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Marvel Comics Library

The majority of the comics included in these volumes were photographed from the collection of Bob Bretall. An avid comic book reader and collector, Bretall is the current holder of the Guinness World Record for the largest individual comic book collection. Bretall’s first comic was Amazing Spider-Man No. 88, cover dated July 1970, and every month since then he has bought all of his comics “off the rack,” distinguishing his collection from those of comic book dealers who have added to their collections through bulk buys of new comics or by purchasing other people’s entire collections. With more than 132,000 comics bought brand new or as individual back issues since 1970, Bretall is proud to have read the vast majority of them — though his “to read” pile currently spans eight short boxes! He is a lover of the art of comics and reads and collects comics of every genre, from every publisher: Bretall’s focus is on the stories, characters, and art, not how much money they may be worth. His optimistic philosophy is that there is something to enjoy in (almost) all of them!

Most of the comic books photographed for these volumes were evaluated and graded by the Certified Guaranty Company LLC. When it was founded in 2000, CGC revolutionized the comic book marketplace by providing clear, objective, and impartial assessments of authenticity and grade. Each comic was encased in a CGC state-of-the-art holder, which combines superior optics and advanced archival materials to provide the best in display and preservation. A tamper-evident seal and numerous security features provide an even higher level of confidence. Today CGC is the world’s largest and most trusted third-party grading service for comics, trading cards, magazines, concert posters, and related collectibles.

Rather than recolor the original production artwork (as has been done in previous decades’ reprints of classic comics), TASCHEN has attempted to create an ideal representation of these books as they were produced at the time of publication. Beginning with high grade, top-quality comics sourced with the assistance of the CGC, we made super-high-resolution photographs of each page as printed more than half a century ago, then used modern retouching techniques to correct problems with the era’s inexpensive, imperfect printing. This included improved and balanced ink densities and color matching, proper registration of the fourcolor printing, and correction of thick/thin lines resulting from the flexible plates’ “smudging.” The end result are finished products — as if hot off of a world-class printing press, produced without economic or time-pressure constraints — that we are confident readers, fans, artists, and collectors alike will love.