Good day, comic-fans!
Here at The 4th Wall, we like to review anything new and exciting that catches our eyes. But our interest doesn’t stop there, no sir! We can recommend any of the classics to you in a heartbeat. Following in that sentiment, I’d like to review something of a classic for you good people. A simple opinion on one of the great works in the industry we know and love.
Recently, I found myself having the opportunity to read Marvels. It’s a book consisting of five parts that follows the career of a photographer in New York City. The reader follows him from the start of his career until the very end. This doesn’t sound like much at first but would it liven it up for you if I mentioned he takes pictures of superheroes? That he was friends with a young J. Jonah Jameson? That he was a witness to almost every significant Marvel moment that ever happened in New York? I had a feeling that last one would get you. Marvels is a Marvel book (I wonder if anyone ever thought for just a second that it might be a DC book) written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by Alex Ross.
From the perspective of a comic book fan, and someone who wishes to write for a living in the future, it’s a great read. Already the talent of Alex Ross is enough to have me praising this book for years to come, but what was generally unexpected for me was how well written the book is. I wasn’t familiar with Busiek’s work prior to this book and honestly it’s one of the most well written books I’ve ever read. The choice to write this book from the perspective of someone outside the superhero community is ultimately what makes this book shine in my eyes (this is a theme that Ross seems to like being around, as Kingdom Come, another favourite of mine, has a similar tone to it). We’ve all read the stories about Spider-man and Captain America from their own perspectives, but what about everyone else? The every-day man on the street? The book follows the photographer through some of the most interesting moments in comic book history like the first arrival of Galactus, the first appearance of Namor and the Human Torch (the WWII one who was a robot, not Johnny Storm), and even Reed Richards and Sue Storms’ wedding (with cameo appearances from the Beatles! I’m not even kidding!). I think one of the best moments is his first encounter with the X-Men and how society reacts to that. The writing is interesting and thought provoking and altogether fascinating. Couple that with always amazing and gorgeous art and you’ve got yourself a winner.
This is a book I would recommend to anyone, whether they’ve read comic books or not. It gives insight into the minds of the everyday citizen and it helps us understand a society that has superheroes and needs to deal with destruction and chaos on a day to day basis, a lifestyle most of us are unaccustomed to. It’s nice to step away from a book that isn’t entirely about super heroic exploits but rather the human moments surrounding them.
That’s all from me this week folks, come by and pick up Marvels if you’re interested. I can assure you it won’t leave you disappointed.