Marvels: Eye Of The Camera by Kurt Busiek, Roger Stern, Jay Anacleto and Brian Haberlin (graphic novel review).

The ‘Marvels: Eye Of The Camera’ 6-part mini-series was originally released in 2010, taking 8 years to complete, as a progression of the successful 1994 ‘Marvels’ mini-series by writer Kurt Busiek and artist Alex Ross and is still regarded as a classic. If anything, it’s more surprising that it took so long to do a sequel.

This time we have writers Kurt Busiek and Roger Stern, the latter said in the introduction was because he was aware of the history of era and could help get the research right. Jay Anacleto does the art and Brian Haberlin the colouring. The story this time focuses more on photo-journalist Phil Sheldon and his dying of lung cancer interspersed with events on Marvel Earth happening around him during the late 70s-80s . His publisher wants him to do a book on super-villains but he thinks as so many of the super-heroes are depicted as villains from time to time, that what the public really needs is another book to remind them of their heroics.

If you know your original Marvel Universe history, you probably won’t even have to refer to the comicbook references at the back of the book, although I suspect you might want to have a re-read of the ‘Marvels’ afterwards. Also at the back of the book is a look at the three ways the story could be driven with the flashbacks dismissed out of hand by the powers that be. No wonder it took so long to complete.

There’s a lot of story packed in these pages and, in many respects, a larger format would make a lot more sense to give the art a chance to breath. It’s now been done with ‘Marvels’, so I suspect this won’t be far behind. It’s rather interesting seeing Spider-Man’s mask revealing he does actually have a nose underneath it and it something often forgot far more than with Iron Man.

Oddly, we only get smidgens of any of the main players in the Marvel Universe and, in some ways, this is artist Jay Anacleto’s only weakness as they tend to be naturally proportioned rather than taking the John Buscema route of giving them a little more size. However, this is balanced by the emotions he gives to the characters and you will feel it when Sheldon succumbs to his cancer. A warning if ever that smoking is bad for you, learn from this book.

If you liked the original version of the Marvel Universe, then this graphic novel should be on your shopping list. It’s already at a second edition so that should speak for itself.

GF Willmetts

December 2019

(pub: Marvel, 2019. 160 page graphic novel softcover. Price: I paid (UK). ISBN: 978-1-302-91734-0)

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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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