Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review- MARVEL MASTERWORKS: GOLDEN AGE SUB-MARINER VOL. 1


MARVEL MASTERWORKS: GOLDEN AGE SUB-MARINER VOL. 1 (Marvel, 2012; Softcover)

Collects Sub-Mariner Comics #1-4 (cover dates Spring, 1941- Winter, 1941)
Writers: Bill Everett, Ray Gill, Paul Gustavson, Lou Glanzman, Stan Lee, Art Gates, and Basil Wolverton, and other, unidentifed writers.
Artists: Bill Everett, Paul Gustavson, Alex Schomburg (covers), Richard Isanove (covers), Harry Sahle, Alan Mandel, Mickey Spillane, Basil Wolverton, Charles Nicholas Wojtkoski, Witmer Williams, Ben Thompson, Sam Gillman, George Mandel, Mike Roy, Al Fagaly, Jimmy Thompson, and other, unidentified art assistants.

This was a double dip. I had the original hardcover release which was done during the time when Marvel didn't have their remastering techniques perfected yet. Always one to enjoy his comics in the finest “fidelity”, I scooped up this softcover version as it blows away the original hardcover release. Since this was a double dip, it was also a reread, although it I only read the hardcover once in either 2005 or 2006. I honestly didn't remember much about these stories so it was essentially a fresh read.

Bill Everett was and is a genius, and he lived an interesting life to boot. A hard drinking three packs a day smoker, tall-tale telling character, he created or co-created a number of characters, notably Namor The Sub-Mariner and Daredevil. Golden Age Sub-Mariner is a badass. I love the might makes right mentality of Golden Age Comics. He usually fights Nazis in these stories, made all the more remarkable since these issues were all released prior to the United States entering World War II.


Paul Gustavson's The Angel is the recurring back-up feature, and he gets a full 20 pages per issue. (Comic books were 64 pages back then.) He doesn't have any super powers, being closer to pulp heroes of the 1930s while looking like Superman. His exploits probably ape other things that I am unfamiliar with. These are still great reads, high on fun and low on common sense. Lots of whodunit and Horror-tinged action.

There are a handful of other text stories and one page gag strips (one by Basil Wolverton ) rounding out the issues. I really enjoyed these comics. Golden Age material is an acquired taste, but if you can accept the limitations of the era and the fact that these tales don't adhere to any rules because they made them up as they went along then you will dig this stuff. I love the old fashions, cars, architecture, and slang. And in the end the good guys always win, making this the most escapist read you can get here in 2015.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The OCD zone- I really like these softcover Masterworks, as they are slightly wider than a standard trade paperback and lay flat in one hand like a big fat periodical, which is wonderful.
I really wish that Marvel would reconsider their plans to nix this line of books.
Linework and Color restoration: As good as it is going to get. The linework and color palette are faithful to the original comic books.
Paper stock: Decent weight matte finish coated stock. I love it.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Thick waxlike lamination.
 

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