Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Classics - Marvel Universe #1

If I recall correctly (as always, there are no guarantees that what Chuck remembers is historically accurate), this issue of Marvel Universe was the first of its kind - an encyclopedia capturing the heroes, villains and locations that were part of Marvel's mythology.

Cover dated January 1983, I remember the delight of picking up this issue and studying every entry. The writing is nothing to get worked up about - it's all very academic, after all - but the art was exceptional.

Each issue of this first series featured a wrap-around cover by Ed Hannigan, each one depicting the individual characters listed inside, and each one spilling over onto the next issue's cover.

(My computer's acting up so I'm not able to stitch the front and back covers together - and my scanner's not big enough to manage it, either - but I'll add the back cover so you can imagine the full effect.)

The interior art was a real mix, with some top artists (usually) handling the characters in the series they were working on at the time - so you get John Byrne drawing the Avengers and Alpha Flight in this issue.

But you'd also find some unusual artists at work - for example, writer and editor Mark Guenwald demonstrated his art skills by drawing three different characters.

This series would be terribly dull to anyone who didn't care about the history, people and places that make up the Marvel Universe - but for fans, this 12-issue "Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe" was a dream come true!

I should have studied some of my college textbooks with the same devotion that I poured into this series!

Grade: A


No comments: