This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
  • LibraryThing
  • Book discussions
  • Your LibraryThing
  • Join to start using.

Marvel: The Golden Age 1939-1949

Folio Society devotees

Join LibraryThing to post.

Edited: Aug 14, 6:47am Top

May as well start a new thread about this extraordinary (amazing, unusual, weird - choose your adjective) project, as I am sure there will be a lot of debate about it.
Very much aimed at the USA market.
See the FS website here.

Aug 14, 7:00am Top

FS is a business and needs money to survive. Game of Thrones and now this is a way to do this, allowing them to continue publishing other works.

As long as they keep doing this I have no issue with it. Of course the worry is that they'll focus more and more on these cash cows, and less on other books. But we'll have to wait and see.

Also, for better or worse Marvel comics have had an enormous impact on our culture, never more so than in the last decade or so. How many trillions has the MCU made now? They are a significant part of 20th century literature.

Aug 14, 7:07am Top

I actually think this is pretty neat, though not my thing so I definitely won’t be buying it.

Aug 14, 7:09am Top

I am a comic book collector who will pass on this. Would rather spend the same amount with Thornwillow press.

Aug 14, 7:12am Top

Haha, I saw your reaction on the other thread and was about to reply there.

I'm quite excited with the project. I'm not a Marvel fan and do not have £150 to splash on a single book, but I welcome the addition. It looks every inch like a collectable and looks very well-made and attractive. I'm sure a lot of Marvel fans will love it. It will look superb on a shelf. Also, it's good to point out that it's Marvel that contacted Folio (not the other way round) to make a special edition of the Golden Age to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Marvel #1. Folio's work over the past years must have caught their eyes.

I don't think Folio is straying too much from what they've been doing for years. It's still at heart turning classics into 'fine' editions. And naturally, there are classics in every genre. It's also targeting another set of people; books like Dune, Games of Thrones, The Shining, etc have all helped Folio reach a different audience. On Wordpress or Youtube, you can see that suddenly more people have become aware of the Folio society. (There are also more articles about them online on bigger sites.

But I kind of understand your concern. So long as Folio is doing ok and keeping on publishing the usual genres, I guess we have nothing to worry about.

Aug 14, 7:13am Top

Another nail in the coffin for the Folio Society that was.

Edited: Aug 14, 7:44am Top

I love watching the Marvel cinematic universe but have no interest in the comics so was not tempted in the least for this. That said I am supportive of Folio dabbling into new genres and markets and if they prove successful then all the better. I've noticed an increase in chatter regarding Folio elsewhere and on Youtube since they released Game of Thrones. I suspect they hoped the title to act as a gateway drug for those buyers to pick up a few other titles, no doubt this might do the same though I suspect comics as a genre is a different kettle of fish to GoT which has since been more popularised by the TV show than I suspect the Marvel movies have done for the comics.

Regardless I'm not all that convinced as to whether this is somehow another act of self ruination for Folio. Despite some questionable decisions Folio has made of late I'm not worried their reaching out into these more niche markets will somehow cause them to overlook their core traditional literature picks/collections, I mean their still picking out niche titles from more traditional literature like Studies of Nature not too long ago.

Aug 14, 8:00am Top

Not for me, but agree with the line of argument that this and GoT are good for the society (GoT is up to over 200 reviews now!).

If the criticism is on the curation side of things, then:

a) it will only matter if we see less of the more esoteric stuff, which https://www.foliosociety.com/uk/studies-from-nature.html puts paid to for now.

b) at least Marvel's output is about 100 times more profound and significant than Paulo Coelho.

Edited: Aug 14, 9:08am Top

I for one think it's terrible that Folio is attempting to serve new customers while also producing books that I personally enjoy. Their insistence on not catering solely to my tastes is, frankly, disgusting.

Aug 14, 9:13am Top

". . . editions of the world's great literature, in a format worthy of the contents, at a price within the reach of everyman."

No - it's NOT April 1st. They've finally flipped - even if it's cheaper than what the Reader's Digest original now goes for.


Mrs Reader's Digest Omnichannel has put down her slipcase and become a flip case.

Aug 14, 9:25am Top

I don't think this is the end of the world. I really don't see this as any different than any other 'Art' book. To me, this expansive catalog makes Folio stretch their minds a bit and will continue to open new doors. I for one, won't buy this, much like Game of Thrones, I have little interest in this production. However; if you told me they were going to make interesting facsimiles of curated playbooks from great NFL offenses, or movie scripts of Wolfman movies, or any other oddity, I would probably be a bit more interested. I for one can see a very interesting gateway here and I find the potential far more intriguing than buying modern books in Folio form, that I generally download to my phone and erase after one use.

Aug 14, 9:43am Top

>10 boldface:

I was just about to dig out that quote so you saved me the trouble, Jonathan. I believe for the first time Folio have driven a bus through every point of the original mission statement.

great literature (laughs)

format worthy of contents - well that would be akin to a paper magazine, wouldn't it? Shall we say "comic"?

price within the reach of everyman - £150? For a comic?

Folio have at last reached Mrs Omnichannel's goal of emulatiing Reader's Digest.

And for all those who enjoy reading comics I have no wish to spoil your continuing enjoyment. Indeed I confess I have been known to read a few myself (a number of years back, and DC rather than Marvel, admittedly). There are gazillions out there, including thousands of nicely bound editions. I just question Foilo's need to add another one.

Aug 14, 9:50am Top

>12 folio_books: "Indeed I confess I have been known to read a few myself (a number of years back, and DC rather than Marvel, admittedly)"

Exactly, Glenn. I myself have the complete TinTin - but not from the Folio Society.

Aug 14, 10:31am Top

I won’t be buying this, but I don’t have a problem with its existence. Folio publishes collections of illustrated children’s stories and numerous collections of illustrated folk tales, legends, and myths from various cultures. This can have a place on the shelf alongside those releases. If someone views comics as American mythology/folk tales told in words and images, I won’t argue with them.

Aug 14, 10:37am Top

There are plenty of books that still fit the mission statement.

There are food books, gardening books, art books, all done quite often through the years. Those are not literature, so why not comics?

You can see a special publications for 1969 (while Ede was still part of the society) on the devotees wiki, that will show some prices well beyond the standard publications. I will admit; cost of living, in the U.S., does not align the same with the wage increase (be careful how you approach this one), but they're clearly within the realm of cost.

Aug 14, 10:50am Top

Fantastic! It's about time that Folio credit sequential narrative of words and pictures as literature. Ordered.

Aug 14, 11:09am Top

Not particularly knowledgeable of this genre, so - are the people, on the whole, spending billions seeing these Marvel movies at the theater the same that would spend $250-300 on a collection of retro-looking comics? For some reason I just can't see it. Probably prejudicial but I imagine it's mostly children to very young adults buying the tickets and popcorn. It seems this product is more of a hardcore fan offering and I doubt they number that many...?

Aug 14, 11:28am Top

Porn is coming to Folio...

...and I am sure that the old farts will place their orders.

Edited: Aug 14, 11:35am Top

>18 HornyBaggins:

Really? You had to do this?

Aug 14, 11:47am Top

Marvel is important to a great number of people, myself included. Grew up reading the comics (amongst other books/comics). I'm delighted Folio is embracing the multitude of genres.

I've just pre-ordered a copy for a dear friend who would absolutely love this edition.

Aug 14, 11:50am Top

Looks like this is the first of a series. From an article in The Verge:

"The Folio Society says that the volume is the first in an ongoing partnership with Marvel Comics, and the next volume is set to come out sometime in the first half of 2020."

Aug 14, 12:55pm Top

Oh yes, a dose of wartime jingoism in garish colours calibrated to 10-year-old minds from almost a century ago is JUST what we lack nowadays.

Aug 14, 1:06pm Top

>22 LolaWalser:

Cynical or not, I did chuckle.

Aug 14, 2:55pm Top

>13 boldface:
I'll pass on Marvel, but would certainly get a FS version of the complete set of Tintin if it comes around :-)

Aug 14, 3:13pm Top

Folio Tintin sounds smashing. Or perhaps Ompa-pa...

Aug 14, 4:58pm Top

Comics aren't my thing, but they certainly culturally significant and no less "literary" than things like Bond. Heck, we forget too often around here that most classics were considered low brow trash in their day. Novels weren't for serious people.

Aug 14, 5:33pm Top

FS needs to be financially stable and if this helps, I'm fine with that. Haven't seen this mentioned before, but: LEs as recent as last year are currently on sale, a worrisome development and a sign of trouble.

I don't know whether there's a market for this or not. I'd love this to be a success for FS, enabling them to make other, more 'deserving' (not my qualification but communis opinio here, whatever it may mean) titles then that's worth it for me. It's not for me, but I won't begrudge fans this edition or belittle them for their fandom as others have done previously.

Aug 14, 5:55pm Top

>26 Jason461:

That's absolutely true. John Adams admitted to his diary about reading these romances and his 'foolish girl like giddiness' and his personal embarrassment about the whole ordeal. We consider intellectual prose what they considered trifling nonsense.

Aug 14, 6:13pm Top

Not something I want to pay $250.00 for,but I am all for Folio printing whatever they can sell as long as the quality of the physical book is kept up to their standards.What would you all think of Dr.Suesse given the Folio treatment?

Edited: Aug 14, 6:24pm Top


Folio books called collectors editions come, Game of Thrones with tinfoiled blocks come, Studies in Nature and comics in box come, but Mr John, Dr Seuss would empty my pockets some.

Aug 14, 6:47pm Top

>24 Dr.Fiddy: For me it's a complete set of Locke & Key, Preacher or Harrow County that would do it.

Aug 14, 9:53pm Top

>22 LolaWalser:

OK, you have talked me in to this book.

Aug 15, 6:22am Top

>24 Dr.Fiddy: I, too, would be very interested in FS Tintin editions!

Aug 15, 12:33pm Top

Looks more like a Taschen than a Folio to me - flat spine, pop culture, bright colors and all.

>9 gmacaree:
I'd say people are concerned that, as the new tastes FS started catering to lately tend to be more on the money-making, mainstream-ish side of things, one day FS might make a switch to these types of books exclusively. Considering the current CEO is actually proud of killing off a book business entirely before, turning a book publisher into a seller of CDs and DVDs, I don't think the concern is too unreasonable. But I admit I did chuckle when I read your post.

Aug 15, 12:43pm Top

>26 Jason461:

Indeed, it's the cultural and political significance of Folio publishing this propaganda item in this historical moment and to such breathless cheerleading of a foreign nation (STAR-SPANGLED SPLENDOUR!!11!! *swoooon*) that I find most striking.

Aug 15, 1:02pm Top

>34 elladan0891: its funny you should mention Taschen as this looks very similar to a Taschen release a few years ago for the 75th anniversary of Marvel Comics, albeit with a facsimile of the first issue. The Taschen release also went through Silver and Bronze Age Marvel, right up to the modern era, so if this is a success we can expect more i think.

i dont have an issue with Folio doing this, as it is, as others have mentioned, only like publishing an art book; some of the artists within (Kirby/Everett) are legends in their field, turning out pages and pages of genre defining work in short periods of time. that said the writing from this era can be a bit clunky.

Aug 15, 2:22pm Top

.. Folio do publish these "cash cows", but then again they publish(ed) Dickens, Shakespeare, and you name the lot for the `n`thent time` often bound in old victorian style wallpaper ..

.. as long as it`s not always, but only sometimes, it`s fine by me ..

.. and i`m awaiting still Alan Moore: `From Hell` from the 2016? survey ..

Aug 15, 3:21pm Top

In my opinion, comics or graphic novels shouldn't be looked down upon.
They can provide readers with an indelible experience, and it's no surprise really if so many of them count as classics - V for Vendetta, Watchmen, and I could include all those Batman classics that left readers in shock. Unfortunately, comics suffer from much prejudice. The Heroes we see on TV or in cinema are dull and watered down to please crowds (mostly kids), when in fact they are dark, somber and tragic in the comics. Just an example: Jim Gordon is a tragic character in the series, yet we barely see him in the movies.

I'm not a fan of Marvel, but I'm sure the book about The Golden Age contains some magic that the majority of us is failing to see. If it were about Batman or something from Alan Moore, I would have bought it in an instant.

Aug 15, 3:24pm Top

>37 Pellias:

Unfortunately, only three Dickens novels remain in the catalogue and they are not part of a complete set. As for Shakespeare, Folio's latest premium venture has resulted in too many unsold copies. On the other hand Mort sold out in a day. It's not rocket science, it's a marvel.

Edited: Aug 15, 3:58pm Top

>39 boldface:

Have nothing against Dickens, Shakespeare and the other 'big classics', but for a publisher they are always quite risky. Let's face it, on average everybody and their dog owns a copy already who are into these kind of books and collecting. They are done to death by multiple publishers, republished multiple times in all kind of qualities. And a large number of them is getting circulated on the secondary market, which a fine press publisher also has to compete with. Demand is limited, even if the books are highly regarded, and supply is more or less steady. And people are usually happy with a single (fine) copy of the same book.

The modern cult classics, like Mort, Book of the New Sun, Lovecraft, lack the fine treatment in general, so obviously people don't have them already. They represent a large untapped demand, people who are waiting for their favorite book to appear in a nice copy. Thus they are a much better business case, than republishing Dickens the 100th time.

Therefore, for Folio, it makes sense to be cautious about printing old high profile classics and catering more for modern cult classics. As for the traditional Folio customer base, fine treatment of more obscure and under the radar classics literature make a better case in my opinion, as they haven't been done before, so it is more likely they can sell. And Folio does exactly this, which is good. Shakespeare et al are a money sink for a small publisher in 2019. Niches pay off much better, old or new.

Aug 15, 4:23pm Top

>36 stumc: its funny you should mention Taschen as this looks very similar to a Taschen release a few years ago for the 75th anniversary of Marvel Comics, albeit with a facsimile of the first issue.

Indeed. Now, this may make a few sit up but one of the few non-Folio books I have in my collection is Taschen's behemoth "75 Years of DC Comics", purchased in one of the famous Taschen sales two or three years back. I figured I was safe enough buying it then as there was no chance of Folio doing anything remotely similar ...

Aug 15, 4:30pm Top

>37 Pellias:
“.. and i`m awaiting still Alan Moore: `From Hell` from the 2016? survey ...”

Yes, absolutely!

Aug 15, 4:44pm Top

>35 LolaWalser:

It's not accurate to say this is propaganda. Early comics were certainly political, but they were generally more liberal than the mainstream. They were lobbying (thanks, frankly, to the influence of several Jewish creators) to get the US into WWII to help defeat Hitler. There was a political viewpoint, but that doesn't make it propaganda.

Edited: Aug 15, 8:58pm Top

Well it had to come. The FS have been managing the move away from 'great literature affordable by everyman' for some time, and this is the logical development. In amongst the various facsimiles, comics, rehashes etc they do make a nod or two towards their old mission statement, but it does feel increasingly thin.

