Monday, September 4, 2017

Review- MARVEL 1985

MARVEL 1985 (Marvel, First Printing, 2009; Softcover)

Collects Marvel 1985 #1-6 (cover dates July- December, 2008)

Writer: Mark Millar

Artist: Tommy Lee Edwards

I recall when this title was originally announced that it was going to be a type of photo comic. That plan was quickly scuttled and the project was shelved for a time. The series came and went and was subsequently rereleased in a hardcover as well as a trade paperback, both of which are now out of print. I passed on it when it came out but my interest was piqued after a friend of mine sent me a picture of one panel of this book. Here is the panel that he sent me below.

Toby is from a divorced family and is way into comics. He discovered Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars late, with #10 (I picked it up with #7). The title was released throughout 1984, not 1985, except for issue 12 which was released through newsstands in January of 1985 (December of 1984 in the Direct Market). I know, I'm a total buzzkill. I guess that they couldn't call the series 1984, now could they?

Toby doesn't have many friends and is kept at arm's length because he is from a divorced family. This struck a chord in me, as being a kid from a divorced family was still stigmatized during the '70s and '80s. Toby's Dad is someone who loves his son but has essentially wasted his life reading comic books. He means well but is basically a well-intentioned loser.

Original "photo" page, not included in this collection.

This comic has a real 1980s family movie vibe to it. Think of any summer blockbuster popcorn flick of the day. The '80s were a great time to be a kid. Unbeknownst to those of us were 11-12 in 1984-1985, we were the last generation to reach adulthood in the old world. There are times when I miss the simplicity and innocence of the pre-Internet world. While there are many pluses with technology we as a society seem to have become less patient and less tolerant of one another as the result of the Internet. Maybe everyone should take a step back, take a deep breath, and read some comic books. Or maybe even go outside and go for a walk.

Page as it appears in the book. 

Like nearly every comic book fan that I know, I come from a divorced family. I wonder what percentage of comic fans were kids from divorced families who found solace in a world of four color dreams. It pains me that my kids now know divorced life but I give them something my dad never did or could: memories. Toby's dad gave him memories too. Had I read this years ago I likely would have been looking at it through the child's viewpoint. I read it now rooting for the dad, who is the real hero of the piece. Our draconian family court systems always paint the father as the bad guy, regardless of the truth. They are stuck in 1970 and need to change.

I would dislike Tommy Lee Edwards's artwork for a mainstream Marvel Universe title but felt that it worked well for this material since this is “the real world”. Mark Millar gets it. He gets what being a certain age at a certain point in time meant and what being a father now means. I feel like leaving this book on a park bench where someone who needs to read it will find it.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.

The OCD zone- Nothing unusual to report.
Paper stock: Fair weight coated glossy stock.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock cover.


  1. I remember being so excited for this book when it was announced as a "photo" comic. My interest dried up when they changed directions, though, and I still haven't read it. Nice to know that the story still has some weight to it -- I guess I should finally read it, even if part of me will probably still resent the fact that it uses traditional comic book art, no matter how good Edwards' pencils may be.

    1. It's worth a read for sure. There are so many comics flying at as from all direction every week that it's impossible to keep up.