The success of Olshevsky’s Index didn’t escape Marvel’s attention and in the early 80’s they began publishing their own version of the Index with Olshevsky acting as complier and Editor. Dozens of volumes were published during the 1980’s and 1990’s and proved a hit with Marvel readers.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be taking a closer look at all 12 volumes of the Marvel Comics Index, beginning with volumes #1-4 below. I’ll also feature volumes #5, #6, #7A and #7B (click here), as well as volumes #8A, #8B, #9A and #9B (click here) as well as more details on Olshevsky and other information contained in the Indexes.

The Marvel Comics Index #01, The Amazing Spider-Man

Marvel Comics Index #1: The Amazing Spider-Man

Published January 1976
Cover artwork by Ronn Sutton

Indexed in this volume:
Amazing Adventures #1-6; Amazing Adult Fantasy #6-14;
Amazing Fantasy #15; The Amazing Spider-Man #1-151; The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1-9; The Spectacular Spider-Man #1-2; The Amazing Spider-Man (mini comic) #1; Giant-Size Superheroes: Spider-Man #1; Giant-Size Spider-Man #1-6 and Spidey Super Stories #1-14

the-marvel-comics-index-02-conan-and-the-barbarians

Marvel Comics Index #2: Conan and the Barbarians

Published March 1976
Cover artwork by Tim Conrad

Indexed in this volume:
Conan The Barbarian #1-61; Conan The Barbarian King-Size Special #1; Giant-Size Conan The Barbarian # 1-5; Savage Sword of Conan The Barbarian #1-10; The Savage Sword of Conan The Barbarian Annual #1; Ka-Zar #1-3; Ka-Zar, Lord of The Hidden Jungle #1-15; Kull The Conqueror #1-15; Kull and the Barbarians #1-3; Savage Tales #1-11; Savage Tales Annual #1; Monsters on the Prowl #11, 14, 16, 17, 24, 25; Tower of Shadows #5-8; Creatures on the Loose #10, 16-37 and Worlds Unknown # 7-8

Six cover galleries are also included: Chamber of Chills; Chamber of Darkness; Monsters on the Prowl; Tower of Shadows; Creatures on the Loose and Worlds Unknown. 

The Marvel Comics Index #03, The Avengers, Defenders, and Captain Marvel

Marvel Comics Index #3: The Avengers,
The Defenders and Captain Marvel

Published August 1976
Front cover artwork by Neal Adams.
Back cover artwork by Franc Reyes.

Indexed in this volume:
Black Knight #1-5; The Avengers #1-151; The Avengers Annual #1-5; Giant-Size Avengers #1-5; Captain Marvel #1-46; Giant-Size Captain Marvel #1; The Defenders #1-39 and Giant-Size Defenders #1-5

The Marvel Comics Index #03, back cover

Marvel Comics Index #4, The Fantasic Four

Marvel Comics Index #4: The Fantastic Four

Published July 1977
Cover artwork by Jim Steranko

Indexed in this volume:
Marvel Boy #1-2; Astonishing #3-6; The Fantastic Four #1-180;
The Fantastic Four Annual #1-11; Giant-Size Super-Stars #-6;
The Human Torch # 1-8 and The Silver Surfer #1-18

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