In the meantime, the LOA has proved a godsend, at least on the American front, and I'm currently enjoying the new translations of Zola's Rougon-Macquart series in Oxford World Classics.

Aug 16, 12:53am Top

>34 elladan0891: A chuckle? How dare you!

For every Folio Society production that is not a collection of classical Chinese poetry, I kick a puppy and/or small child.

Aug 16, 2:43pm Top

>43 Jason461:

It's not accurate to say this is propaganda. Early comics were certainly political, but they were generally more liberal than the mainstream.

You couldn't be more wrong. "Early comics" were most commonly syndicated newspaper fare and as such resolutely mainstream in outlook. As for politics, most eschewed it directly, although at the same time they endorsed pro-capitalist, consumerist values as a matter of course. But the item in question isn't that "early"--the dates here are 1939-1949, and you can bet it's propaganda writ large: WWII to cold war. Captain America was created specifically for purposes of wartime propaganda, and no American superhero is without stories of battling Nazis, "Japs" and later "commie" monsters in this period.

There are so many references for this--it's actually a well-trodden academic field by now--it's hard to know where to start. This is one book I read most recently on the topic: Comic Art Propaganda: A Graphic History--it may interest as it includes some non-US examples.

I presume most books on the history of comics would have a chapter on their use in the WWII.

Aug 16, 2:51pm Top

Actually, seen from the angle of Folio's (their customers') abiding interest in the WWII, this issue makes more sense than some general branching-out into comics publishing would be.

Aug 16, 3:13pm Top

>47 LolaWalser:

You may well have a point there but I doubt very much that Folio is looking at this venture from that angle!

Aug 16, 3:33pm Top

Heh, probably not. I wonder if this will sell noticeably better in the US than elsewhere? I presume they need the US market very much.

Aug 16, 3:53pm Top

Well, well, well. Disappointed? No, disgusted.

Art Spiegelman's Marvel essay 'refused publication for Orange Skull Trump dig'

Art Spiegelman, the legendary graphic novelist behind Maus, has claimed that he was asked to remove criticism of Donald Trump from his introduction to a forthcoming Marvel book, because the comics publisher – whose chairman has donated to Trump’s campaign – is trying to stay “apolitical”.

Spiegelman, who won a Pulitzer prize for Maus, his story of the Holocaust, has written for Saturday’s Guardian that he was approached by publisher the Folio Society to write an introduction to Marvel: The Golden Age 1939–1949, a collection ranging from Captain America to the Human Torch.

Tracing how “the young Jewish creators of the first superheroes conjured up mythic – almost godlike – secular saviours” to address political issues such as the Great Depression and the second world war, Spiegelman finishes his essay by saying: “In today’s all too real world, Captain America’s most nefarious villain, the Red Skull, is alive on screen and an Orange Skull haunts America.”

After submitting the essay in June, Spiegelman says he was told by the Folio Society that Marvel Comics was trying to stay apolitical, “and is not allowing its publications to take a political stance”. Neither publisher responded to requests for comment from the Guardian, but Spiegelman claims he was asked to remove the sentence referring to the Red Skull or his introduction would not be published. He pulled the essay, placing it instead with the Guardian. (...)

Pandering to Americans is one thing; pandering to Trumpism is a dealbreaker.

Aug 16, 4:18pm Top

>50 LolaWalser: "... because the comics publisher – whose chairman has donated to Trump’s campaign – is trying to stay “apolitical”. "

... and yet by abiding to censorship FS itself became political. Your previous comments were spot on. We can only hope this is a one-off snafu.

Aug 16, 4:26pm Top

>50 LolaWalser: Thanks for the alert to this spineless FS kow-towing to Trump supporter Perlmutter. As a frequent Facebooker, I have just posted the following to the FS Facebook page, with a link to the Guardian article:
"This makes me question, to put it mildly, whether my 30+ year patronage of the Folio Society, buying and enjoying literally hundreds of its splendid books, is now at an end."

Aug 16, 4:27pm Top

>50 LolaWalser: Thanks for the alert to this spineless FS kow-towing to Trump supporter Perlmutter. As a frequent Facebooker, I have just posted the following to the FS Facebook page, with a link to the Guardian article:
"This makes me question, to put it mildly, whether my 30+ year patronage of the Folio Society, buying and enjoying literally hundreds of its splendid books, is now at an end."

Aug 16, 4:50pm Top

Bullying one of very few remaining publishers of quality tangible books into associating with only people of your own political opinion -- this type of thing looks great on the Dems and I'm sure it won't hurt them again in their rematch against the deplorables.

I like your idea of simply not buying from them if it upsets you, and maybe limiting it to that?

Aug 16, 4:56pm Top

>54 pancarre12: Bullying? You flatter me.

