Thwip!’s Retro Tuesday – Marvels

Tuesday means that Thwip! goes “retro” and talks about collections/storylines that we think were awesome (and still are) – today we talk about Marvels.

I wrote in an earlier review that Marvel doesn’t have much of a sense of legacy, which is true, but it does have a sense of generations/history.

That’s what Marvels is all about, chronicling the history of the Marvel universe as seen through the eyes of The Daily Bugle photographer…Phil Sheldon. The story is about how he is a witness to the various big events that have occurred in Marvel’s New York City (which is a lot), from the birth of the first Marvel hero the Human Torch (this is way before Johnny Storm…also this Torch was actually an android) all the way to the death of Gwen Stacy.

The charm of this story is actually Phil Sheldon, whose reactions about the world around him (anxiety about World War II, the Cold War, Galactus, evil supervillains in general) help to establish the general feelings that the rest of the Marvel universe had during those events, humanizing a universe that otherwise might feel a bit too disconnected from our own reality.

Then we have Alex Ross’s art, which is sublime considering that it allows him to portray his favorite versions of these characters (mostly), that is during their Silver Age era. Being more of a book of photography, each moment is beautifully framed as if they were actual Pulitzer prize winning photos, selling the idea that Sheldon is the best man to help guide us faithful readers through the ins and outs of the Marvel Universe.

A great look at some of the key historical points of Marvel’s New City, Marvels, is all about glorifying history, even if Sheldon himself feels a bit apprehensive at the end of it all.


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