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Marvels Paperback – January 6, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ten years ago, Marvels was the breakthrough work for both of its creators: a worm's-eye view of the spectacle of Marvel comics history—35 years of glorious superheroes and terrifying super-disasters, told from the perspective of Phil Sheldon, a newspaper photographer who's experienced "the marvels" from ground level. Renowned artist Ross's rich, lush, nearly photorealistic style (he painted all the major characters from photographs of models) made his reputation—and the book—a landmark. The story, too, suggests a sort of grandeur that had largely slipped away from superhero comics by the early '90s, even as it describes the helplessness that normal people might feel in the presence of angel-winged mutants and rapacious gods from outer space. There are plenty of Easter eggs in Marvels for longtime comics buffs, although the book is structured so that new readers won't be lost, either. The level of detail goes much deeper than what's visible on the page, but its creators' command of that unseen background gives the story itself force and resilience. This new edition augments the original with over 200 pages of extras: four drafts of Busiek's original proposal for the series, all of his scripts, a short bonus story, dozens of Ross's sketches and related artwork, and a guide to the many celebrity cameo appearances Ross drew into the original.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel (January 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078514286X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785142867
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.4 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Rayhan S on July 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
First and formost, I am not a very big Marvel fan. I picked this up after reading "Kingdom Come" and thoroughly enjoying Alex Ross' art. The art here was just as good as it was in Kingdom Come but the story was totally different. As a matter of fact, this was different that any comics stories I've read. Nearly all stories put the superheroes in the driver's seat, with the stories being from their point of view and narration. This was the exact opposite. This story, much to its credit is told from the point of view of a photojounalist, Phil Sheldon. He chroicles the entire birth of the Marvel Universe, from the birth of the Human Torch in the 1940's to the death of Gwen Stacy in the more recent chain of events. He tells a story of awe, appreciation, respect and fear regarding the Marvels (as he likes to call these superheroes). He reflects the emotions of how humans would truly react whether this phenomenon had really occurred. The end product being a masterpiece and one of the best comic, one of the best stories ever written. As I mentioned in the beginning, the art is flawless and truly a feast for the eyes. The details that Ross places on every panel he paints is truly uncanny and cements his status as on the best artists in the medium. Much applause and crdit should go to the author, Kurt Busiek who does the seemingly impossible task of tying together all the events on the Marvel Universe in a very coherent manner (from the sighting of the X-MEN to the senate hearing for Tony Stark, the disbanding of The Avengers to the death of Captain Stacy). This shows that he had put in a lot of work on this painstaking research and story. All of these factors puts MARVELS on the list with other comic masterpieces such as The Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, etc.Read more ›
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Hassan Galadari on December 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
Marvel comics made history when it introduced art whiz, Alex Ross, to the general comic book public. In a 4 part miniseries, collected handsomely in this TPB, Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross take us on a history run of Marvel's most famous heroes, as we learn of their beginnings and take a ride down memory lane through the eyes of a photojournalist, a normal human.
Marvels is a success in two different aspects. The first being the extensive history, writer Kurt Busiek, takes on to bring all the right details in Marvel's events and actually make them fit. Be it sheer will or just luck, but he masterfully weaves a pattern that brings justice to Marvel's long abode that the company truly works on continuity and that a small even happening to one of the heroes will eventually affect another some other time. The art is something else. Alex Ross is amazing. Though he's not as crisp as he is in his later works like Kingdom Come, his work on Marvels takes on an evolutionary step in the visual rendition of comic books. The comic medium becomes not just restricted to pencil art, but full fledged painted art. Through it all, you can get a feel that his work gets better with each chapter. Chapter 3 and 4 being the most visually appealing.
Marvels is truly a gem of a work. It was a huge commercial success and racked some numerous awards too. It was interesting to look at the Marvel Universe through the eyes of your average joe. The same concept of the third party spawned the idea of the highly successful Spiderman's Tangled Web. This can only mean the comics are not just interested in stories about their favorite heroes, but also the people in which these heroes can affect their life. It is only through that do people can fully relate to and think that guy could very well be me. Marvels paved the way with a top notch story and over the top art.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Blake Petit VINE VOICE on April 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It's hard for me to justify the expense of a hardcover graphic novel, especially if it's a collection of individual issues I already have, but when I heard about the Marvels 10th Anniversary edition I knew I would have to get it. Not only is Marvels one of my favorite comics of all time, but the extras packed into this book really show how collected editions are starting to become the DVD equivalent for comic books.
In "Marvels," Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross took us through the life of photojournalist Phil Sheldon, an old-fashioned newspaperman with printer's ink in his veins and a camera to his eye. Phil, however, lives in a more fantastic universe than you or I, he lives in the Marvel Universe, home of Captain America, the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and the X-Men. Through four issues, we watch how Phil and his world grew and changed, how people thought about the superheroes -- the Marvels, as Phil called them -- and how perceptions evolved along the way. It's a beautiful, poignant series about ordinary heroism, hero worship, and the heroic ideal. Ten years later, it's still one of the best comics I've ever read.
If you've already read the comics, though, there is still stuff here for you. This collection includes the four pitches Busiek and Ross went through to get the series made, the complete scripts for all four issues, character sketches, production and promotional artwork, a guide to "Easter Eggs" in the artwork, a section on Ross' technique of painting from photographed models and even the text of all the newspaper articles that only partially appeared throughout the series. It's packed, and that makes the reading all the more fun.
If you've never read "Marvels," you're missing out. If you read it and loved it, this book takes the story one step further. Kudos to Marvel for putting out such a great edition of such an important comic book.
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