Aug 16, 5:16pm Top

Ironic that we've just had a thread about Introductions that nobody reads.
I'm no great admirer of the powers that be at FS, but I very much doubt that they have the slightest sympathy with Trump. Lord Gavron was Labour party, i.e. left-wing, royalty, and Ms Omni is a Labour councillor for a London Borough. It's perfectly normal for a business not to become embroiled in political controversy that will alienate a large segment of their customer base, especially when the copyright holder objects. It was disingenuous of Spiegelman to turn an invitation to comment on a historical "text" into a forum for his own present day politics. He must have known perfectly well that it would be unwelcome, and that he could turn that to his own advantage. He's entitled to his opinion (with which I agree) but he's not entitled to foist it on those whom it might harm.

Edited: Aug 16, 5:25pm Top

Haha oh how amusing. As someone that is generally pinned to the right, although I am actually centrally opinionated, I'm shoved to the right because anyone not on board with knee jerk progress is forced there... I've always supported Folio despite their Fabian ties. Give me a good product. If the world shall become like the Greeks and Romans in their peak years of pleasure, I shall sit in my chair, next to my fire and read my books that are by large published by Socialists.

Aug 16, 5:29pm Top

>56 Jayked:

He must have known perfectly well that it would be unwelcome,

I'm not sure this is evident. Obviously he knew he was writing about a property of Marvel's (albeit a property much older than the current owners), but perhaps he actually believes in the much-touted American "freedom of speech"?

and that he could turn that to his own advantage.

But what advantage? He could just as easily, and likely with less embarrassment to himself, have refused to write the essay and published an article about Perlemutter and Trump and why he refused to write the essay.

Incidentally, why do you think publishing his essay would have hurt FS? Do you suppose this is just the beginning of a beautiful friendship between the FS and Marvel?

Aug 16, 5:37pm Top

Aug 16, 6:15pm Top

Well, as the linked article notes, everything is political. Remaining apolitical is a default endorsement of the status quo, which obviously advantages some people rather significantly over others.

Aug 16, 6:23pm Top

i dont see Marvel, at least the output i used to read, as being overtly political, it may have been obliquely, but i would think with a slightly left wing bias (black panther/x men etc)

i definitely dont see FS decision to publish a Golden Age Marvel book as an endorsement of Trump! thats a bit of a stretch!

Edited: Aug 16, 6:38pm Top

>61 stumc: I doubt anyone sees publishing the Marvel comic book as FS explicitly endorsing Trump. I certainly don't. What I object to is that, having commissioned the intro from Art Spiegelman, they didn't have the courage to follow through and support him, but instead took timid evasive action (it would seem) just in case Perlmutter objected to that single reference to the "Orange Skull."

Aug 16, 7:45pm Top

>62 davidjbrown10:
It wouldn't just be Perlmutter who'd object; it would be a large number of potential customers for a publisher trying to stay afloat by publishing stuff that's likely to appeal tp people who read with their fingers. Would anyone have objected if FS had turned down an introduction hostile to Obama? It's standard practice for publishers to vet what writers offer them, commissioned or not, down to "correcting" the punctuation of English professors. They're paying for it; it has to suit their purposes.

Aug 16, 8:07pm Top

>63 Jayked: Your guess that "a large number of potential customers" would object to the reference to the Orange Skull is as good (or bad) as my guess that plenty would nod approvingly.

Aug 16, 8:11pm Top

>63 Jayked:

There comes a point when hard-nosed pragmatism and "just-the-bottom-line" defeats its own purpose. Kowtowing to political will for economic reasons isn't necessarily a recipe for success--it certainly isn't a recipe for respect. Also, I don't know why anyone would assume more Folio's customers would have objected to Spiegelman's essay than liked it. In fact, hearing that Folio approached Spiegelman in the first place is at least a little cheering, despite the catastrophic ending.

>62 davidjbrown10:


Well, if I understood the article correctly, the essay will be published in The Guardian tomorrow and I'm sure it will be worth reading whether you are one of the buyers for this edition or not. (It's rather disappointing that they couldn't find anyone better than a Marvel employee to replace Spiegelman.)

Aug 16, 8:53pm Top

>65 LolaWalser:

Roy Thomas is far better suited to write the introduction to this collection than Spiegelman.

Aug 16, 8:58pm Top

Aug 16, 9:03pm Top

from The Guardian article "Neither publisher responded to requests for comment..."
Stay tuned.

Edited: Aug 16, 10:40pm Top

>68 LolaWalser:

Well, no one alive knows more about Marvel Comics than Rascally Roy Thomas.

He was Marvel's second editor-in-chief after Stan Lee left the position in order to become... I think it was publisher for Marvel, or something like that.

Roy Thomas started his career as a comic book writer in the mid-sixties, and it was in 1972 that he became the second ever EIC for Marvel.

He's always had a huge soft spot for Golden Age comic book characters. Many of the hundreds of comic book issues that he has written center on the 1940s and WWII. He's truly an authority on the Golden Age of comics. Especially Marvel and DC.

I'm not saying that Spiegelman wouldn't have been more than fine. In fact, I look forward to what he did write. But Roy Thomas is the real deal when it comes to Marvel Comics. Like I said, he's probably the leading authority in the world on Marvel Comics in the Golden and Silver Age.

Aug 17, 10:01am Top

>70 betaraybill:

No offence to the job of an editor or slight on Mr. Thomas' knowledge of the business, but I'd much rather have the perspective on comics of a creative genius like Spiegelman.

