Saturday, March 3, 2012

Review- Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Marvel Comics Vol. 6

MARVEL MASTERWORKS: GOLDEN AGE MARVEL COMICS VOL. 6 (Marvel, 2011; Hardcover)
Collects Marvel Mystery Comics Nos. 21-24 (cover dates July- October, 1941)
Writers: Ray Gill, Stan Lee, and other uncredited, unidentified writers.
Artists: Carl Burgos, Bill Everett, Alan Mandel, Ben Thompson, Al Avison, Joe Simon, Paul Gustavson, Bob Oksner, Jack Kirby, Al Gabriele, Chu Hing, Frank Frollo, and Sid Greene, as well as other unidentified artists/assistants.
Those of us following this line of books are familiar with the creators and characters by now, but for those of you 'viewing at home' who are not familiar with this title, I'll give you a brief recap.
This was Timely's (Marvel's name at the time) flagship title, and was an anthology series. The Human Torch & Toro were the title's headliners, followed by Bill Everett's brilliant Sub-Mariner. This strip is worth the price of admission alone. The Patriot is an also-ran, sort of a dollar store Captain America, relegated to 4 and 5 page stories of no importance and little value. Ka-Zar the Great is fun as usual, and always seems to stagger into some unknown section of the jungle which he is supposedly in charge of. Terry Vance, the Schoolboy Sleuth is a charming slice of Americana. 
The Vision has fast become a favorite of mine, largely because of the dream team of Simon and Kirby, who put their trademark punch into the proceedings. The Angel seems to lose some steam after Issue 21, as Gustavson no longer handles the creator duties on the strip. It was a bummer to see the quality dip after such a tremendous run, but Al Avison is no slouch in the artwork department, either. It's the writing that really took a hit after Gustavson jumped ship.
Volume 7 is due out this year, and I look forward to the continuation of this line of books. With any luck, we will see the entire run collected in hardcover someday. That would really be something, wouldn't it?
The OCD zone- If loving Marvel Masterworks is wrong, then I don't want to be right! High quality artwork and color restoration, high quality paper and sewn binding...these books are things of beauty. My OCD glows as I read these books. Worse still, I can't help but take a big whiff of the toxic Chinese ink after I crack the cellophane on these books. It's like a coke-head snorting a line. Most people will unfortunately never know the joy of inhaling those wonderfully toxic Chinese ink fumes.

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