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Marvel Chronicle Hardcover – November 3, 2008
All Books, All the Time
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About the Author
Peter Sanderson is a comics historian and critic, who was Marvel's first official archivist. He is the author of DK's best selling X-Men: The Ultimate Guide and co-author of DK's The Marvel Encyclopedia and Marvel Chronicle. Peter was also one of the main writers of the first four versions of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Matthew Manning has written numerous comics for a variety of publishers, including Marvel and DC. His work has appeared in the pages of The Batman Strikes!, Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century, Justice League Adventures, Spider-Man Unlimited, Looney Tunes, and Marvel Romance Redux. For DK, he has penned Wolverine: Inside the World of the Living Weapon, the updated versions of Spider-Man: The Ultimate Guide and Hulk: The Incredible Guide, the children's reader Marvel Heroes: Greatest Battles, and contributed to Marvel Chronicle. Manning currently resides in Brooklyn with his wife Dorothy, and a collection of comics much too large for any normal-size apartment. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The front cover has a great cutout in the shape of an M, the inside has pull outs in black and white and colour, overall its a great gift for any memorabilia.
Most people probably consider DC to be significantly older, with the late 1930s appearances of Superman and Batman kicking off its heyday. Marvel - or at least an early incarnation of it - would not be much younger, with Marvel Comics #1 appearing in 1939. The Marvel Chronicle is a coffee-table sort of history of this company, from its humble origins to its rise to prominence in the 1960s to today (or at least mid-2008).
The Marvel Chronicle is a year-by-year (and often month-by-month) history of Marvel, filled with lots of old excerpts from various books. The 1930s and 1940s would have some superhero comics (the Sub-Mariner would be in the first book, along with an early version of the Human Torch). The focus, however would be on books for kids and quite a few WWII heroes, most notably Captain America.
Superheroes would peter out by the 1950s, when romance, horror and western comics became the big thing. For a while, these would be creative, but the paranoid Frederick Wertham would bring about the Comics Code and drain away much of what made the comic books so good; a self-censorship worse than even existed in the movie industry would reduce the comics to a bland mildness.
The 1960s were when Marvel hit it big, first with the Fantastic Four and then a bevy of other characters: Spider-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man, the Avengers, Thor, the X-Men and Daredevil all leading the way. With the talents of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko leading the way, Marvel became the creative leaders in the comic book world. DC would take a long time to catch up to Marvel in terms of strong story writing.
The 1970s and 1980s would see other characters come and go. The X-Men, once one of the least successful superhero comics, would rise to prominence in the 1980s. By the 1990s, however, Marvel was no longer a leader but a follower. Chasing trends like the speculative boom, the grim-and-gritty antiheroes and the Image-approach of style-over-substance would harm Marvel as much as it helped it, eventually leading to a bankruptcy. The turn of the century, however, would result in a bit of a renaissance, with the comic books now being supported by a string of successful movies (particularly adaptations of Spider-Man, X-Men and Iron Man).
The Marvel Chronicle captures this whole history, and though published by Marvel, it doesn't hold back from some of the darker moments in its existence (though for the most part, these are downplayed). It is not a beach read (it's too big and unwieldy) but it's thoroughly entertaining. Even if you're a long-time Marvel fan (like I've been), this book is worth picking up.