>71 FitzJames:

I hope you don't mind if I link that again giving the full title:

Art Spiegelman: golden age superheroes were shaped by the rise of fascism

Aug 17, 10:34am Top

I actually got up to read this. Some interesting info, I don't really think the orange skull added anything to an otherwise interesting article. Political hacking with a complaint about political hacking, blah, blah, blah, typical really. I'm still not buying this collection, but to think the political atmosphere is worse than ever is a childlike, self-important thought process, built from despair and ignorance. The only difference is, we attack each other like middle schoolers and fascists.

Aug 17, 12:15pm Top

>71 FitzJames:

A good article by Spiegelman. Thanks for the link. May print it out and store it with the book when it arrives as a second introduction.

Aug 17, 1:11pm Top

One factor which may have influenced FS in its decision is the difference in libel laws between the USA and the UK. What passes for fair comment in America can land you in the poorhouse in Britain. Think Daily Mirror vs Liberace, which netted the latter the equivalent of half a million quid. To win a libel suit in the UK the plaintiff need only show that the comment has harmed his reputation. It's up to the defendant to prove that what he said was true. https://saperlaw.com/2010/02/24/saper-law-attorneys-compare-american-and-british...

Aug 18, 10:31am Top

>75 Jayked:

That's VERY farfetched. Spiegelman hadn't even named Trump. Even if he had, there's no shortage of much more visible and high-level instances of dissing the orange ape--it happens practically every night on American television, for example. Trumpolini is reputedly litigious, but nothing indicates he'd bother pursuing veiled references like this--when would he find the time to golf and tweet otherwise?

This is a deeply disturbing event, to say the least, and the conduct of both Marvel and Folio despicable.

Aug 18, 12:03pm Top

>76 LolaWalser:
What happens on American television is entirely irrelevant to British libel laws, which are draconian. Even a character as unlovely as Evelyn Waugh was able to benefit from them. You had no difficulty interpreting the "veiled" reference, which places Trump with the likes of Hitler and Mussolini, and neither would anyone else called upon to testify that harm had been done to his unenviable reputation. Whether he would bother to take action -- he seems to relish criticism -- is beside the point; a small publisher can't afford to take the risk. Your priority is to stay in business, not to support a political stance that you didn't invite when you asked for the introduction. There is nothing despicable about refusing to take sides in the politics of another country, or in asserting your editorial rights.

Aug 18, 12:08pm Top

>76 LolaWalser:

I’d say deeply disturbing is VERY far fetched.

American television shows will do what they have to do to maintain and increase their audience. They would be unlikely to continue in that way if it lost them their audience.

If some FSDs posts in another thread are to be believed, and no reason not to, we know that Folio’s decision to print some of their books in China has adversely affected sales of those books and may have lost them customers forever; why then, would or should, Folio publish an introduction in any of their books if they consider it a risk that may lose them even one of their customers?

Aug 18, 2:41pm Top

>67 betaraybill:

Couldn't agree more. Looking forward to reading Thomas' intro when I receive this. TBH, was not that impressed by Spiegelman's essay printed in The Guardian.

Edited: Aug 18, 3:20pm Top

>77 Jayked:

Your speculations are making the whole affair appear even worse. If Marvel had sued Folio because Spiegelman was--obliquely and very briefly--critical of Trump, there would have been a MAJOR scandal. Marvel may have a rich Trumpoid in chief, but they don't cater to that demographic, and the larger public in the US no less than in the UK is NOT on Trump's side. The very idea that an American company with Marvel's profile would go on public record trying to sue a foreign, much smaller business in the name of protecting Donald Trump (ETA: from mockery!) ought to be too laughable to conceive, let alone seriously defend. We're not talking oil-grabbing mercenaries here.

I'm going to speculate in turn and say that Folio didn't run the risk of litigation. Displeasing a potential partner like Marvel may well appear undesirable before and outside any notion of litigation. I think they caved in simply grasping for more of that sweet American dollar.

>78 bookfair_e:

Now that's some desperate flailing and pulling-stuff-out-of-thin-air. Do you have any evidence Folio gives a damn about some people disliking their use of Chinese printers? Last I heard, they continued to employ them even after the outpourings of outrage in this forum. Imagine that.

As for losing customers, there's no telling who they may have lost or won for what reason. At least we can be sure that no amount of obsequious bending over will win them Twittler, the proud illiterate...

Aug 18, 4:28pm Top

>60 Jason461:

Indeed, exactly.

As is usually the case, The Folio Society will gather greater opprobrium for giving in to a censorious impulse than they ever would have by simply publishing the forward as written.

Edited: Aug 19, 12:50pm Top

I might need to buy this collection. From what I read above, it sounds great! It's chalk full of propaganda and I believe it's the most pro Trump comic since the Clinton wedding! Go Folio!

What I can't understand, is how Trump being a complete jackwagon, is any different than any other politician. Why do folks get so worked up over one political jerk to side with any of the others? They're all so gross, it's amazing to me that Trump gets so much attention. I think Obama was equally as gross, and I will admit that I detest the Clinton family, but why are people so obsessed with this man?

