Mad Thinker thru Sentry (1988)

Volume three of the Gamer’s Handbook of the Marvel Universe — Mad Think thru Sentry (1988)(no, not that Sentry) has the Punisher on the cover. I like Jeff Butler’s super clean style here and elsewhere in the Marvel Super Heroes line, it suits the not-yet-over-the-top-gritty tone of the comics of the era, mostly. The fact that Frank Castle gets a cover all to himself does say something about the state of the comic world in 1988, though it is slightly hard to take Butler’s version of the character all that seriously.

Anyway, these books are collections of looseleaf, bound together with a strip of removable glue and sold in a folder cover. I lost my original copies a long while ago, and for a long time, my replacement copies were bound, but lacked the folder cover (except volume one). It took so long to find replacements! Between the easily lost covers and the natural attrition of looseleaf pages over time, these have become a bit hard to come by, unfortunately.

Durability aside, looseleaf was an attractive form factor at the time for TSR. The very next year, the D&D Monstrous Compendium would come out in its own binder. I can’t help but wonder if these books were a trial run for that.

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