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Marvel 1602 HC (Marvel Heroes) Hardcover – October 1, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 250 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The always inventive Gaiman has concocted an unlikely—but fantastically successful—superhero comic that transfers Marvel's classic characters to the Elizabethan period. Nick Fury is still a lethal government operative, but now he's an adviser to Queen Elizabeth. Her Majesty is equally reliant on magician and doctor Stephen Strange. X-Men mentor Charles Xavier still shepherds a band of mutant teens, only now he's called Carlos Javier, and the mutants are known, and mistrusted, as "witchbreed." Carlos's mysterious nemesis has taken on a new job: grand inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition. Peter Parker (here "Parquah") is still a confused but well-meaning teenager who has yet to be bitten by a radioactive spider. Placed in a period landscape (rendered in rich, painterly panels by illustrator Kubert and digital painter Richard Isanove), these familiar characters must grapple with the issues of the day, chief among them the machinations of the evil King James of Scotland. And, in classic superhero style, they must save the world. The improbable combination works remarkably well, as the superheroes' strange abilities adapt to Elizabethan culture. This glorious adventure is peppered with Scott McKowen's gorgeous, moody cover-art woodcuts.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"1602 is a triumph. The Marvel universe hasn't been this engrossing in ages." -- Entertainment Weekly

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Product Details

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  • Series: Marvel Heroes
  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785110704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785110705
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 7.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (250 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,507,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I make things up and write them down. Which takes us from comics (like SANDMAN) to novels (like ANANSI BOYS and AMERICAN GODS) to short stories (some are collected in SMOKE AND MIRRORS) and to occasionally movies (like Dave McKean's MIRRORMASK or the NEVERWHERE TV series, or my own short film A SHORT FILM ABOUT JOHN BOLTON).

In my spare time I read and sleep and eat and try to keep the blog at www.neilgaiman.com more or less up to date.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
First, let me say that Neil Gaiman is easily one of the best writers working today in any prose-based medium. His novels are incredible, his screenplays similar, and his comics are outstanding. There is no current writer today who straddles the fence between reality and fantasy better than Neil Gaiman. And the fact that he works in so many different mediums adds to his "remarkable-ness."

That caveat aside, let's talk about his Marvel miniseries, 1602.

Gaiman does a wonderful job of translating the heroes of the Marvel Universe to an historic setting. And he makes the necessary adjustments: Matt Murdock doesn't become a blind barrister, but rather a blind minstrel/guide, which allows Daredevil the freedom of movement a hero needs in Gaiman's reimagined 1602. Similar adjustments are made for a wide range of Marvel characters.

The story is affecting, and wonderfully rendered in muted tones by the art team, and Gaiman deserves credit for finding room for a lot of the Marvel Universe, and also for not trying to shoehorn every modern hero into the framework of the story.

The story is intellectual and exciting (conspiracy stuff), and the artwork is among the best I've seen in a graphic novel.

The reason for subtracting a star? Simply because, although Gaiman structured his story and introduced his characters so a first-timer can enjoy the story, it's best appreciated through the prism that only a Marvel Universe reader has handy.

But more than worth your time, regardless.
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Format: Hardcover
As stated in other reviews I've posted on Amazon, I am a big fan of Marvel's WHAT IF concept, as well as other alternate reality stories, provided that events are presented in a logical fashion. More often than not, however, they aren't, leaving the reader to deal with too many assumptions and unanswered questions. When 1602 was first announced by Marvel, I was under the impression that Neil Gaiman was simply going to take the easy way out: "re-imagining" the heroes and villains of the Silver Age Marvel Universe as existing in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. After reading the recently-released hardcover collection, however, I can say that this is definitely not a re-imagining, nor even a "what if" story, but more of a very original mystery with an excellent twist that makes sense. Surprisingly, 1602 can comfortably exist within normal Marvel continuity. As a result, I enjoyed it immensely.

In order to not spoil the plot, I'll be as basic as possible: the Marvel Universe has arisen 360 years early, triggering the possible destruction of the universe. Of course, it's up to the heroes, and a few villains, to try to set things right. You'll see many familiar faces here, especially if you're moderately familiar with Marvel's Silver Age characters. Even if not, it's not too difficult to determine who is who. Gaiman writes a very tight story that moves quickly, and Adam Kubert's art is exceptional, especially when paired with the skilled coloring of Richard Isanove. Scott McKowen provides beautiful woodcut covers for the series and the collection. All contributors to this story complement each other quite well, making 1602 an essential part of any comic library.
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Format: Hardcover
...the book jacket and the other reviews tell you everything you need to know before going into this book. Too much, actually. The less you know, the better on this one. Just buy it. Instead of rehashing the plot and pointlessly singing Gaiman's well deserved praises, I'm going to defend him on another front:

A lot of people have bashed this book for not being The Sandman or one of Neil's even more lofty projects, and for daring to feature conventional superheroes, if in a rather unconventional manner. Folks, get over it. Gaiman clearly LIKES superheroes (his occasional use of them in The Sandman and his glowing account of his youth with Marvel's characters in the afterword of this book makes that clear). He likes writing about them and is very good at it. He also likes writing drama, horror, fantasy, science fiction and dabbling into other realms of storytelling that are too hard to pigeonhole, and he's very good at all of it. Don't pillory the man because he wants to work in more than one genre, and because he occasionally condescends to dabble in a genre that most of the rest of the world has written off as juvenile crap. Gaiman has proven that almost any premise--even a premise involving grown men running around in longjohns saving the world--can produce good, moving, thought provoking tales if handled the right way. Lighten up, order this book, and enjoy it for what it is--a damn fine story, superheroes or no.
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Format: Paperback
When I read this it felt like Marvel had a tryst with a History Book and they had a little kid, and this kid was the perfect blend of "what was" and "what could have been if superpowers were around." Here we have the universe set 400 years in the past, with all sorts of people getting play. X-Men, Spider Man, Daredevil and The Fantastic Four are the ones who get the billing, but Nick Fury, quicksilver, Dr. Strange and a lot of others come along for the ride.

What a trip Neil Gaiman puts you on.

I had watched Elizabeth not too long before, and parts of it felt like Gaiman's take on the who timeframe. He had countries taking advantage of the powers they had and he had players taking the place of whatever persona you could imagine. Could you see a person borne with wings during the inquisition? Could you imagine the value of a man that can run faster than anything on Erth? Again and again the powers were wrapped into interesting areas, and then placed - carefully - into a superb storyline. It was beautiful.

The art was also something that deserves a lot of acclaim. you have so much told in the period of the dress and the form, and you have people who need to either blend into the shadows or work like rulers and this shows. From the heroes to the people and the settings themselves, this is done grand.

I thing a 5/5 is fair here. If you find a hero you want here or just a story, get it. I cannot believe I ever doubted or delayed.
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