I don't think Folio did anything wrong and I think Spielgelman is just another number of political obsessors that deserved to be cut from the intro for a boring and less than original attack on a boring and less than original target.

Edited: Aug 18, 8:45pm Top

H.P. Lovecraft
Dashiell Hammett
Robert E. Howard
Jim Thompson
Ian Fleming
... and numerous others, were all considered "trashy" when they were first published, and their works are now considered influential classics. Same with comics.

As rightly pointed out by Uppernorwood and some others, the influence of comic books can not be denied. I haven't decided if I will purchase this or not, but I do value comic books and view them as an artform. I believe the FS was once planning to publish Alan Moore's "From Hell" as a LE. I really wish they would. I also wish they would have included the introduction by Art Spiegelman. Although this brouhaha was apparently a due to Marvel, not the FS. This is also getting a LOT of attention. Perhaps Marvel will rescind and Spiegelman's essay will appear.

Edited: Aug 19, 4:48am Top

>83 astropi:

I'm not sure I've caught up with the times, then, or am ever likely to regarding those five, but I can take a little Mrs. Radcliffe...

I was quite devoted to US comics from around age 7 to 9, albeit more DC than Marvel: come to think of it, maybe even more Tower than Marvel. They didn't lead to anything else, I just gave up on reading for the following seven or eight years. Haven't been tempted to return to the form except for a solitary indulgence in the hardback compendium of Steve Ditko's Creeper, an especial favourite with me at the time, with an aim to touching base with my nine year old self and seeing what I might make of the work nearly fifty years later. It was a mildly intriguing encounter, but I think I'll leave it there.

Yesterday, 2:57am Top

84: "US comics" is a huge huge field. I think it's a little bit like saying "US books" in that it's rather hard to generalize. I encourage people to explore comic books without prejudice. Of course, comics aren't necessarily for anyone, but from the many amusing comments on here I think some FS members just outright dismiss comics books as "childish" which is rather asinine in my opinion.

Yesterday, 3:17am Top

Intro change is now news in the Washington Post.


No new info that I can see, but the news will reach more FS customers in the US.

I wasn’t going to buy it anyway (too pricey and I don’t see the point of a collection of comics that don’t tell an ongoing or complete story), but am disappointed in FS’s decision not to publish the original intro.

Edited: Yesterday, 4:13am Top

>85 astropi:

Was I among the "asinine"? My acquaintance with "US comics" is confessedly largely limited to the cross-section - it seemed a fairly generous cross-section, which is to say that rarely was my appetite whetted for a title that never appeared for sale - of commercial offerings from DC, Marvel and Tower which found their way to a newsagent in a small Norfolk market town in the late 1960s. I was around eight at the time, so the counter-attractions among "British comics" would have been Dandy, Beano, Eagle etc.: any underground or counter-cultural endeavours also current would not have found their way to the shelves of the said small-town newsagent. From what I recall of their letters pages the "US comics" seemed to have a goodly proportion of adult readers.

With no wish to diminish anyone else's fulfilments, I admit to finding it hard to imagine myself deriving much satisfaction today from a narrative delivered largely by way of drawn images. Part at least of the reason is that the form is one - opera is another - with which, given the brevity of life, I doubt I would ever develop an acquaintance beyond the superficial.

Yesterday, 6:10am Top

87: I thought your responses were quite thoughtful.
It's funny you bring up opera, since the analogy had crossed my mind as well. For the record I am an opera fan - if you ever get a chance to go to the MET do so, it's quite spectacular.

Yesterday, 8:21am Top

>85 astropi:
Right. I wish people would give them a chance.

Watchmen ranks among the best books I've read. The economy of words and the power of the 'illustrations' have left an indelible mark on me. It was in fact the book that made me interested in watching behind-the-scenes documentaries for almost anything. For the story was so well constructed that I wanted to understand how the mind works during creative processes.

I'm a huge Batman fan too and have lots of comics. I wish people knew that there is a difference between the Batman onscreen and the Batman in comics. Movies or cartoons bank on movements, sounds, and other effects to draw certain reactions from the audience, whereas comics rely not only on the artist's drawing skills, but also on his choice of what to draw. (In Dark Victory, for example, Dick Grayson's parents' deaths are conveyed to us in a way very different from the movies. Likewise for Harvey Dent's attack in Long Halloween. I could stress upon it further, but I would go and on...). In brief, comics and graphic novels shouldn't be taken for granted.

Yesterday, 11:11am Top

>22 LolaWalser: Oh yes, a dose of wartime jingoism in garish colours calibrated to 10-year-old minds from almost a century ago is JUST what we lack nowadays.

Because whenever adults get their hands on almost a century-old comics for ten-year-old boys they always get an insatiable urge to invade a country or drop some nukes on a city or two. Just like the poor souls who read The Lord of the Rings and were too careless not to dismiss it as right-wing propaganda - they all become rabid monarchists with a longing for good ol' feudalism. Myself, I made a mistake playing Carmageddon when I was in my teens in mid-90s. Now in my free time I cruise the streets in my car, looking for unsuspecting pedestrians to run over when nobody's looking.

