Roy Thomas and Peter Sanderson, The Marvel Vault.
(Running Press, 2007) 192pp. $79.95
FORMER MARVEL and DC Comics writer Peter Gillis has written on his blog: “Superheroes embody our myths and our self-images, or they fail. And therefore, for maximum effect, they should be us. The superhero strip is basically like opera: there’s a contradiction built in to the form itself.” There are certainly a lot of comic top C’s in The Marvel Vault, a superb new history of Marvel Comics. Subtitled A Museum-in-a-Book, it includes an eclectic package of memorabilia, defined “in the broadest possible
definition of that word”.
Former Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Roy Thomas and comic book historian Peter Sanderson.trace Marvel’s history decade by decade. Thomas provides the commentary up to the mid-1970s, after which it is continued to 2006 by Sanderson. Their text covers such issues as the first appearance of Captain America, the attack on comic books in the US in the 1950s, Spider-Man’s first appearance in 1962, the comic book collapse of the 1990s and the impact on comic books of 9/11. A short appendix reviews
recent Marvel movies such as The Fantastic Four and X-Men.
While Superman appeared in DC’s Action Comics in early 1938, Marvel Comics followed soon after in 1939. Two characters, The Human Torch and The Sub-Mariner, became firm favourites from that first issue. The original sketches by Bill Everett for The Sub-Mariner are authentically reproduced, as indeed are many other key Marvel documents, such as Stan Lee’s Fantastic Four synopsis and Spider-Man’s Wedding Invitation, all in separate plastic sleeves in a large spiral bound hardback book. A great collectable for Marvel fans.