Sunday, March 6, 2011

In which No Prize was awarded.

Great Googley-moogley!  It's been a while, but by now you should all be used to that.  Regardless of my absence from the blog-o-sphere, I am here now and a blogging we shall go.

I recently acquired a neat Marvel Comics collectible for my copious collection.  A genuine No-Prize!  Notice I said "acquired", not "was awarded".  Unfortunately I did not win the coveted No-Prize but purchased it off eBay for the pricely sum of $12.


The Marvel No-Prize was handed out from the late 1960's to the late 1980's.  They were intended to be a joke, Stan Lee created a contest where no prize was to be awarded, it became a running joke in the letters columns that he would tell readers that they won a No-Prize.  Eventually, some people didn't get it and would write in wondering where their prizes were.  In response to this and to further the joke, Stan started mailing readers who won No-Prize an actual No-Prize like you see above.  Unfortunately some people still didn't get it and upon receiving their No-Prize wrote back saying that the prize was left out of their envelope!

The most common way to win a No-Prize was to write in and explain away a continuity error in a believable way.  If your explanation was good enough, you scored the No-Prize.  Over the years different editors gave out No-Prizes in varying amounts, so they probably aren't terribly rare but you don't see them up on eBay in great quantities.  I usually only see one at a time and usually from the same seller.  Different editors also gave them out for varying reasons, some stuck to tradition and others just gave them away to who ever asked for one, which cheapens the idea if you ask me.
Eventually Marvel did away with the physical prize and would award them honorarily (and literally, readers win no prize), they still do that from time to time.  Today the physical No-Prize is reserved for "meritorious service to Marvel above and beyond the call of duty" so they are rarely awarded.

For this True Believer that seems fair. 



  1. Very nice acquisition. How many letters have you written over the years trying to win one?

  2. They weren't giving them out when I seriously got into reading comics. I have actually only written 1 letter to a comic, it was to Wolverine and it was when Marvel first started taking email. I mentioned this in my letter, kind of fishing to get my letter printed, AND IT WORKED!
    I was satisfied and never wrote another, well that and I really never had anything special to say.

  3. I wrote many letters pointing out errors, but never won a No-Prize.
    One of my favorite comics is the No-Prize Book which shows all the errors in their comics over the years. Funny stuff.
    One of my favorite mistakes is a Captain America quote "Only one of us is gonna walk out of here -- under his own steam-- and, it won't be me!"

  4. I've seen that on ebay and I think I'll pick it up the next time I sell some junk and have some money in my paypal account.