Yesterday, 11:14am Top

Anyone not familiar with the world of comics could do worse than pick up a copy of Scott McCloud's 'Understanding Comics'. A sort of text book in comic form in which an insider explains how comics work.

And I would echo >85 astropi: and >89 Kainzow: in that one can't really generalise about comics. There is a huge range of stories out there for people of all ages and interests.

Just a small selection off the top of my head which one could check out to get an idea of what's out there:

A Distant Soil;
Love and Rockets;
The Invisibles;
Strangers in Paradise

All very different but all, I think, well worth a read.

Yesterday, 11:37am Top

89, 91: Yeah, Watchman was phenomenal. Truly a great read, not just a great comic. The Long Halloween, I honestly enjoyed more than many an Agatha Christie novel (it is in essence a "murder mystery"). Great list, I would also add the following:

The Dark Knight Returns
The Forever War (hard to find)
The Golden Age
Kingdom Come
Locke & Key (as someone else also mentioned)
The Ring of the Nibelung
Stardust (originally a comic book before the novel)
... and many more

A few very popular comics I did not particularly like include "The Walking Dead" and "The Boys". Funny thing, I found The Boys boring as a comic, but the show is quite enjoyable! Usually it's the reverse.

Yesterday, 11:50am Top

>91 Cat_of_Ulthar:

Agreed, Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud is an outstanding book. Highly readble, and really helps to appreciate the art of comics for us non artist types.

I have had three copies of that book, the first two found homes with artists I have know throuhout the years who went on to graduate degrees in graphics or other art fields.



Yesterday, 1:22pm Top

I expect there's very little nostalgia in the UK for this particular set of comics because they weren't generally available at the time, what with wartime blockades and paper rationing.
Where I went to school in Edinburgh, elementary school teachers treated comics in general as trash, with a particular animus against American ones. British schoolkids graduated from juvenile stuff such as the Beano to teen comics which weren't comics at all, but written stories with a single illustration. Being told not to read American comics pretty much guaranteed that you would try to do so. I found only one outlet that sold them, a seedy little newsagent's run by a guy with a foreign accent. Stock was limited to the basics -- Superman, Batman, Gene Autry. I tried it and found it dull. Bop! and pow! were poor substitutes for the real thing, the constant violence and stage villains became a bore, and a child doen't notice the finer points of technique. By the end of the 50s the prose teen magazines had become graphic comics, and American-style comics were introduced.

Edited: Yesterday, 3:41pm Top

Pre-WWII in Europe "American comics" meant first of all Disney (Mickey Mouse above all), but also Alex Raymond (Flash Gordon), Lee Falk (Mandrake, The Phantom) and so on. They were tremendously popular and demonstrably influenced the local talent everywhere.

As a teenager in the eighties I could still partake of the rich comics culture in Europe, notably the francophone and Italian production (ETA: and Spanish-language, another great tradition). In my subjective assessment, American superhero genre figured in a relatively minor role for us, especially in print media. I'm sure Donald Duck easily outsold any of the superheroes (the Italian DD franchise in particular is legendary). Partly it was probably due to the format--meagre American "skinnies" overloaded with ads never really took hold in Europe.

For the later generations, I suppose the influence of Hollywood and the wave of superhero movies changed things crucially. At least as far as awareness goes. It's become very rare that I meet a young person interested in comics--and then, it's usually only manga they read. (Not saying this is bad, just an observation.)

Yesterday, 9:11pm Top

Just a couple of things to add.

Walter Simonson's "THOR" run is an incredible, fully fleshed out "novel" in comic book form that combines Norse mythology, high fantasy, science fiction, and just good old fashioned superheroics.

That beings said...

Little Lulu, as written by John Stanley, rules all.


Today, 1:08am Top

>96 betaraybill: I will second the recommendation for Walter Simonson's Thor comics, and they have been released in a graphic novel format, handy for people like me who don't collect comics or have suitable storage for individual comics.

Today, 9:16am Top

The Spiegelman controversy even made it in a german newspaper: https://taz.de/Marvel-vs-Art-Spiegelman/!5619448/ The don't mention FS, but the publication title. I get FS marvel advertisments on the website though. They seem to advertise this book quite aggressively.

Today, 11:06am Top

As there can't be a ying without a yang, this needs a matching DC collection at some point. The Taschen ones were made for the two publishers.

Having said that, this change in strategy from FS is obviously an attempt to improve their revenue mix. It main run against the original ethos of the publisher, but as they are struggling...

Also, if they are going to start with graphic novels, well, there are far more literary ones than the original pulps. Watchmen, Persepolis and the forementioned Maus come to mind.

Today, 6:43pm Top

Those who are fans of comics can't understand why others may not rate them particularly (at all!) compared to reading pure words, whilst those on the other side of the fence can't understand what on earth comic/graphic novel fans see in them. Nothing new there then.

Gross generalisation, I'm sure!

Group: Folio Society devotees

1,757 members

131,060 messages


This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 137,391,452 books! | Top bar: Always visible