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75 Years of Marvel Comics. From the Golden Age to the Silver Screen

Hardcover with fold-out, ribbon bookmark, and four-foot accordion-fold timeline, 11.4 x 15.6 in., 712 pages, in cardboard box with handle
US$ 200
A Hulk-sized tome spanning eight decades of the heroic rise of Marvel as it magically mutated from 1939’s four-color upstart to a 1960s pop-culture dynamo to current Hollywood heavy hitter. With essays by comics historian Roy Thomas and a huge fold-out timeline that chronicles the entire Marvel history

A mighty history

Building the House of Ideas
From the very first issue of pulp impresario Martin Goodman’s Marvel Comics in 1939, the comic book creators of Marvel’s Golden Age flipped the traditional fantasy script by placing the inhuman and the invincible into the real world. With the likes of the fiery android Human Torch, vengeful sea prince Sub-Mariner, and pip-squeak-turned-paragon Captain America, Marvel created a mythological universe grounded in a world that readers recognize as close to their own, brimming with humor and heartache.

In the early 1960s, this audacious approach launched the creation of heroes who have since become household names—Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, the Avengers, Thor, the X-Men—the list goes on. Fans still celebrate it as the Marvel Age of comics, an era populated by a pantheon of bickering heroes, misunderstood monsters, and noble villains.

In celebration of Marvel’s 75th anniversary, TASCHEN presents a magnum opus of the most influential comic book publisher today, with an inside look not only at its celebrated characters, but also at the "bullpen" of architects whose names are almost as familiar as the protagonists they brought to life—Stan “the Man” Lee, Jack “King” Kirby, along with a roster of greats like Steve Ditko, John Romita, John Buscema, Marie Severin, and countless others. With essays by comics historian and former Marvel editor-in-chief Roy Thomas, this book delves into the heart of thousands of costumed characters who continue to fight the good fight in comics, movies, and toy aisles of the world.

The XL-format book includes:

More than 700 pages of near 2,000 images including vintage comic books, one-of-a-kind original art, behind-the-scenes photographs and film stills, as well as rare toys and collectibles
A four-foot accordion-fold timeline
Biographies of more than 300 artists, writers, editors, and famous fans who helped shape Marvel's history

Click here to download the index

© 2020 MARVEL
The author

Since 1965, Roy Thomas has been writing for movies, television, and especially comic books. With notable runs on Avengers, Uncanny X-Men, Conan the Barbarian, The Incredible Hulk, and Star Wars, he served as a Marvel editor from 1965–80 and editor-in-chief from 1972–74. He currently edits the comics-history magazine Alter Ego and writes two online Tarzan strips as well as the occasional comic book. He and his wife Dann live in South Carolina.

The editor and art director

Graphic designer Josh Baker has been editing and designing books for TASCHEN since 2005. His collaborations include signed limited editions by David Bowie, Naomi Campbell, Dennis Hopper, Norman Mailer, and Tom Wolfe, as well as best-selling pop culture titles such as Matthew Weiner. Mad Men, and the Eisner Award-winning 75 Years of DC Comics.

75 Years of Marvel Comics. From the Golden Age to the Silver Screen
Hardcover with fold-out, ribbon bookmark, and four-foot accordion-fold timeline, 11.4 x 15.6 in., 712 pages, in cardboard box with handle
1. There have been hundreds of books on Marvel. How is this one different?
For starters, it’s big—really big! It also celebrates the whole scope of Marvel’s achievements. Other recent books focus on the creators or characters, specific story arcs or eras. Our TASCHEN book walks the tightrope in between all these elements, combining comics, original art, photographs, and other pop culture artifacts with their stories to convey a sense of how something that started as a fun, exciting diversion for schoolchildren could evolve into one of the main pillars of the entertainment industry as we know it today.

2. What sets Marvel apart from other comics publishers?
Marvel from the start combined awesome artistic skill with a powerful mix of relevant, comparatively realistic storytelling. The inventive layering of stories to create a larger narrative that kids (and later teens and adults) could relate to became known as the Marvel Universe—which has since been called the largest and most complex effort of serial fiction ever attempted.

3. Tell us about the author…
We are so fortunate to have Roy Thomas, the authority on Marvel, to tell this story. As the first one in the door after Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko laid down the foundations, he was truly instrumental in helping the comics to grow up alongside their readers—and he knows all the stories behind the stories, to boot!

4. What—or who—are the book's highlights?
Bill Everett, Carl Burgos, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby laid the groundwork (along with Stan Lee) in the “Golden Age” of the 1940s. Featured modern masters include Barry Windsor-Smith, Jim Starlin, Frank Miller, John Byrne, Arthur Adams, and many more. But the bulk of the book showcases the explosion of creativity during the 1960s—the “Marvel Age of Comics”. In less than ten years, a tiny “bullpen” of artists and writers—Lee, Kirby, Ditko, Gene Colan, John Romita, Don Heck, Dick Ayers, along with Roy Thomas, John Buscema, Jim Steranko, among others—produced hundreds of dazzling new characters, from the Fantastic Four to Spider-Man, Hulk and Thor to the Silver Surfer. How so few people could have such a profound influence on popular culture in such a short time is without doubt the most mind-blowing Marvel tale.

5. In making the book, did you discover anything you weren’t expecting?
Absolutely. The rarely explored “Atlas era” of the 1950s was a huge surprise. Yes, it’s horror and sci-fi, westerns and romance—very few super hero comic books were done in the ’50s. But the art is top-notch, illustrating a developing mastery of storytelling across all the genres of fiction—and much of it done under the strict, watchful eye of the newly implemented Comics Code Authority. This mostly-forgotten era was not just a training ground for the best artists to get even better and faster, it planted the seeds for Stan Lee to reinvent the medium for all time. Marvel has stood at the pinnacle in all the years since.