Marvel Comics #1: 80th Anniversary Edition (graphic novel review).

September 16, 2020 | By | Reply More

With a reminder while reading the latest ‘Alter Ego’ that Marvel Comics was 80 years old last year, it seemed appropriate to finally fit ‘Marvel Comics # 1: 80th Anniversary Edition’ into my schedule. Although its noted in the flyleaf that the first issue was 68 pages, there was no indication of how many more pages were taken up with advertising. Looking around on-line doesn’t really reveal the true page count but certainly they weren’t as thin as we have today.

Certainly, comicbooks were a lot more primitive compared today and this book contains two later versions of the original Human Torch origin from Saga Of The Original Human Torch # 1 with art by Rich Buckler and Marvels # 0 by Alex Ross also here. Back in the day, much of the time the artist and writer was the same person. The content from this comic came from Funnies Inc. and packaged to Timely when they wanted super-heroes for this first issue. As such, we have ‘The Human Torch’ by Carl Burgos, ‘The Angel’ by Paul Gustavson, ‘The Sub-Mariner’ by Bill Everett, a western ‘The Masked Raider’ by Al Anders, ‘Jungle Terror’ by Art Pinajian, a text story, Burning Rubber’ written by Ray Gill with art by Sam Gilman and finally, ‘Adventures Of Ka-Zar The Great’ by Ben Thompson. A lot of stories for a dime.

Obviously, apart from the vigilante Angel, the others were origin stories to hook the readers. In retrospect, they were quite complex stories if read out of context to the time period but the craze for super-heroes had already begun with that Super-chap and Bat-fella. A man…er..android who could burst into flames and an amphibian with thoughts of revenge on mankind were quite spectacular visually. Bill Everett’s coloured art looked distinctively different underwater and most surprising was seeing Namor as a blonde, but then so was his mother. Interestingly, the 70th anniversary edition, also contained here was recoloured and his hair matched to his known black with blue highlights. Saying that, having read the original, I was less inclined to read this version and even gave only a cursory look at the original scans on slightly yellowed paper. It shows how sophisticated are art cleaning techniques are today.

Finally, Will Murray looks over the history of Timely and its publisher Martin Goodman and creators making for a complete historical examination if you’re not up on the subject.

Although I preferred seeing the original content, decide which version you prefer when you open the pages. I doubt if many can afford the original let alone look at a copy. Then again, it is history. The number of reinterpretations of the cover is included and is probably on par with the other two chaps of the time period. Flame on!

GF Willmetts

September 2020

(pub: Marvel, 2019. 232 page graphic novel hardback. Price: I pulled my copy for £12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-302-91860-6)

check out website: www.marvel.com


Category: Comics, Superheroes

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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