ré·su·mé [rez-oo-mey, rez-oo-mey]
1. a summing up; summary.
2. a brief written account of personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experience, as that prepared by an applicant for a job.
In January of 1984, a huge deal for me came in the form of Phoenix: The Untold Story #1. At $2.00, it cost nearly four times as much as a normal comic, but was at least twice the size. It had a rigid glossy cover and heavy stock interior paper that was brighter and more colorful than anything on the stands. Only Marvel Fanfare had higher quality printing, but I always found it terribly garish, since colorists seemed to have difficulty adapting to the subtler palette requirements. The art by John Byrne and Terry Austin was glorious, rendering a variety of environments in an epic space battle. Chris Claremont's story was all about scope and gravitas. No wonder this Dark Phoenix Sage was so revered. I read it in a recliner (a rare luxury) at the apartment of a friend of the family, and even though Thunderbirds Are Go was playing on cable television (woooo) in the background, them marionettes couldn't hold a candle to this. There was a lengthy interview at the back of the book explaining how the project came to be, its impact on the industry and X-Men narrative. I lapped it all up. I probably haven't read the story since. I just toss through the book and relish the nostalgia for the feeling it gave me as a child. My spotty following of Classic X-Men years later made it clear to me that there was no way the printed book could equal my childhood perception of it, so why taint the memory?
Perhaps not as monumental, but surely of great inspiration, was The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #15. It had everyone worth knowing on a cover by (surprise) John Byrne, most importantly the excellent renditions of Captain America and Wolverine. This was the one with the schematics of all the weapons and vehicles. I doubt I read many entries, but I sure stared at those designs. I believe there was an official S.H.I.E.L.D. membership card on the inside back cover, or maybe the Avengers (or both?) Whichever way it went, I dutifully cut out the card and filled it out with my vitals.
In February, I didn't actually buy Iron Man #182 off the spinner rack at Gemco. I wonder what effect it would have had if I did? It had this stark (no pun intended) cover of writing on an alley wall. "In the morning, Tony Stark will be sober... or dead." It looked like an interesting if depressing story, but I ended up not buying anything that month. I never really did get into Iron Man, outside of the movies, and even then it's more out of loyalty to Robert Downey Jr. This book might have made a difference.