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Eel thru Mad-Dog (1988)

This is the second volume of the Gamer’s Handbook to the Marvel Universe — Eel thru Mad-Dog (1988).

These books, encyclopedic though they may be, are not entirely original. Much of the material, including the big full-color model sheet illustrations, originated in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe series of reference comics. This was a deeply confusing line (and collection of sub-lines and one-shots) that ran in different formats from 1982 through 1993, then again in the aughts. The original 15 issues were comic sized, with distinctive wrap-around covers where a mass of characters on a white background were walking left to right. That run included a book of dead characters and a book of tech. The second series ran 28 issues and was updated and reconfigured and also included Marvel’s licensed characters, like GI Joe. The ‘90s version switched formats to three-hole punched comic-sized cardstock sheets with custom binders. There are 36 of those and I suspect they took their cue from the format of the TSR books.

That was a mountain of source material for the RPG. I can’t imagine processing it all. Or owning all the Official Handbook issues — the worst thing about them was the fact that it was so difficult to get them all out of the back issue bins. Or the crummy printing. Maybe that was the worst thing about them.

Anyway, this cover makes me laugh for some reason. So many Iron Mans! Also, this volume has Hobgoblin in it, so it is probably the best one.

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