The Infamous No-Prize

Marvel had me entranced in the mid to late 1980’s. 

I literally learned to read through comic books, and one of the things I would do was read every single page, ad, and yes, the letter pages found at the back. (Those have been done away with for the most part, to the chagrin of diehards and the “what the eff are you talking about omg” from anyone under the age of 25.) 

So in those letters you would often read about the errors found in the pages – from incorrect names to continuity errors (how could Wolverine be in Japan AND Muir Island at the same time!?!) – the realest of the real would chime in, and then hopefully offer up an explanation. The rare instances when this was successfully executed, the recipient would be met with a “Congratulations! We have a No-Prize winner!!” Being five, six, seven years old – I was piqued. I NEED A NO-PRIZE.

I had no idea what it was. Apparently I couldn’t read the literal nature of said “NO” prize as a reality that it indeed was nothing. They had to be getting something, and probably something cool! Why else would these people be writing letters in , to get nothing? No way. 

Well, I was wrong, and right, I guess. You didn’t get nothing. You got an envelope. With nothing in it.

Now if you had actually received this for a correct no-prize answer, it would be adorned with your name on the envelope, and you could most likely show it off to friends, family, local politicians and gain favor with your wonderful trophy. This auction, however, is for a blank no-prize, so you could sign it to yourself, or pass it on to another. Think of it as a “blank check for cool”.

As the no-prize peaked in fan interest, Marvel published The Official Marvel No-Prize Book, sort of playing into the mythology of the prize, as well as poking fun at themselves and mistakes. Kudos. The copy below could be had for a mere $1 BIN plus shipping.

Memories. I can’t believe the amount of thought I put into the prize of getting an empty envelope. To be young…

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