A great pin-up using Kirby's famous cover art from Fantastic Four #1
The centre pages had this great Spider-Man splash announcing, with Marvel's usual modesty and understatement, "THE WORLD'S GREATEST FREE GIFT OFFER!" A pretty neat marketing scheme to encourage us to buy MWOM regularly, as there would be coupons printed in the first ten issues that had to be collected in order to qualify for the free gift. This is why it is difficult to get copies of these early Marvel issues without holes having been snipped in them. The amazing thing about this offer was that Marvel didn't even let the reader know what gift was on offer! Just a series of teaser clues, the first of which was "IT'S BIGGER THAN A BREADBOX!" Can you guess what it is yet? All will be revealed...
Also on the centrespread was a special message from none other than Stan Lee, written in the style of his US soapbox columns, ie wildly over the top self promotion. As the blurb said, we had now "ENTERED THE MIGHTY MARVEL AGE OF COMICS AND THE EXCITEMENT IS JUST BEGINNING!"
The free gift in this issue was a Hulk t shirt iron on transfer. If you look at the way this is described on the cover:
You'll see that it doesn't mention the Hulk's name at all! Not much confidence that the comic buying youth of 1972 would have any idea what the Hulk was, how times have changed.
The strips featured in this issue read like a collection of Marvel's greatest hits, check out the splash pages for the three features:
It doesn't get any better than that, and of course the comic proved to be a runaway success. These strips had all been printed in the UK before, of course, some by Alan Class in a haphazard and random form in his anthology titles such as Astounding Stories and Creepy Worlds and, with a greater degree of continuity in Odham's Power comics. But this time, Marvel was in charge and the ability to use the Marvel trade mark gave these new printings a stamp of authenticity that the previous editions lacked.
Finally, have a look at the back cover of this issue, featuring the last page of Spider-Man's origin tale. A great use of colour showing the iconic Steve Ditko image of Spider-Man apprehending Uncle Ben's killer. Wow! No wonder we all came back for more!