Sunday, February 8, 2015


From the fine people at Taschen Books, written by the legendary Roy Thomas, we have this massive coffee table book covering 75 YEARS OF MARVEL: FROM THE GOLDEN AGE TO THE SILVER SCREEN. I had somehow missed the November release of this volume, but fortunately my brother knows my tastes all too well, so there was a huge, mysterious gift from him to me under the tree at my parents' house this year.

The book is so large that no mere shrink wrap would contain it. Instead it comes packaged in a sturdy cardboard box -- with carrying handle -- which duplicates the dustjacket art and copy. It weighs a whopping sixteen pounds and features 720 lavishly illustrated pages -- which actually makes it shorter in length than many of Marvel's Omnibus volumes, but the pages are extremely thick and sturdy, so the volume is far thicker than any other book I own. The dimensions far exceed those of any of Marvel's oversize hardcovers too, and the book is even larger than any other coffee table tome I've ever seen.

I'll confess that I haven't read the book from cover to cover, but I've perused it thoroughly. Thomas is a fine choice to write about the history of Marvel, having worked for the company, and directly for Stan Lee, as both a staff member and freelancer over several decades in the past. The production of the book is top-notch as well, and it's filled with pictures -- pages, panels, and covers from throughout the years, along with photographs of the merry Marvel bullpen and other notable luminaries from the company's long history. There are a handful of gatefold pages and a huge fold-out timeline, included looseleaf style, at the back of the book.

It's really a remarkable book, and one I'm quite pleased to own. My wife even graciously allowed me -- against her better judgment, I'm sure -- to keep it in our living room (along with my other Marvel coffee table books). Since, as noted, I haven't actually read the thing yet, I'll shut up at this point and let some photos do the rest of the talking. The main purpose of this post is simply to make people aware of the book's quality (and existence) and to provide a sample for anyone on the fence about picking it up.


  1. I, for one, appreciate this post, as I've been on the fence about this book. In general, I love both big comics related coffee table books and books about the history of comics (I own all the books you pictured on your coffee table except for this one, and there was a time when I was a kid that I'm pretty sure the Les Daniels book spent more time in my room than at the library from which I check it out), but I was apprehensive about this one, especially given the huge price point. Given the publisher, I was worried it would be a little too picture orientated, more cover and page reproductions (gorgeous they may be) and little text, and if I'm going to drop that kind of money, I want something I can actually spend some time reading.

    But it looks from your scans like there's a good balance of pictures and text. The price still makes me wince, but I'm definitely going to make more of an effort to track down a copy.

    Incidentally, I love that "Days of Future Present" 80s era Byrne picture you posted in one of the scans. That's not original to the book, is it? I've never seen it before.

    1. I think I got the Daniels book and the Sanderson book the same year for Christmas, even though they were released a few years apart. I remember as a kid I liked the Sanderson book better because it was more about the history of the characters and universe, while the Daniels book was more about the company's history. I haven't read either book in forever, though.

      There are definitely tons of photos as you can tell, but Thomas provides a decent amount of text for each "age" covered by the book. Plus, obviously, all the photos have captions. I definitely recommend this book, even if only for the novelty of its size. It's definitely a conversation piece!

      The Byrne picture was originally the cover of MARVEL FANFARE #45, the all pin-up issue. That's a caricature of editor Al Milgrom as the photographer. All four of the book's section headings are double-page, foil embossed spreads like that and the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 picture higher up. Reminds me of the nineties...

    2. I probably enjoy the Sanderson book more, now, but I'd read the Daniels book to death by the time the Sanderson one came out, so it's probably not a fair comparison.

      In the end, I probably like fictional character histories just about equal to the history of the creation of those fictional characters' histories. I'm just a big ol' history nut. :)