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Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

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Magik84
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Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

Post by Magik84 » 26 Dec 2012, 14:05

I just got this for Christmas and I'm finding it a really interesting read, I'm already nearly halfway through. I'd say people who likes the secrets behind the x-men articles on this site would enjoy it. Anyone else read it?

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sixhoursoflucy
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Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

Post by sixhoursoflucy » 26 Dec 2012, 14:12

No, but Brian Perrillo from the Uncanny X-Cast talked about it on a recent episode, and what he had to say about it really made me want to read it. I should've wishlisted this too. 

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Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

Post by Lorr » 03 Jan 2013, 18:27

I just picked this up after hearing the x-cast guys and the ifanboy guys gush over it. Havnt read it yet, but I love me some behind the scenes scandals!

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Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

Post by Flapflop » 02 Feb 2013, 09:44

Just finished this book and it was an terriffic ride!

It showes that behind the scenes of the comics there is as much drama, betrayal and exitement as in the comics.



For the past 70+ years (book starts in the 30's and goes till 2012) Writers, pencilers, editors and owners at Marvel were as much at war (or sometimes in love) with each other as the hero's and villains the brought us in the comics.

The book is full of anecdotes of how live was at the Bullpen (the name they gave to the office of Marvel). At the same time you also get a lot of inside information behind the creation of almost all Marvel characters and a lot of storylines.

Its also a cold shower: a lot of what happened or created was giving in by pure greed and jealousy, not always artistic, because they are fans themselves or want to please the readers. A lot happened that changed the comics, not always in a good way.

But that its I think also part of the succes. The constant struggle, also between each other, to be the best and to earn more. The other key ingrediënt for Marvels succes: everyone started young (Stan Lee was 14 or so) so were their own audience. And they stayed long too, became friends, even family. Downside was some became to much rusted or friends wich wasn't always good to sales and others became archenemies to eachother.



One thing you should know to, is that this is the story of the whole Marvel line, not just X-men. X-men come bye frequently, but not on all pages.

To bad its also not illustrated, photo's of the writers, editors, pencillers etc. would have been nice.

Overall this is a good, interesting, thrilling read. You will never (re)read the comics without knowing what (could have) happening/ed behind the scenes.



I give this book 4 out of 5 stars

Flapflop2013-02-02 09:48:58

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Re: Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

Post by Polarity » 26 Feb 2014, 00:37

Oh I just recently finished this and I loved it.

Unfortunately it glosses over the past 10 years or so, probably because most everyone still works at Marvel, but it really gives you a pretty great insight of the company and people behind it. Also it contains about as much Howard the Duck as it does the X-men, but it seems rather evident that the author was clearly a fan of Steve Gerber.

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Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

Post by sixhoursoflucy » 11 Sep 2015, 17:14

[EDIT: I didn't realize this book already had a thread, so I merged the two of them. That will explain why the following post sounds like it's the start of a new topic.]

Has anyone else read Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe? I'm currently tearing through this thing and loving every page. The book is basically a history of Marvel Comics going all the way back to its inception in the Golden Age, and is rife with interviews from creators, managers and publishers at every level. There are countless interesting tidbits of information in here, and the perspective it provides into the editorial processes behind these old stories is making me look at all of them in a new light.

What the book is making me realize more than anything is how much of Marvel's stories have been driven by in-fighting, editorial bickering, merchandise deals and attempts to secure the rights to certain characters. For instance, if you've ever wondered why the original Human Torch was resurrected from the Golden Age in Fantastic Four Annual #4, only to be killed off in that same issue, or why She-Hulk's origin story feels so sloppy, or why some of Steve Englehart's and Jim Starlin's stories in the 70's were so trippy, this book will tell you. Reading all of this really goes to show that stuff like the recent "Wanda and Pietro no longer being mutants" retcon is pretty par for course as far as Marvel's history goes.

Anyway, even though I haven't finished the book yet, I highly recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in Marvel Comics (this goes for all of you, obviously). I'm finding it more entertaining to read than any book Marvel is currently publishing.
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Re: Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

Post by medium13 » 11 Sep 2015, 18:39

Sounds like an interesting read. How do you think it would read for comic fans who are mostly just familiar with "X"-stories?

