Saturday, December 21, 2013

Book review: Young Marvelman Classic Volume 1

This was not a book I was thinking I'd read. Sure, I bought it off Amazon, but I had tried to buy MARVELMAN CLASSICS vol. 1, and got sent this instead. Well, at least it's still Mick Anglo's take on the Marvel Family, post-DC copyright lawsuit win. (By the way, the seller, FunFoodandFashion on Amazon, made everything right, and will be getting my return business.)

The art and the stories in this hardcover are actually pretty good. The British comic book always seemed a tad different than their US counterpart to me. I'm thinking because they always seemed to come out every week rather than every month like we're used to - they always seemed a little hurried. Up until the sixties, they had a definite golden age minimalism about them. If you're looking at the cover and expecting that kind of artwork on the inside, I'd go buy some Rob Liefeld if I were you. Always better to be disappointed by something you know is gonna suck beforehand.

The stories in this book are no hokier than C.C. Beck's Captain Marvel tales were: Simple, straight-forward, a lot of action, and a bit of pleasant goofiness. One thing I found odd is that the stories appear to be set in a vaguely US city rather than a British one. Maybe Mick Anglo was using ideas that were in the final Marvel Family stories and kept that aspect? I don't know, and I suppose it doesn't really matter. They're solid comic book stories.

I think of the three artists in represented in this book, George Parlett has the style I like best - very stark, with fine detail. It reminds me of the comic book art in the A-Ha video "Take on Me" for some reason. The other two artists, James Bleach and Frank Daniels, aren't quite as refined, but all are very enjoyable to look at.

This book is ALL black and white on newsprint stock, with the exception of a full color section at the end that features the original covers on glossy paper. If you like comic books in general, I don't think that's going to bother you too much, if it wasn't for the price tag. I wouldn't pay the $35 cover price for these though; there are plenty on Amazon and eBay for considerably less.

This was an unexpected jaunt into an area of comic books I'm a little unfamiliar with, so I'll have to say I enjoyed Young Marvelman Classics Vol. 1. I'll be looking out for inexpensive copies of the rest of the series, and the rest of the Marvelman reprints.

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