Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

   I finally got a chance to read this book: Marvel Comics: The Untold Story. It's both a history of the publisher and an analysis of the events that shaped the company, as written by Sean Howe.

   Several friends had read this and recommended it, and it’s obviously a topic I enjoy, so I was glad to tackle this book. 

   It’s actually very good, covering the company from its rough beginnings through the '40s and '50s, into the "Marvel Age of Comics" in the '60s and '70s, through the editorial turmoil in the '80s and '90s, and the behind-the-scenes struggles in the boardroom as Marvel became big business.

   If there were any mistakes in fact or timeline I didn’t catch them, and there were quite a few things mentioned here that I wasn't aware of.

   Of course, there are things that the author overlooked or didn’t include, but that’s not a surprise, since Marvel’s history covers more than 70 years. 

   The writer even gives the company's central figures, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, reasonably fair coverage, though he takes a few jabs at Stan’s love of the spotlight, and focuses on some of Jack's more over-the-top comments toward the end of his life. 

   I suppose my only real complaint is that the writer seems dismissive of the comics themselves - wanting to assure us, I suppose, that they’re silly stories for kids (which some of them certainly are) and not something he takes seriously. 

   It's a shame that he couldn’t appreciate them more as entertainment for the times in which they were written. 

   Still, lots of good information in here, and I enjoyed it. Recommended!   

Grade: B+



No comments: