In last month's IRON MAN letters page, I ran one erudite reader's response to the recent moraotirum on no-prizes proclaimed by the Gruenwald-Mackie Office. Here's another.
Many Marvelites are lamenting the passaing of the no-prize. Perhaps you were right in abolishing the non-award. The once-coveted novelty has been cheapened through the years by editors who lost sight of its origins. Nit-picking was teh result-- I engaged in it myself, sad to say-- and even an attempt in the pages of WHAT IF? to clarify the no-prize did not restore it to its former glory.
But I remember the thrill of receiving my first no-envelope in the mail. No, I didn't try to open it, but I held it up to a bright light to be sure that no prize was indeed inside. The loss of this part of Marvel history makes me feel old...and I'm only 27.
But fear not, true believer! Who says the age of Marvel nostalgia is dead? Not me, effendi. Must have been someone from Brand Ecch. What with Stan (the Man) Lee's Soapbox returning, and honest Irving Forbush facing front on every fershlugginer issue of MARVEL AGE who could ask for more? Actually, thousands could (that's Simon Thousands, who runs the deli down the street), but sheesh, lets not get carried away, tiger.
(More than) Nuff said!
--Rick S. Jones
Thanks for writing, Rick. I'm sure you speak for many of your fellow fans. I'd like to clarify one point, though. Just because the Gru/Mac office doesn't hand out no-prizes anymore (and gave everyone in creation one in IRON MAN #208) doesn't mean they don't exist. The other nine or so editors at Marvel have their own no-prizes policies, I'm sure. So I guess you could say that the no-prize is only locally dead.
What with all the controversy I raised in this space a few months ago when I abolished the awarding of no-prizes from my letters pages, I began to wonder what my fellow Marvel editors thought about the matter. So I asked them. Consider this, if you are so inclined, a one-shot return of the Question of the Month.
What is your policy concerning the awarding of no-prizes?
Ann Nocenti, X-MEN editor: "The spirit of the no-prize is not just to complain and nitpick but to offer an exciting solution. Do that and you will get one from me."
Carl Potts, ALPHA FLIGHT editor: "If someone points out a major story problem I'm not aware of and solves it to my satisfaction, I'll award a no-prize. I give away very few."
Mike Higgins, STARBRAND editor: "No no-prizes for New Universe no-no's no way!"
Larry Hama, CONAN editor: "No one writes in for them in the CONAN books so we don't award them. On G.I. JOE, which I write, I give them to people who get me out of jams if they are very ingenious about it."
Archie Goodwin, EPIC editor: "We acknowledge our mistakes in print, but Epic Comics doesn't award no-prizes."
Bob Budiansky, SECRET WARS II editor: "If someone finds a clever enough explanation for what seems to be a mistake, I'll send them a no-prize."
Bob Harras, X-FACTOR editor: "My policy is if a certain mistake wouldn't have bothered me when I was a kid, it's not worth a no-prize. But if someone does really help us out, I'll send them one."
Don Daley, CAPTAIN AMERICA editor: "First I place a temporal statue of limitations on no-prize mistakes. If the mistake is more than six issues old, it doesn't qualify anymore. Second, I only give them out for things that count, not trivial nitpicking and faultfinding. Third, the explanation should not only be logical but emotionally appealing. I don't award many of them."
James Owsley, SPIDER-MAN editor: "We only mail them out to people who send us the best possible explanations for important mistakes. Panels where someone's shirt is colored wrong do not count. We send out the no-prize envelopes to everyone who gets the same best answer, and sometimes will send out postcards to runners-up who come close."
Ralph Macchio, DAREDEVIL editor: "The no-prize is an honored Marvel tradition. Of course I give them away-- for just about any old stupid thing. I have a million of them."
So, dear readers, there you have it, a symposium of views on the nefarious no-prize. If you're still leather-bent to get one, you now know who to try. Another public service, compliments of...