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Marvel Comics is home to such legendary super-heroes as Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man, all of whom have spun box office gold in the 21st century. But Marvel Comics has a secret history hidden in the shadows of these well-known franchises.
The Secret History of Marvel Comics digs back to the 1930s when Marvel Comics wasn't just a comic-book producing company. Marvel Comics owner Martin Goodman had tentacles into a publishing world that might have made that era s conservative American parents lynch him on his front porch. Marvel was but a small part of Goodman s publishing empire, which had begun years before he published his first comic book. Goodman mostly published lurid and sensationalistic story books (known as pulps ) and magazines, featuring sexually-charged detective and romance short fiction, and celebrity gossip scandal sheets. And artists like Jack Kirby, who was producing Captain America for eight-year-olds, were simultaneously dipping their toes in both ponds.
The Secret History of Marvel Comics tells this parallel story of 1930s/40s Marvel Comics sharing offices with those Goodman publications not quite fit for children. The book also features a comprehensive display of the artwork produced for Goodman s other enterprises by Marvel Comics artists such as Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, Alex Schomburg, Bill Everett, Al Jaffee, and Dan DeCarlo, plus the very best pulp artists in the field, including Norman Saunders, John Walter Scott, Hans Wesso, L.F. Bjorklund, and Marvel Comics #1 cover artist Frank R. Paul. Goodman s magazines also featured cover stories on celebrities such as Jackie Gleason, Elizabeth Taylor, Liberace, and Sophia Loren, as well as contributions from famous literary and social figures such as Isaac Asimov, Theodore Sturgeon, and L. Ron Hubbard.
These rare pieces of comic art, pulp and magazine history will open the door to Marvel Comics unseen history."
Five years before Steve Ditko began work on his now legendary co-creations for Marvel Comics, the Amazing Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, he was pro- ducing some of his best work in near anonymity for Charlton Comics. Like its predecessors, Impossible Tales: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 4 features over 200 meticulously restored full-color pages of Ditko in his early prime stories that have never seen a proper reprinting until now, thrilling stories of suspense, mystery, haunted houses, and unsuspecting victims all delineated in Ditko s wildly idiosyncratic, masterful style. This fourth volume ranks as the best in the Archives series to date thanks in large part to the inspiration Ditko took from comics derived from the classic host-narrated radio shows, which gave an extra oomph to his creepy yarns. Moreover, comics such as This Magazine is Haunted and Tales of The Mysterious Traveler bore witness to a veritable explosion in Ditko s ingenuity in terms of manipulating the traditional comic-book page layout. This new level of excellence also manifested itself in his work on other books, such Mysteries of Unexplored Worlds, Out of This World, Strange Suspense Stories, and Unusual Tales, all of which are amply represented in this volume."
70 years ago, a new publishing company named Marvel Comics stuck its toe into the first waters of the comic book industry. Before they became a pop culture powerhouse publishing famous superheroes like Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, and Iron Man, Marvel s first ever comic book featured a daring new anti-hero named the Sub-Mariner, created by legendary artist Bill Everett. 70 years later, Everett s watery creation continues to be one of the pinnacles of the Marvel Universe of superheroes, as attested to by its recent option as a major motion picture. Bill Everett invented comics first anti-hero in 1939; an angry half-breed (half-man, half sea-creature) that terrorized mankind until uniting with the Allied Forces to conquer fascism s march across Europe during World War II. But the reasons to celebrate Bill Everett s monumental career in comics books don t stop with his water-based hero. Everett was a master of many comic genres, and was one of the pre-eminent horror comic-book artists in the 1950s (before government and societal pressures led the comics industry to censor itself with the imposition of the Comics Code Authority), producing work of such quality and stature that he ranked alongside the artists who produced similar material for the justifiably lauded EC Comics. Bill Everett: Fire & Water is the latest book from Blake Bell, author of the acclaimed Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko, and is being produced in cooperation with the Everett family. It will feature the definitive biography of the man and his career, and how his personality informed his signature character, before his untimely passing at the age of 55 in 1973. The main focus, however, will be the stunning display of artwork that few artists can match in breadth and quality. From the superhero and horror genre, to the mid-west, romance, crime, and suspense, Bill Everett was a master of the medium all on display in this coffee table art book that is destined to ensure Everett s place at the table of premier comic book virtuosos."
Creating the Sub-Mariner for the first issue of Marvel Comics in 1939 assures writer/artist Bill Everett a place in history. Co-creating Daredevil, the Man Without Fear, for Marvel Comics in 1964 gave Everett a link to one of the most popular superheroes of the past 50 years. And producing over 400 additional pages of superhero-related work in the very early days of the Golden Age of Comics (1938-42) makes Bill Everett a legend. Heroic Comics: The Bill Everett Archives Vol. 2 collects over 200 pages of never-before-reprinted work from such titles as Amazing Mystery Funnies (1938), Amazing-Man Comics (1939), Target Comics (1940), Heroic Comics (1940), and Blue Bolt Comics (1940). These titles feature an endless array of vintage Everett characters such Amazing-Man, Hydroman, Skyrocket Steele, The Chameleon and many more, all produced by Everett s shop Funnies, Inc. for such clients as Centaur, Novelty Press, and Eastern Color. This book also features, reprinted for the first time, the rarest of Everett material, his romance work from the early 1950s for Eastern Color on titles such as New Heroic Comics (1950/51) and Personal Love (1953). All of the stories within display Everett s brilliant cartooning and energetic storytelling growing by leaps and bounds. Edited by best-selling author and comic-book historian Blake Bell (Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko), Heroic Comics: The Bill Everett Archives Volume 2 is a stunning companion piece to Bell s 2010 critically acclaimed Everett biography and art book, Fire and Water: Bill Everett, The Sub-Mariner and the Birth of Marvel Comics. This volume follows the format of Bell s Steve Ditko Archives series: never-before-reprinted, beautifully restored, full-color stories from one of comic books greatest visionaries and accomplished artists. This book also includes an introduction about the man, his art, the history of the era, and his relationship with Marvel Comics."
