These stamps (and the associated folio pages and binder) were released by the US Postal Service in July 2007 at the San Diego Comic Convention. They commemorate many of the big-name Marvel Characters.
The mock-leather three-ring binder is large, measuring 14" x 12.5" x 1.25". Inside are 11 plastic sleeves containing 20 single-sided full-colour sheets of stamps and character profiles, along with two informational sheets to fill out the front and back.
Each of the ten featured characters gets two sheets. On each sheet is character information, and two matching 41c stamps — one version in full-colour, the other in gold foil. That makes a total of 40 stamps (20 in colour, 20 in gold foil). The total face value of the stamps is US$16.40. A complete binder in near-original condition sells for around $200 on eBay. Nice markup.
The ten lucky featured characters are:
I'm not quite sure how Elektra and Sub-Mariner managed to push Thor and the X-Men (or even Daredevil) off the top-ten list. But otherwise it's a fairly safe selection of the big names.
The information sheets are attractive, and the text is generally accurate. This was probably a pretty high-profile release at the time, and the USPS must have hired somebody competent to do the filler material. Credits are given for the various pieces of artwork, but not for the writing.
In general, the artwork and characters are well selected and accurately presented. There are two notable exceptions where the ball has been well and truly dropped.
Firstly, the Wolverine pages attempt to serve double-duty as an X-Men page by featuring the cover to Uncanny X-Men (Vol. 1) #1 under the "Wolverine" logo. It's all a bit clumsy. Would it really have killed them to give the X-Men a two-page entry of their own? Instead we get this jumbled amalgam.
Secondly, the "Daredevil" logo has been photo-shopped off the cover of Daredevil #176 and replaced with an "Elektra" logo. That's a pretty sacrilegious thing to do in my humble opinion. These stamps are Marvel's big moment in postal posterity. It's disappointing to see how quickly historical accuracy is ditched in the face of short-term convenience.
The concept was sound. How can you possibly screw up any project that involves releasing a gold-foil stamp of Spider-Man?
Unfortunately, the project stumbled at the last hurdle, making a couple of egregious and unnecessary sacrifices of accuracy at the alter of convenience. Add on the wallet-gouging price tag, and the gold-plated gloss is well and truly tarnished.
A disappointing two-webs.