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Re: Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

Post by sixhoursoflucy » 11 Sep 2015, 19:40

Really well. The writing is fantastic and does a good job making you care about things you otherwise might've found uninteresting. For instance, I've never much been interested in the Golden Age stuff, but when it's presented in this book it's just as engaging as the stuff I like. And there is enough X-related backstory to warrant a read by people who only stick to the mutant titles. By chronicling how much turnover and editorial interference there was on most of Marvel's other titles, the book actually highlights what an anomaly the X-books were editorial-wise during Claremont's sixteen-year run. I know we raise a stink sometimes about some of the Phoenix-related editorial mandates, but overall, the editors seemed to have ignored the book and let its writer do his own thing, for the most part.
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Re: Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

Post by Majestic » 11 Sep 2015, 19:43

medium13 wrote:Sounds like an interesting read. How do you think it would read for comic fans who are mostly just familiar with "X"-stories?
Extremely well. Honestly, no previous knowledge of any story, X or otherwise, is mandatory. It's just a good read if you're interested in creativity-as-big-business.

My one disappointment was that Howe seems to lose interest after covering the artists taking over in the early '90s. Coverage of 2000 and onward seems tossed off compared to the care the book dedicates to prior decades. Still, great book.
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Re: Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

Post by Cable » 11 Sep 2015, 21:58

I loved this book but I wished there was more X-related stuff. Still you get some important stories like when editorial finally forced Claremont off of Uncanny.
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Re: Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

Post by sixhoursoflucy » 11 Sep 2015, 23:14

Oops, I didn't realize there was already a topic about this book, so I merged the two threads. My bad!
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Re: Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

Post by AntiBody » 12 Sep 2015, 00:11

Sounds awesome, I'd love to check it out!
sixhoursoflucy wrote:Reading all of this really goes to show that stuff like the recent "Wanda and Pietro no longer being mutants" retcon is pretty par for course as far as Marvel's history goes.
Might also explain Marvel's seemingly blasé attitude whenever they get asked questions about this and similar topics at length.
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Re: Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

Post by EvilMonkeyPope » 12 Sep 2015, 08:23

I've heard that it implies reading Rob Liefeld's Captain America #1 gave Mark Gruenwald a fatal heart attack. http://overduepanels.blogspot.com/2012/ ... erals.html

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Re: Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

Post by Nu-D » 15 Sep 2015, 18:32

Cable wrote:I loved this book but I wished there was more X-related stuff. Still you get some important stories like when editorial finally forced Claremont off of Uncanny.
Do tell. Any different than what we read about it at UXN.net?

(That's probably my favorite page on all UXN, but I think the paragraph at the end about Harness and Piecemeal in "Kings of Pain" is kind of weirdly tacked on).

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Re: Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

Post by sixhoursoflucy » 15 Sep 2015, 19:03

EvilMonkeyPope wrote:I've heard that it implies reading Rob Liefeld's Captain America #1 gave Mark Gruenwald a fatal heart attack. http://overduepanels.blogspot.com/2012/ ... erals.html
It does indeed heavily imply that.
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Re: Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

Post by sixhoursoflucy » 16 Sep 2015, 06:02

Nu-D wrote:
Cable wrote:I loved this book but I wished there was more X-related stuff. Still you get some important stories like when editorial finally forced Claremont off of Uncanny.
Do tell. Any different than what we read about it at UXN.net?
Yes. It covers some of the same stuff, but adds other perspectives and details. It basically came down to Bob Harras hating what Chris was doing with the book and agreeing with the direction Portacio and Lee wanted to take it. They planned a sneaky little coup behind his back and reduced him to the role of a mere scripter without him having any say in the matter.

Overall, the book does provide a lot of insight that isn't found in either the Secrets Behind the X-Men articles on this site or in Comic Creators on the X-Men. While the book isn't X-Men specific, there is enough content in there specifically related to the X-Men to interest X-fans. Regardless, as others in this thread have said, the book is interesting enough on its own merits to warrant a read even if all you care about is the X-Men—or don't care about the X-Men at all. It's great.

I just finished it last night and while I do agree that it rushes through the 2000's, I don't know if an exhaustive history of such a recent time period would have been very illuminating, as most current comics readers are generally familiar with the behind-the-scenes events of that era. I admit that's a weak defense, though. Still, it does provide a decent bit of insight.

After finishing the book, I'm somewhat surprised the X-Men managed to continue getting published during the late 90's at all. That sounded like such an awful, rocky time for Marvel that I'm shocked anything made it through intact.
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