Books I Read: Marvelman Family's Finest HC

This is a handsome looking book on the outside, with Marko Djurdjevic's art (pictured) printed directly on the cover, but the interior is mostly B&W newsprint with a large color section in the back. I won't go into the complicated history of the character here; you can read about it at Wikipedia or there's a new edition of "Kimota", the definitive book on the subject, coming soon. These are reprints of "creator" Mick Anglo's original stories, not the Alan Moore or Neil Gaiman issues you may have heard about. Frankly they're not very good, even by 1950's comic standards. The stories don't have the wit or charm of the Captain Marvel stories they're supposed to emulate, and the art is nowhere near up to Marvel Family artist C.C. Beck's standards. (Or Kurt Schaffenberger, for that matter.) The stories are pretty generic, and don't reveal anything interesting about the evolution of the characters like Dynamite's Golden Age Green Hornet reprints do. (That doesn't happen until Alan Moore comes along.) I also think it was a mistake to make the "Mary Marvel" character a boy, because then you have three characters that essentially look the same. (At least in B&W, which I'm not sure is how the issues were originally published.)

The color section, with alternate covers featuring takes on the characters by modern artists as well as articles and interviews, is good but most of it is available separately as "Marvelman Classic Primer" which you probably can find online or in back-issue bins.  Sometimes I like to have historical stuff on the shelf, so I'm happy to have this book -- and I view it as an investment in Marvel's future plans for the character -- but with most of the better material available cheap, I can't recommend you spend $34.99 for this volume.

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