Thursday, February 6, 2014

Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

Most of my reading is strictly set in fictional universes. Non-fiction isn't quite as appealing to me, possibly because I could go make non-fiction happen if I really wanted to (I don't). Doesn't satisfy my need for the fantastic, I suppose.

Even so, the Wife recently bought "Marvel Comics: The Untold Story" for me. I even decided to add it to my train reading list, after having it sit on my bedside table for awhile. It may be non-fiction, but at least it was about the folks who created some of my favorite fictitious characters and stories.

I'm glad that I did. In the beginning, the book is engaging as it tells you how the company got started and then follows the paths of the major players, icons such as Stan Lee or Jack Kirby.

Being more of a story/character guy, I rarely notice who's drawing or writing my comics. Yes, this makes me a bad comic fan, but it's easier than having a list of favorite authors that I get sad when they're no longer writing a series I follow. The Untold Story was especially illuminating for me, then, because it goes into distinct detail about all the writers, artists, and editors. Oh, and don't forget the drama. There are all sorts of issues that span the entire length of the book.

The writing is clear and concise, though it doesn't make it super clear when jumping back and forth through time, which it does sparingly. Also, the end tapers off suddenly and leaves you wanting more. It touches upon things that were still relevant today, such as The Avengers movie, but without the same detail given to the early portions of the book. And the brief snapshot of the Marvel offices today was almost asinine -- I would have loved a comparison with the past offices to today, but only a physical layout was touched upon.

Even so, the book was an interesting read, especially if you're mostly unaware of the tumultuous history of the company that spawned some of my favorite characters (and, if I dig down deep enough, artists).

I give it an arbitrary 8 out of 10.


  1. Thanks for the recommendation. Adding it to my goodreads list.

    1. Let me know what you think, especially if you're already more invested into the faces behind the company -- I went with a relatively fresh perspective, which may have made it especially engaging for me.