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Marvels (Graphic Novel Pb) Paperback – 6 Jan 2010

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Product details

  • Reading level: 8 - 12 years
  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Book Group Us Agency (6 January 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078514286X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785142867
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 1 x 25.7 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,36,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 136 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Art by Ross. Written by Busiek. What more do you need to know? 4 July 2016
By Cilantron and on - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Collects Marvels 0-4

Unless you've been living in a cave for the past 20 years (or you just don't read comics, which amounts to the same thing), you already know that Alex Ross is one of the best artists in the business, and Kurt Busiek is a pretty darn good writer as well.

"We are all living under the shadow of Dr. Manhattan." I read a theory that Geoff Johns has been spending his entire comic book career trying (and, in my opinion, failing) to "refute" Alan Moore's "Watchmen." Busiek, on the other hand, does it easily, over and over again, and "Marvels" is just one example of this. "Superheroes don't make any sense," Watchmen would tell us. "Marvels" disagrees. This is the tale of one reporter, Phil Sheldon, as he lives through the beginning of the era of Marvels in the 40's - with the original Human Torch, Namor, and Captain America, through the early 60's; where the golden era of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four mixes with the anti-mutant hatred against the X-men; all the way up to a tragic event in Spider-Man's life. You don't need to know much about Marvel comics to enjoy this, but you more you know, the more you'll get out of this.

At first the ending threw me for a loop, but after thinking about it for a bit, it made sense to me.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good story, but even better illustrations 13 April 2008
By Robert Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although we call them graphic novels, the truth is that in the world of comics the writers generally are given more credit than the illustrators for the ultimate result. Alex Ross is one of the exceptions. He is, in fact, one of the few artists whose work on a project might be more of a pull for potential buyers than the writer involved. There is a subtlety to his work that few other artists in the genre can match. I'm no expert on the art of illustration, but a lot of his appeal seems to derive from departing from the sharp lines that most writers use. He appears to work primarily in charcoals, giving his images a far more nuanced and softer edge. The result is incredibly striking. There are other artists in the genre I really love (like John Cassaday and Bryan Talbot, to name merely two among dozens), but for me no one stands out quite like Alex Ross.

What makes this such a great book is that the writing keeps pace with the artwork. Kurt Busiek's retelling of the history of the Marvel Universe from the standpoint of a newspaper photographer is absolutely brilliant in depicting that history as background rather than foreground. To be honest, when the story does dwell over the photographer's reactions to what he has witnessed, the narrative wobbles a little. And the ending is truly a weak one, as the whole book just seems to sputter out with no climax of any kind. In fact, if there had been a strong ending this would easily have gone down as one of the 4 or 5 greatest superhero comics ever produced. Even as it is, it is one of the top dozen.

But as good as the story is, the great appeal of the book for me is the artwork. For my money, Ross draws people better than anyone in the business. He makes his figures look real in a way that no one else manages. They are also lovely, but it is the concrete realism he embues his figures with that makes them special. To contrast his work with Cassaday, whose work I love nearly as much, Cassaday's figures tend to look wonderfully stylized, posed to look impressively epic rather than natural. I love PLANETARY or THE ASTONISHING X-MEN in large part because of Cassaday's artwork, but you can't look at his figures and sense any kind of realism, despite how lovely they are. But you can almost imagine stepping into the pages of Ross's MARVELS.

This book goes, of course, on any short list of the great superhero graphic novels. Most serious fans of the genre will already own it. For those who do not but want to build a start up library of adult comics, this should be right up there on the list of first purchases.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The History of the Marvel Univers Through the Eyes of the Common Man 11 August 2008
By I. Raudenbush - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I know I'm kind of late to the party, but this is easily on of the on of the best stories I've ever read from the Marvel universe. I can't say I'd recommend this to everyone though. As you probably know already the superheroes take a back seat to an 'average Joe' photographer in this one. I for one found it fascinating reliving some great moments in the history of Marvel from the point of view of the general public. One of my favorite moments was seeing the Fantastic Four's first clash with Galactus. It was funny to me to realize how odd the whole thing would have seemed from the out side. Mr. Fantastic just holds a little thing up to Galactus and he leaves. I mean what does one think after seeing such things?

I imagine that this read would be fun for a lot of long time fans. Going through and remembering different points in Marvel history. Though I think this is a great graphic novel I can also see this being some what boring looking for some of the more typical clash-of-titans type of comic book stories. Also, special note I really enjoy the art work of Alex Ross and in particular I enjoyed one panel where he worked in a homage to the painting Nighthawks, which while appearing in popular culture lots of other times before it fits in so well into Ross's style you almost wouldn't even notice it's there
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Masterpiece of Illustrated Literature 19 October 2009
By Tyler S. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wizard gave this bad boy spot #2 on their best graphic novels of all time. I highly disagree, Marvels is better than DC: The New Frontier by a long shot. This novel is the most realistic superhero comic ever created. What would all of us puny humans have to say about all these superhero's destroying our property in fist fights? Regular Joe's don't usually have a huge appearance in superhero books, but now in Marvels the regular people carry the spotlight. This book looks at how people would react in a universe where superheroes are a part of daily life. Busiek's extremely realistic writing, and Alex Ross's super-real drawings make this graphic novel more than just a comic book.

The book travels from beginning to end in Marvel History. It's best to know a little bit of the history, or else you'll have no clue why Galactus is attacking Earth, or who in the world Gwen Stacy is. Any person without the history lesson isn't going to take away as much from Marvels as a fan would. However, if you are a fan, be prepared to read something you've never read before.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Book 14 September 2008
By dasn0wman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I cannot believe anyone giving this book a bad review. Some people complain they don't know anything about Marvel, well, I'm not a Fantastic Four fan and have no knowledge of its story history and I was able to enjoy the saga of Galactus which is supposed to be one of the greatest Marvel stories ever told. There are four stories in this book, and each one starts with an intro from the author/artist/notable Marvel celeb just in case you are not familiar with Marvel Universe. This book would probably be best enjoyed by someone familiar with the Universe but not really required.

The book starts off with a very strong intro on how the Human Torch came about. This is story-telling at its finest and I actually wish I could read more like this in the book.

The book then switches gears and every account is then looked through the eyes of the main character who is a everyday citizen employed as a photographer. The first story deals with the sudden appearance of superheroes, or as the book refers to them, marvels. The genius of the books lies in looking at the marvels from a different persepective, that of a everyday person which is not really done in any comic book story.

The second story continues with the mutants, notably the emergence of the X-Men as outcasts in society.

The third story is the legendary story of Galactus and Fantastic Four.

The final story is another historic one: the death of Gwen Stacey with the most famous Marvel character of all, Spider-Man!

Although I feel the story is somewhat lacking since it basically just traces some of the history of Marvel Universe, just the concept of looking at these marvels thru the eyes of an ordinary person is very revolutionary by itself. Still, I feel there is so much potential for an even better story. If there are any complaints it would be the story, but the writing is absolutely terrific and a joy to read. Now for the art. I kind of regret not getting the hardcover book because this is a book that I would like to keep and treasure for a long time and getting it as a hardcover would be a better investment. The art is just revolutionary. It took the artist, Alex Ross about a year just to finish the artwork for one of four stories in the book and almost 3 years in total. This is not cartoon pop art, this is fine art. The illustrations in the book are actual paintings, mostly derived from water colors. And they are not in abstract or impressionist style, but in portrait-like detail. It is absolutely the highest level a book can reach in terms of illustrations short of actual photographs which would be a quite a task in the making. So if anything, do yourself a favor and get this book for the artwork. You will not be disappointed.

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