Saturday, July 11, 2020

The 2020 Essential Marvel Age Companion, 1961-1977

Everything You Wanted To Know About The Marvel Age of Comics...But Were Afraid to Ask!

My book, here a PDF, began at the dawn of the Marvel Age. This  book  refers to the real, original comics.  As fans of the movies and comics know, Marvel had a shared Universe and heroes and villains popped up in many books. 

I include decades of original comments and quotes by the Marvel creators made just for this publication. They include: Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Tony Isabella, Jim Steranko, Rich Buckler, Dick Ayers, Joe Sinnott, Julius Schwartz, Carmine Infantino and several others. There are also many researched quotes too along with audio and video features.

Stan Lee really really liked this book! (makes me feel great.!)  In fact, he included this book when he donated his papers!

Jim Steranko wrote me to say, “Your overview of the genre is spectacular--and elevates Marvel history to areas that have not yet been defined by so many others.  Congratulations, amigo!”

By making the book a PDF I did not have to limit its size - this is over 1,400 pages! There are over 1,000 images, scanned for the original comics! At no additional charge, I can send you a PDF version made for Ipads and such. It's half the size and contains no video, but every word and every picture of the original.

If you want a bigger sample, please download this: The Essential Marvel Age Companion 1961-1977  Sample

This 1,400 page PDF contains:

The comic book listings begin with a list of ALL the comics and the artist who drew EVERY COVER along with the street date fir every comic. There is also a similar section for the Magazines!!!

An entry for every single comic and story of the Marvel Age 1961-1977
It has a full description of each story, complete credits including the cover artists; the publication AND the street date, important facts plus references to other comics when necessary. These are full descriptions, not a synopsis so the stories are NOT spoiled and surprises not revealed. Important: I abide by the Temporal Prime Directive!” That is, since these descriptions were written at the time the comics were published, I do not reveal future events, so nothing is spoiled. I also use a five-star rating system for each comic. The Magazine Section features the contents of the Marvel Magazines of the 1970s. I stress its connection the Marvel Age comics.

A Timely History of Marvel
Starting at the beginning of the 20th century, this section lists the important events that lead us up to and carries us through the Timely, Atlas and Marvel Ages. There is also a chart for each year listing what comics were published and when they were published.  It emphasizes the contributions and importance of Lee, Kirby and Ditko and in later years, Jim Steranko who took Marvel out of the cold war.  It containing a grid for each year, starting in 1939 and listing every Marvel comic published.  It describes the business of comics and behind the scenes material, as well as what was going on in the actual comics at the time. It is followed by many essays on the rise of Marvel, the creation of the M.U. and even the decline of Marvel in the mid 1970s.  After all the Marvel Age does end.

The Character Map: 
For over 1,000 heroes and villains, it lists their appearances in chronological order and displays each comics publication date.

Being There: A Memoir of the Marvel Age: 
To me, my favorite part of the book.  It looks back at the Silver Age of Comics and what it was like living through the Marvel Age.

Not Necessarily the Marvel Age:
 Marvel published many comics and magazines not associated  with their comics.  This includes a magazine on Streakers (believe it or not); Evel Knievel, Pussycat, Captain Britain, Spidey Super-Stories, MarvelMania, FOOM and many others.

There are sections on the Marvel Value Stamps, In-House Ads of Marvel Merchandi$e; a listing of all Timely/Atlas comics/ a Credit section that lists the individual credits of the creators and much more.

       If you don’t like the book, I’ll give you your money back. Really!!!!!

This book has been 60 years in the making. There are also over a thousand scans, ALL from the original comics!!!!!

  Nicholas Caputo, Michael J. Vassallo and Marcus Mueller contributed so much. Marcus Muller runs the  Unofficial Handbook of Marvel's Creators. 

This book would not be here if it wasn’t for Tony.

 None of this would have happened if it weren’t for one terrific guy:  Tony Isabella.  Tony spent a lot of time helping me with the book, giving me insight into the industry and, frankly, giving me a lot of copy.    My biggest compliment was when Tony called me “his brother from another mother!!!”  

The Synder/Ditko Effect

Robin Snyder  and Steve Ditko had a profound effect on my life!   You see,  THEY SELF PUBLISHED!!!!!!!!  Emulating them, that's what I was going to do.  My only problem is that Steve Ditko had an abundance of talent, and I had none - but I did have a computer and Adobe Creative Suite!!! 

Introducing: Jack Kirby

The first comic book I ever read was World’s Finest, #102, “The Caveman from Krypton!”  Ironically, I read it the week that George Reeves died, in June of 1959.  I really enjoyed it.  Then when I had the measles my mother brought “Challengers of the Unknown” #8 home for me to read.  I loved the story, the art and the concept of “living on borrowed time.”  I had no idea who Jack Kirby was as DC did not list credits, but it was love at first sight.  The next issues of Challengers were NOT so challenging and it would take me a couple of years to find that excitement again.  Iit would also be about four people, like the Challengers, having their lives changed after a rocket ride.

 Back then I said I enjoyed reading the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, X-Men etc. I then began to realize I enjoyed reading that it was Lee, Kirby, Ditko and Heck. 

I was lucky.  My Aunt Gussie and Uncle Leon owned a candy store in Woodside Queens, and I got to read every comic that came out!!!! And take many of them home for free!!!!!  Sadly, my mother thought comics were mostly disposable but I did my best to keep the Marvels. 

Marvels were re-readable so I kept them. Not so much for DC. DC comics seemed to be aimed at younger readers, I was growing older and DC was not growing with me. Marvel was.  Also, DC comics were full of "gimmicks" and once you read them and found out why Superman grew old, became a baby, got fat, lost his powers etc the comics were not as re-readable. The difference in writing and plotting between the two companies is discussed a great deal in the book.    As Marvel developed their continuity and started printing more and more two-parters, I wanted to keep all Marvel comics for re-reading in batches. 

To keep track of them, I started typing on index cards which comics I had, with titles and dates, summaries of the plot and full credits as listed.  Marvel was interconnected, so  every month I added to the Character Map tracing a character's appearances.  In writing the book I expand greatly on these cards but they represented a good timeline to follow for every title.

Marvel would often alter the contents of a comic and even its title.   I would keep track of the history of each title, listing the series, name changes and anything else that cropped up. 

 I typed up a second batch of index cards which I now call “the Character Map.”  It lists the  characters and all their appearances in in chronological order.

There are also features listing ALL the Marvel Stamps and where they appeared, dozens of pages of Marvel Ads and self-promotion and a complete list of the Timely Atlas Comics that preceded the Marvel Age.

 I left a lot out,  discover and be surprised. 

No history of Marvel could ever be complete without mentioning the fate of Irving Forbush and that nearly completes the book. 

The book is available for downloading. Look for the PayPal button on your RIGHT side, towards the top.