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Marvels by Kurt Busiek

Marvels (original 1994; edition 2003)

by Kurt Busiek

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7552112,297 (4.11)21
Authors:Kurt Busiek
Info:Marvel Comics (2003), Paperback, 216 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Comics, Superheroes, Graphic Novels, Marvel Comics, Private Collection

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Marvels by Kurt Busiek (1994)


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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
Marvels focuses on different points in time, following various big events (the coming of Galactus, the death of Gwen Stacey) but rather than telling the story through the eyes of superheroes, it is told through the eyes of a news photographer.

Anchoring the story with a simple man has an interesting effect, very much like using the priest character in Kingdom Come. You never see anything about secret identities or personal lives, and the action is always from the outside, from a distance. I appreciate the approach and I think it largely works.

Unfortunately, by spreading the concept out for decades, the story somewhat loses focus, and each issue seems to have a sense of "what can the internal monologue be about that kind of relates to the event covered in this issue?" Overall, the narrative is a bit spotty.

Additionally, because we are seeing classic events through a new person's, the stakes are much lower than in, say, Kingdom Come, where we are seeing new events and have a great deal of insight into the older versions of classic characters.

Marvels definitely works - the artwork is amazing, the concept is fresh, and it's a good read. It occasionally drags in some places and isn't quite as good as some other work, but if you've never read it and you have a passing familiarity with the Marvel universe, it's definitely worth a read. ( )
  rodhilton | Nov 14, 2014 |
The breakout book for Alex Ross this is more his book than Kurt Busieks. There's a story here but the art is so good that it overshadows the narrative. ( )
  Kurt.Rocourt | Jun 20, 2013 |
A great take on popular Marvel super-heroes from the point of view of a newspaper writer/photographer. The art is beautiful and it's great to see some of the classic stories happening through the eyes of an ordinary person and the effects these events had on the rest of the public. ( )
  aarow | Apr 30, 2013 |
Summary: News photographer Phil Sheldon lives in an amazing world: the Marvel Universe. He was there when the Human Torch was first unveiled, he was there watching Captain America fight the Nazis, he lived through the era of the Fantastic Four and the mutant panic that came with the rise of the X-Men. Many of us are familiar with the exploits of superheroes from their perspectives, but what about from the perspective of an everyday person? What about the people who have to live with the flaming cars and demolished buildings after every battle to save the Earth from destruction by evil forces? What does living in a world full of Marvels do them, and to their sense of what it means to be human?

Review: As I have admitted before, I am only vaguely acquainted with the Marvel Universe, and most of that is via various movie adaptations than it is through any of the comics (and *certainly* through not any of the original comics.) So while I really liked the concept of this book - what's it like to live in a world where you are one of the shrieking masses fleeing from the Hulk throwing train cars around Manhattan? - I didn't have the background to get really invested in the story. In some of the vast amounts of supplemental material in the back of the edition I read, Busiek states that his original intent was to write several new stories, but instead was urged to place Phil as a bystander to some of the early foundational effects of the Marvel Universe. Because Phil is, like I was, an outsider, the broad strokes of the plot are easy enough to follow. But I constantly felt like there were huge areas of detail and backstory and meaning and subtlety that I was missing out on... because of course, there were. Still, it was an interesting spin on the typical superhero comic, and I thought it asked a lot of really interesting questions, even if I didn't always agree with the way it answered them. The art was lovely; primarily paintings done from real-life models (some of the photo comparisons in the section at the back were equal parts amazing and hilarious), it was both realistic and yet slightly more luminous than real life. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: While this was understandable and enjoyable for someone like me, I think it would be best appreciated by someone who was raised on a steadier diet of superhero comics, and Marvel comics in particular. ( )
  fyrefly98 | Jan 17, 2013 |
Marvels is issue 15 (volume 13) in Marvel’s Ultimate Graphic Novels" Collection. The novel collects the “Marvels” mini-series (issues 1 through 4) from January to April 1994. Written by Kurt Busiek and fully painted by Alex Ross, the series was revelatory both in its style and approach, examining key events in the Marvel universe from the everyman perspective of news photographer Phil Sheldon. By retelling events from an everyman perspective, Busiek’s story poured new perspectives onto the superheroes themselves and onto Marvel rich history. The artwork from Alex Ross is simply brilliant, revolutionising what could be done with comic book art – his approach has been much imitated but seldom bettered.

The story itself begins in 1939 with the creation of the robotic, original Human Torch and follows his battles with Namor,the Sub-Mariner, before the advent of the Second World War and the creation of Captain America. Sheldon becomes a war correspondent and witnesses the “Marvels” in action against the Nazis. After the war he marries his sweetheart Doris and by the early 1960s they have two children. Working in New York he is acutely aware of the Fantastic Four and The Avengers but is concerned about the growing fear and hate around mutants and the mutant team, The X-Men. When an anti-mutant mob goes on the rampage he finds that his daughters are sheltering a mutant girl in their basement. Sheldon becomes more preoccupied with the Marvels and begins to put his family in second place in an obsessive pursuit of the strange heroes, but all of this is put into perspective when a world-destroying threat in the fom of Galactus appears. After the Fantastic Four defeat the alien, Sheldon promises to spend more time with his family. By the 1970s he has has written a best-seller called "Marvels" and is becoming more-and-more disgusted by the public dislike of the heroes, particularly J. Jonah Jameson’s rants against Spider-Man. Believing the web-slinger to have been framed for the death of police officer Captain Stacy, he begins investigating the murder and befriends Stacey’s daughter, Gwen. When Gwen is kidnapped by the Green Goblin Sheldon is there at the Brooklyn Bridge and witnesses her death. When forensic reports reveals that Gwen died from the shock of the fall, Sheldon's faith in the Marvels is destoyed - he decides he’s had enough of these heroes and retires. The “Marvels” book is produced to the same high quality standards as the previous – hardback, tightly bound, with beautiful colourful glossy pages. Extras include chapter forewords by Stan Lee and John Romita, Snr, along with those of Busiek and Ross themselves. There is also an overview detailing how Busiek and Ross went about creating the books and an interesting and informative artist workshop with Alex Ross. A brilliant package to complement a brilliant story. ( )
  calum-iain | Oct 21, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kurt Busiekprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ross, AlexIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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"It is with considerable difficulty that I remember the original era of my being..." - Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
Alex and I would also like to dedicate the entire work, with respect, admiration and gratitude, to the memory and the achievements of Jack Kirby.
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Horton. Phineas Thomas Horton. Quite possibly the greatest scientist of his time. He was my father.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0785100490, Paperback)

Welcome to New York. Here, burning figures roam the streets, men in brightly colored costumes scale the glass and concrete walls, and creatures from space threaten to devour our world. This is the Marvel Universe, where the ordinary and fantastic interact daily. This is the world of MARVELS. Collecting MARVELS #0-4.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:43 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Marvel Comics brings back Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross' fully painted retelling of key moments in the birth of the Marvel Universe, as seen through the eyes of an innocent bystander.

(summary from another edition)

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