15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
One of Marvel's last significant hurrahs,
This review is from: Golden Age Of Marvel Volume 2 TPB (House of Ideas Collection) (Paperback)
In the late '90s, Marvel was going down the tubes, both financially and creatively. There was an enormous amount of dreck flooding the shelves, and no matter what schemes they tried, either with product or licensing, they were losing money like crazy. Before declaring bankruptcy, they released two trade paperback collections of their Golden Age material, presenting a selection of the best of that era. While they may not have been well-received by the younger crowd, it was one of the best ideas Marvel had in a while (definitely going against the grain), and it was a treat for fans of comic history. Once again, readers could enjoy the simplistic stories of classic WW-II Marvel characters such as Captain America, Sub-Mariner, the Angel, the Destroyer, Marvel Boy, the Fin, Citizen V, and the Human Torch.
The Golden Age of Marvel Comics, Volumes 1 and 2 can be considered Marvel's equivalent of a public service. It's historical preservation in a market that has a notoriously short attention span. When the majority of fans and retailers were demanding more high-octane heroes showering their foes with bullets, we got two beautiful yet affordable collections of Golden Age greats, showing readers that, while the stories and art of the Golden Age might not have been all that "golden", the characters and their appeal more than made up for it. You can clearly see the elements of these stories that fascinated aspiring writers and artists, leading to their expanding these characters in ways never dreamed of during Marvel's Silver Age and beyond. The covers for both volumes are beautiful: for 1, a battle scene by Ray Lago; for 2, a Kirby/Theakston image. The intros provide some very good historical perspective on the contents.
Marvel is now back on its feet, sort of, but don't expect these books to be reprinted anytime in the near future. The current crowd at Marvel seems to be even more out of touch than the previous one and apparently has no understanding of the treasure it is sitting on.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 18, 2009 7:28:48 AM PDT
The stories and art not being "golden" is a matter of opinion. The art of Bill Everett, especially his first Namor story, is gorgeous. Syd Shores rendering of characters faces in his Captain America story is frightening and awe-inspiring. Jack Kirby's work, as always, stands out. Joe Maneely, a forgotten comics genius, was a marvelous illustrator, in the tradition of Hal Foster. These guys put to shame many, in fact most, modern comic book artists, who's overblown, over muscular, hyperrealism, and under rendered pencilling that relies on the computer colorist to shape form, along with their penchant for "poster" shots to sell on the arts market is far below the workman like quality of these artists. As regards the writing, it may be primitive, but in general, unfortunately, comic book writing is mediocre, particularly superhero writing. These writers are no worse than most writers today - and the stories written by Simon and Kirby are, of course, excellent.
In reply to an earlier post on May 19, 2009 4:24:36 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 27, 2009 7:40:48 AM PDT
You're absolutely right, Watcher: my review is an opinion, as is your post. Please note, however, that I do give both volumes a solid 5-star rating. I do find it odd that I'm being lectured on some lesser-known Golden Age artists (Shores & Maneely) by someone who, according to their own reviews, had never heard of Alex Toth until a couple of months ago.
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