Thursday, 27 November 2014

Celebrating 75 years of Marvel with a thud!

As mentioned in previous posts I was chuffed to be asked to contribute something towards Taschen's latest table-hogging XXL deluxe book: 75 Years of Marvel. The super-sized cover to Captain Britain #1 from 1976, and a smaller reproduction of The Mighty World of Marvel #1 from 1972, that appears in its pages come from my personal collection.

Admittedly, I was expecting to be asked to supply something more unusual as well, but I'm more than happy that the UK side of things has a presence within the book as well as in Roy Thomas' essay, unlike in earlier works such as the otherwise very enjoyable Les Daniels' book from some years' back now, which only seemed to mention Captain Britain due to his Excalibur connections. I was also pleased to see that a few of the UK-specific suggestions for the timeline (put together in a hurry at the last moment) have also been included in the multiple sheet fold-out timeline tucked into the back of the book - you'll probably guess which they were :)

All the double page chapter pages are printed using a metallic film process!

It's now shipping and retailing online around the £87 mark, it carries a full rrp of £135.

Meanwhile, for any US readers, it's just been announced there is to be a special signing on 5th December at: 354 North Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, California CA 90210. Taschen are stressing that Stan and Roy will only be signing that book!

In the meantime, work on From Cents... to Pence! has resumed, with a third of the 33 chapters now ready for final proofing... even with new discoveries still coming to light all the time!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

When one Bullpen simply wasn't enough...

As you've seen below, Taschen are set to launch a celebration in print of 75 years of the America-born Marvel Comics company this October.

However, over on this side of the 'big pond', October also holds great significance for fans of their UK comics. It was on the very last day of September 1972 that the first (October 7th dated) edition of The Mighty World of Marvel came into being, and it's still with us today, albeit in its umpteenth volume through current keepers of the flame Panini, having just been re-launched again last week to tie-in with the up-coming Guardians of the Galaxy movie in August.

In launching a UK division, Marvel effectively ended up with three Bullpens out of their original US one. When Sol Brodsky was enticed back to Marvel by Stan after he'd left to form Skywald to manage a new Special projects division incorporating the UK comics line, that necessitated the creation of a new Bullpen-within-a-Bullpen to manage the new comics and produce new cover and poster artwork, but their London office then also developed a small Bullpen over time to handle final production work, such as editorial pages, adverts, competitions and promotions.

Whereas we previously knew very little about the interaction between New York and London - and there was a lot - I'm pleased to say that various leads have blown the whole story wide open, and its wilder than you've probably ever imagined. If thought the early years of British Marvel were all about reprints and more reprints until the release of Captain Britain in 1977, well, you might need to sit down! There's more than a few shocks in store...

So yes, work on From Cents... to Pence! (one mock-up front cover shown herein) is nearing resolution at last, and I hope to be in a position to release the first tranche of completed chapters to the editor within the next month or so. At 33 chapters and counting, and clocking in over 250,000 words, because the writing and research of this isn't my day job, this has not been a quick task, but ensuring accuracy (as far as possible) and consistency (easy to lose when working on something piecemeal) will make it all worth it in the end... or so I keep telling myself.

More news soon, I hope.

Marvel gets the Taschen treatment!

Taschen have just announced 75 Years of Marvel: From the Golden Age to the Silver Screen.

This large format, 720 page coffee table hogging work will be released in October, and joins previous volumes on DC Comics, such as 75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking and its smaller companion volume The Golden Age of DC Comics.

Containing over 2000 images corralled by editor and art director John Baker (including a handful of UK images that I was kindly approached to provide) this mighty XL format tome also more than 300 individual biographies and is appropriately authored by Roy Thomas with input from various fans and collectors.

The book also features what is described as "a four-foot accordion-fold timeline, suitable for framing" - the mind boggles!!

Could make a very suitable birthday present for someone, perhaps... if you have $200 to spare, at any rate ;-)