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How Marvel Value Stamps led one brother to beat up another, then apologize decades later

He destroyed his brother’s comics, and his brother retaliated by beating him up. Decades later, the publication of a Marvel Value Stamps book earned him an apology.

Marvel Value Stamps
Image credit: Abrams Books

Marvel is full of sibling rivalries. From Thanos and Starfox to Loki and Thor, things can get pretty tense. As anybody with a sibling knows, the fights can be vicious. Just ask Charles Kochman, the editor-in-chief of Abrams ComicArts. As a child, his brother gave him a beating after Charles cut up some of his comics. However, Kochman had a very good reason for filleting his brother’s comics with scissors.

During the Marvel Classic for the Next Generation and Fans' panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Kochman promoted Marvel Value Stamps: A Visual History. The hardcover book from Abrams ComicsArts goes through the history of Marvel’s value stamps, a topic that hits close to home for Kochman.

“I don’t know if anyone was actually foolish enough to collect these and cut their comics or cut their brother’s comics,” Kochman jokes. “In 1974 and 1975 Stan Lee had this that in the pages of Marvel Comics would be these stamps that you would cut out, put in a stamp album, and you would redeem them for prizes and discounts at early comic conventions.”

The editor recalled how he cut up his brother’s comics to a redeem an unforgettable prize – a meeting with Stan Lee. “There was an opportunity to go to a party and meet Stan Lee. I cut my brother’s comics, I filled in the first book, and I got to meet Stan Lee, which was the thrill of my life.”

Marvel Value Stamps: A Visual History contains full-color reproductions of every stamp Marvel produced, along with recollections from former Marvel editor-in-chief Roy Thomas. When Kochman shared the book with his brother, he received something unexpected in return – an apology. “He finally apologized for beating me up, which was the only beating I got from him that I actually deserved.”

Marvel Value Stamps: A Visual History might not have the power to quash all sibling rivalries, but it’s worth checking out anyway. It’s an awesome look at a fun period in Marvel’s past, and one of their great promotional campaigns.

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Joshua Lapin-Bertone

Joshua Lapin-Bertone: Joshua is a pop culture writer specializing in comic book media. His work has appeared on the official DC Comics website, the DC Universe subscription service, HBO Max promotional videos, the Batman Universe fansite, and more. In between traveling around the country to cover various comic conventions, Joshua resides in Florida where he binges superhero television and reads obscure comics from yesteryear.


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