April 18, 2014

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Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

I received an early Holiday present that has proved to be delightfully informative. My personal blog will introduce you to this new book.

This is my own personal blog, with my own opinions, not those of the station nor anyone else.

About a week ago, a family member mailed my family some Christmas packages, having shopped or made these gifts well in advance.  Last night, when I got home, I opened my package and discovered it was a new book that has gotten a lot of favorable reviews.

Marvel Comics: The Untold Story is not quite accurate.  Many of the stories about the rise of multi-million dollar Marvel Comics publishing empire have been told in various places and forms over the years.

My family member knows of my life-long interest in Marvel Comics, ever since I was ten and stumbled onto a pile of recent Marvel Comics in a school rummage sale.  After cutting my teeth on the likes of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and Stan Lee at the height of their game, I was hooked. In one form or another, I've been following the story of the company's successes and failures ever since.

When I got into High School, the old guard who had created Marvel comics were retiring or moving on, and a new wave of young turks were taking over, searching for the "next big thing" and trying to slip counter-culture, hip references into their work. In short, it just didn't taste the same any more.

And so, all through high school and college, I stayed away from the bookstores and concentrated on my studies.  And I found when I got out of school and started living on my own, there they were, still being published, but enjoying an new Renaissance and popularity with the Uncanny X-men.

I enjoyed the new tales and new artists that had risen to the top during the prior ten years. And, due to the popularity of some of those creations, we see that comics have become multi-million dollar movies that all enjoy.

Sean Howe is a good writer who has researched his topic well. He tells the stories of the people behind the comics, the artists, writers, inkers, publishers, and the ego, decisions, sales and back-stabbing that made Marvel surge and sputter along the way.  It's fascinating reading if you recall any of this time period, and I met or knew a number of these individuals along the way.

So, if you're looking for a good prose book to give a geek, you could do worse than Marvel Comics: The Untold Story.  It has little to no artwork in it, as the subject is the private lives and public decisions of the people behind the comics.  And you just might be surprised to discover that they aren't who you think they are, despite the hype.

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