The 1939 creation of the Sub-Mariner for the first issue of Marvel Comics assures Bill Everett a place in history. Co-creating Daredevil, the Man Without Fear, for Marvel Comics in 1964 gave Everett a link to one of the most popular superheroes of the past 50 years. And producing over 400 additional pages of superhero-related work in the very early days of the Golden Age of Comics (1938-42) makes Bill Everett a legend. This book collects over 200 pages of this never-before-reprinted work from titles such as Amazing Mystery Funnies (1938), Amazing-Man Comics (1939), Target Comics (1940), Heroic Comics (1940), and Blue Bolt Comics (1940). These titles feature an endless array of great vintage Everett characters such as Amazing-Man, Hydroman, Skyrocket Steele, Sub-Zero, The Chameleon, and many more, all produced by Everett s shop Funnies, Inc. for such clients as Centaur, Novelty Press, and Eastern Color, and all displaying Everett s brilliant cartooning and energetic storytelling. Edited and compiled by best-selling author and comic-book historian Blake Bell (Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko), Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives is a stunning companion to Bell s 2010 critically acclaimed Everett biography and art book, Fire and Water: Bill Everett, The Sub-Mariner and the Birth of Marvel Comics. This volume follows the format of Bell s Steve Ditko Archives series; never-before-reprinted, beautifully restored, full-color stories from one of comic books greatest visionaries and most accomplished artists. Also includes an introduction by Bell that delves even deeper into Everett s life, fiery personality, and the history of the era. The resultant package enhances Everett s place in history as one of the first and best comic-book creators of all time."
Five years before his breakthrough as the co-creator of Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and other classic super-heroes for Marvel Comics in the early 1960s, Steve Ditko, inspired by the freedom he found at the laissez-faire Charlton Comics, was turning out some of the best work of his career.
Mysterious Traveler, which collects stories from (among others) Tales of the Mysterious Traveler and This Magazine Is Haunted, reprints over 210 full-color pages of Ditko in his early prime. These are stories that have never been properly reprinted until now thrilling stories of suspense, mystery, haunted houses, and unsuspecting victims."
As the original artist and co-creator who brought the Amazing Spider-Man to life in 1962, and established the look of Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk as we know them today, artist Steve Ditko s talents varied far beyond the realm of the superhero genre. Tales of unexplored worlds, of spine-chilling suspense, mystery, and horror dripped hauntingly from the pen of Steve Ditko over half a decade before he would bring to the world famous wall-crawler to life.
Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2 continues the showcase of the artist s 1950s work that began with editor Blake Bell s 2009 best-selling Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1, both following up on Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko, Bell s 2008 critically-acclaimed retrospective of Ditko s career. For the first time, spectacular full-color reprints of stories are on display from the peak period of his career as an artist. After a bout of illness forced Ditko to disappear from comics in 1955, the artist came back with a vengeance, marking 1956 as his first stint at Marvel Comics with his Spider-Man co-creator, Stan Lee. And in 1957, Ditko renewed his association with Charlton Comics, a partnership that would see Ditko produce almost 500 pages of completed artwork in that year alone. The leap in the quality of the legendary artist s work during this period is stunning. A few scant years into his career and Ditko was already the most unique artist in comic-book history and one of its most prolific. The book also features editor Bell s insightful introduction, providing historical background and speaking to Ditko s influence and his unique craft."
Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko is a coffee table art book tracing Ditko's life and career, his unparalleled stylistic innovations, his strict adherence to his own (and Randian) principles, with lush displays of obscure and popular art from the thousands of pages of comics he's drawn over the last 55 years.
Before the Amazing Spider-Man, before the mysterious Doctor Strange, before the black-and-white world of the Ayn Rand-inspired Mr. A, the legendary comic book artist Steve Ditko was conjuring all manners of horrors at his drawing table. In his first two years in the industry (1953 and 1954), Ditko drew tales of macabre suspense that were not yet hobbled by the imminent Comics Code Authority (adopted in October 1954). These stories featured graphic bloodshed, dismemberment and blood-curdling acid baths as the ugly end to the lives of the dark and twisted inhabitants of Steve Ditko s imagination. Following up on Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko, Blake Bell s 2008 best-selling critical retrospective of Ditko s career, strange suspense, Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1 will, for the first time, feature spectacular full-color reprints of every story from those first two years of his career. Beginning with Ditko s very first story to Ditko s short stint in the Joe Simon/Jack Kirby studio, to Ditko s eventual encampment at the Charlton Comics operation in 1954, readers will see the initial works of an artist already at a level of craftsmanship that exceeded most of his peers. The book will also feature editor Bell s insightful historical notes. Ditko s legacy is undeniable visually he was revolutionary. MacLeans Ditko s artwork is impossible to shake. Douglas Wolk, author of Reading Comics"
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