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Marvels (Marvel Premiere Classic) Hardcover – July 9, 2008
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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 alternate Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
The highlights of this series are obvious. Alex Ross delivers gorgeous artwork that are alone enough to make the book worth buying. This combined with some of Marvel comics biggest events make for an amazing spectacle. Kurt Busiek, the writer captures the wonder and lingering fear of the people well. This makes the story as good as the Marvel Universe is likely capable of producing.
Unfortunately, the flaw in this book is the Marvel Universe itself. Specifically, the stories main theme is just how ungrateful and fearful almost everyone in this universe seems to be toward there heroes. The public is quick to forget all the heroes good deeds and complain about them not doing enough in public. Busiek makes some attempts to explain why people behave this way, and it works well in the early issues where the focus is on the paralells between the X-men and civil rights movements. But as it goes on and more abuse is heaped on everyone, it becomes hard not despise this world.
So, decent story with a significant flaw.
This isn't an Alan Moore-style deconstruction of the genre nor a Kingdom Come-style epic, but an alternative (and exciting) way to recast superhero stories in a more realistic and approachable way than most comic books currently do and in a family-friendly way without being childish. "Marvels" doesn't currently boast the reputation that other books illustrated by Alex Ross do, but I think it's actually a finer work and I strongly encourage you to seek it out. Marvel superheroes seem to be everywhere on television and movies today, but they never seem more real than they do in this book.
It pains me to say this, but Marvels by far outranks Kingdom Come! The story in Marvels is essentially a history of Marvel Comics, told through the eyes of a civilian who follows the evolution of the Marvel superheroes. It is freaking fantastic!!
So, if you are into comic books like me, I highly recommend buying this book. You won't be disappointed at all...regardless of which company you enjoy reading more.