Stan’s Soapbox – Marvel Age #107 (December 1991)

Hi, Heroes,

A couple of Soapboxes ago I promised to clue you in to the glory and grandeur of comicdom’s most exciting new club – the wild and wacky world of WAM! And now, at last, the truth can be told, the secrets can be revealed, the wonderment may finally be savored by True Believers throughout the galaxy!

You must realize, of course, that the mere act of reading the paragraphs that follow automatically pledges you to strictest secrecy. None but the most dedicated Marvelites must ever know what the illustrious initials W.A.M. stand for! Only one such as you, you who are favored amongst all those culturally deprived unfortunates who have not yet discovered the majesty of the Bullpen, only you may be heir to the secret of the century, to the potent and pandemonious words which have replaced “Open Sesame” as the key to unlock emotional riches hitherto undreamed of; to the words soon destined to become a rallying cry for the greatest army of comic-book aficionados the world has ever known – the words “Wild Agents of Marvel!”

But for those of you who remember not the first, fabulous, ever-lamented Marvel Club, the majestic, “Merry Marvel Marching Society,” or its semi-sensational successor, “Friends of Ol’ Marvel” (both better known as the MMMS and FOOM!), let me emphasize that your Bullpen buddies have one reason and one alone for creating so vast and valiant a world-wide organization – and that reason is fun! Forget the fact that WAM will make us all more famous and sought-after than ever before! Forget the fact that WAM’s swelling membership ranks will certainly become a potent force in politics and international affairs! Forget the fact that every officially designated Wammer will undoubtedly become an object of adulation and desire to members of the opposite sex! Forget the fact that your WAM membership will be a source of ever-growing envy in the hearts of lesser men and women! Remember only this: if it isn’t fun, we ain’t doing it!

And now, in keeping with my usual low-key and unemotional approach to such matters, let ol’ Stan Cool tell you a bit more about what to expect on that glorious day when you learn you’ve been accepted into the rollickin’ ranks of WAM! (And remember, any scientist might be eligible for a Nobel Prize – but only a tried and tested Marvelite can hope to become a Wammer!)

To begin with, you’ll receive an individually numbered membership kit. Think of it! Your own Marvel membership number; no one else on Earth can have one like it! You’ll also receive a cloisonné badge which will be the envy of every cloisonné freak in town! Of course you’ll get your official WAM full-color poster which, this year, features Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Havok and Cable – not to mention a wall certificate which is not only suitable for framing, but practically demands to be framed and hung next to you Doctorate diploma! Also, since you’ll surely want to write countless letters to us expressing your undying gratitude for all these goodies, we’ll magnanimously send you an official WAM portfolio and stationary kit!

But hey, that’s only the tip of the iceberg! How about the quarterly newsletter you’ll receive, full of truly top-secret stuff that only a Wammer can appreciate! And then there are the countless catalogs of clever, crafty, capricious commodities which will be sent to WAM members only (if they fall into unqualified hands, they’ll explode on contact!) You’ll even have a chance to obtain a replication of the original, now-classic “Merry Marvel Marching Society” membership kit, complete with a record featuring the actual voices of the original Bullpen! I could go on and on, but the mind begins to boggle!

However, I mustn’t forget to mention the biggest surprise of all, the most original benefit ever offered to any club members anywhere! Each week a few Wammers’ membership numbers will be selected at random and the lucky holders of those numbers will receive a personal letter – or even a phone call – from some prominent member of the Bullpen! Just think, your chance to rap with one of your favorite artists, writers or editors; to exchange ideas and offer suggestions which might be adopted in future issues! And why not? Whenever you’re yakkin’ with some Bullpen great, you’re yakkin’ with another Wild Agent of Marvel – which makes you an equal among equals!

I’d like to tell you more, because there are still so many, many additional advantages to your WAM membership, but I’m getting all choked up. I mean, even Mr. Cool can find himself misty eyed when I think of the wonderful benefits Marvel is so generously bestowing upon its riotous ranks of readers!

Before signing off however, let me remind you of still another way we’re demonstrating our care and consideration. You needn’t even buy a stamp to join the light-hearted legion of WAM! You can simply march in, proud as a peacock, to your nearest comicbook store, since virtually all of them are serving as official WAM recruiting headquarters and merchandise marts!

And now, before you think I’m trying to sell you something, let me sign off with the words that made Irving Forbush famous – and I hope they’ll do the same for us: “Tout comprendre, C’est tout pardonner!”