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Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics Paperback – September 25, 1993


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

I don't even like comic books, but I was completely enthralled by this book. The hefty 300 pages of high clay-content, color-saturated pages with over 700 illustrations and detailed text covers the 50-year history of the canonical comic books company which later became one of the industry's greatest innovators. Here there be artists highly skilled at depicting mayhem with clarity and precision, and writers who unerringly touch the (popular) collective unconscious. In addition to being highly praised within the comic book community, this book has also received rave reviews from mainstream magazines such as Newsday and People. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

The strongest impression one gets from this commemorative album is of the extraordinary skill with which Marvel Comics has hopped on the bandwagon throughout its 50-plus-year history. Timley Publications (Marvel's original name) started publishing superhero comics after Superman and Batman became prominent in the late 1930s (and stopped when the genre lost popularity after WW II), and romance and horror comics after competitors Prize Publications and EC Comics, respectively, popularized those genres in the late 1940s/early 1950s. When DC Comics's Justice League of America repopularized super-heroes, Marvel inaugurated its famous line of superhero comics, starting with The Fantastic Four in 1961. Daniels ( Living in Fear: The History of Horror in the Mass Media ) lays to rest the myth that Marvel publisher Lee (whose introduction is written in hyperbolic, adjective- and alliteration-laden prose) was the sole creator of those 1960s superheroes, which was Marvel's position until others in the field pushed to give proper credit to the artists who worked with Lee, especially Jack Kirby. The book does a fine job of documenting Marvel's overlooked pre-1961 background and is beautifully illustrated.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (September 25, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810925664
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810925663
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.8 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,380,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
5 star
63%
4 star
25%
3 star
0%
2 star
13%
1 star
0%
See all 16 customer reviews
Of course, Stan was not working in isolation; a team of great artists, writers and business people ably assisted him.
Charles Ashbacher
This book is an excellent start for people looking to learn the history of Marvel/Atlas/Timely comics and I can't recommend it highly enough.
Dylan Cassard
Despite this fact, I still learned several things from this book, especially of the early days of Marvel's former name, Timely.
Kyle Saubert

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By "jojojo@netvision.net.il" on December 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
i got the book, opened it in my car and spent half an hour fliiping through it until i realized that i had to get to the office...finished it that evening!
i liked the whole concept and found out a lot (!) of interesting information about marvel, the people behind it, the philosophies, the characters.
the book is easy to read and easy to use.
i dropped off one star from the rating because, in the end, it is rather shallow and there were times when i wanted more information but there just wasn't any.
a good read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "vgutier" on August 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
First thing: I'm a comic fan. Second thing: I'm mostly a DC fan.
But, looking for a whole understanding of the comic history I ordered this book, and found an excellent time reading it!.
It covers the story of Marvel Comics, its characters, its writers, artists, colorists, everything. Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, John Romita, Sal Buscema, Roy Thomas, Frank Miller and several other big names are part of this adventure.
Here you'll find: a Spider-Man memorabilia collector. preliminary sketches of Wolverine, the Punisher, and others. data on every major marvel character.
Plus: reprints of four "hard-to-find" stories.
Besides, this book was written by one of us, a comic lover.
This book, together with its brother "DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comics", must be on the bookshelf of every comic fan.
(I gave it 4 out of 5 stars mostly because is a book not intended for everyone).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JON STRICKLAND on December 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Marvel Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics is a well-presented but incomplete volume that I would highly recommend for those interested in the history of pulp fiction and comic books, especially Marvel Comics.

It is a brilliant summary of a large portion of the genres, formats, and marketing strategies of Marvel Comics, which dates back to the 1930s and 1940s. Even a reader who is not particularly a comics fan will likely find this book fascinating and enlightening.

To me, this publication is a decent effort to document the history and development of the superhero fantasy. Introduced in this publication are highlighted stories and photographed covers of the various pulp fiction magazines, including Marvel Tales, The Spider, Weird Tales, etc., all of which were prevalent in American dime stores and contained various tales about time travel, unlimited atomic energy, ghosts, and alien invaders. Though these fantasies were popular, the pulp novel editors, most notably Martin Goodman, eventually needed to find a way to publish their stories at a pace in sync with an accelerating, thus increasingly demanding, society that was producing faster machines, trains, planes, and automobiles.

Thus was developed and introduced by Goodman, along with illustrator, Bill Everett, what would be the very first issue of Marvel Comics, which has its cover photographed in miniaturized form as displayed in this book. So according to the following pages, the cornerstone of Marvel Comics was laid, and there was to be no turning back.

In Five Fabulous Decades, each page is glossy and contains several photographs in color of the various aforementioned pulp fiction works along with the very early issues that would lead to an expanding Marvel Universe.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By PATHERSON on November 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
THis book is a very generic portrait of Marvel, with one serious flaw: the book is edited by Marvel itself. This means that the writer, altough a real expert in comic book history, could not deal with all the subjects in a neutral way all the time. So, what we have is, generally, praise after praise for this mighty (with justice) company, but no real insight into their history. Of course, there is not space for such, since the book is crowded with magnific art from various artists and various comics. I think it lacked appendices, which could have lists of Marvel's greates artists, MArvel's greatest selling books, Marvel's greates histories. The book is also clearly outdated, since it was first published in 1992. Since then, there was the "mutiny" from the artists (Silvestri, Jim Lee and McFarlane, amongst others) who left to form their own company; the writer, altough mentions it, doesn't explain why Stan Lee, whose role in the company since 1980 is to supervise adaptations to movies and animated features, permitted such lousy adaptations as THE PUNISHER, for example. It does not touch the fact of how the artists were totally underpaid until Jim Shooter was Editor-In-Chief, nor how Lee permitted one editor after another to resign due to the sheer impossibility of editing 54 books at the same time. All in all, this book is great for the art, but for text PEter Sanderson's work, MARVEK UNIVERSE, is better.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By cetjgt2@aol.com on May 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
I found this a must read.It explores the origins of Marvel Comics like no other book.Included is rare pictures of comics Marvel Comics no#1 to the later 1990'S material.It also shows you the P.T.Burnum Genious of Stan Lee and common sense of what is wanted by the public by founder Martin Goodman.It also shows how the likes of Roy Thomas kept Marvel afloat in latter Silver Age and how hard a job Mark Gruenward tried to survive in the post Yuppie Darth Shooter Marvel-when comic showmanship of Stan the Man had left-taking Marvels Soul with them,without saying much,but implying alot.Rare Namor,FF and Wolverine material is also added in back,along a how too comic lesson.Fun rEADING FOR ALL COMIC FANS.joseph gilbert thompson.maveric comics inc,studios,6142 torresdale avenue,phila,pa,19135.
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