This was not a book I was actively seeking or deciding to buy, but I had put it on an Amazon wish list and my sister got it for me as a gift. My initial thought was that I would never actually buy this book, that it was a curiosity. When I got it as a gift, it was a pleasant surprise.
It is truly a coffee table book. One that you throw on the prerequisite coffee table and flip through it on occasion and friends and family pick it up and enjoy it when they visit. My only coffee table is on my third floor, so it will mainly be only myself getting a kick out of it.
The book is by Roy Thomas and Peter Sanderson, and is published by Running Press. It has a list price of $50 and Amazon is selling it for $30, but get your local store to order it and ask them to sell it for a discount and maybe they will work a deal and your store keeps your business.
Ostensibly you could call this book a history of Marvel Comics, but it barely skims the surface of that history and skips across it like a flat stone on a lake. As comics are a visual medium this book brings that history to us in all in glory with a wealth of pictures and covers with enough text to give you a good brief history all the eras of Marvel.
It contains pictures of artists hunched over drawing boards, covers blown up in great detail, interior art and sketches by the artists, information on the publisher and of course some material on Stan Lee.
The thing that really seals the deal and makes this such a fun book to own is the reproductions of what a fan may have collected over the years. We have sketch pages from the 40’s containing any type or hand written notes that may have been on the pages, postcards that Bill Everett drew and sent to his daughter, the synopsis for the first Fantastic Four issue, a Thing Christmas card, the Merry Marvel Marching Society welcoming kit, a Howard the Duck for President Campaign button, and more modern age material. All are wonderful reproductions that not only look authentic but they feel authentic also. Hopefully the pictures I have include do those reproductions some justice.
The book itself measures 10 1/2 “ x 13” and is one that does not easily fit on my bookcase, but it is a quality product and done with loving care. It is a volume that is well worth the money and should give you some history you did not know about and some great "collectibles" to look at and enjoy.