Saturday, February 16, 2013

Marvel Firsts - World War II Super Heroes!


I've been very impressed with Marvel's reprint series dubbed "Marvel Firsts". They started with a collection of classic 60's debuts, then offered a trio of volumes for the 70's, and now they've given us a hefty book filled with 40's wonders. The chronological presentation of the reprints is what really gives these books a nuance that many collections, as virtuous as they are, lack. We get to see without much discussion, but with just seeing the work itself, the form develop.

There's a general bias in comics against origin stories. Many just want to get on with the adventures, but I've always liked origin stories. Some argue they are all variations on a few themes, but then that's true of just about any comic book story or any story really. A clever origin can define a character, make them distinctive right off the bat. Some of the origins here involve science gone wrong, or the supernatural. But a goodly number are just about men and women who choose to lead a life of adventure and fight for justice. There's something refreshing about that simple notion, and that such an idea could catch hold.

From Flexo the Rubber Man to the Whizzer to Jack Frost to the Black Widow to the Fiery Mask to Father Time to Marvex the Super Robot, this is a collection choc full of strange goodies. The Black Marvel, Captain America, the Patriot, the Defender, the Destroyer, and on and on. There's a complete Young Allies story in fact, a juicy bit of old-fashioned storytelling sure to offend, and sure to entertain.

Check this one out.

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6 comments:

  1. I looked at this volume a couple of days back in my local comic shop, but decided to give it a miss. I've got the previous four volumes, but somehow I found this one less than inspiring. One for completists only, I think.

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    1. A lot of this stuff is available in other sources admittedly. But it's that chronological sweep which sets these collections apart for me. For instance in this one, it's easy to see how much Timely/Marvel developed before the arrival of Captain America.

      I'd like to see one focusing on the post-war years and the 50's. Then we'd get that multiple genre thing going again. Maybe this one would've been helped by some funny animal stuff in it.

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  2. I've been eyeing this one as well, and think that for now at least I'll wait. However, I have decided to do a few Golden Age reviews on Bronze Age Babies, which will commence late this spring. After all, we were all exposed to these old stories in the Giant-Size books.

    Thanks for the recommendation, Rip!

    Doug

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    1. The volume is pricey. The quality is pure Golden Age and that is a stopper for some, as the craftsmanship is often enthusiastic if not fully developed. Bill Everett as always is the exception to that general rule.

      Look forward to the Golden Age peeks. As you say, that Golden Age filtered through the lens of the Bronze was part of that experience.

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  3. Will chase it down, based on your review

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    1. I hope you enjoy it. The price is steepish, but the page count is hefty and entertainment value is high.

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