Marvel Year by Year. A visual history updated and expanded, by Cefn Ridout (ed.)

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Ed. DK Publishing, 2017. Hard cover with cardboard box. Size 31 x 26 cm. With two exclusive prints original art by Dan Panosian. State: New. 400 pages

By Stan Lee

Believe it or not, there was once a world without Marvel Comics!

Then came that fateful day in 1962 when we gave a grateful human race the first issue of The Fantastic Four. It was so successful that we immediately followed with The Uncanny X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, and The Amazing Spider-Man (You can see, I’m particularly partial to adjectives).

As our sales went through the roof, our success proved to be the death knell of Timely Comics. I decided then and there that we needed a new name to reflect the growing popularity of our expanding Super Hero line.

And so -I dreamed up “Marvel Comics”. I loved that name because it lent itself to slogans and catch-phrases like: “Make Mine Marvel!”, “Marvel Marches On!2, and “Welcome to the Marvel Age of Comics!”.

It seemed that nothing could stop us. Before long we had added such titles as Iron Man, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, Sgt. Fury And His Howling Commandos, later followed by Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD.

We also introduced such off-beat characters as The Silver Surfer, Ant Man, The Inhumans, The Watcher, Galactus, The Punisher -gosh, I could go on and on.

But I must confess that I have a particularly warm spot in my heart for our villains. Charismatic as the heroes may be, their victories over the super-powered bad guys give them their greatest glory. After all, who has not thrilled to the titanic threats of such evil-mongers as Dr. Doom, The Green Goblin, The Abomination, Magneto, The Vulture, Bullseye, The Dread Dormammu, The Super Skrulls, The Mole Man, The Kingpin, The Scorpion, Dragon Man, Kraven the Hunter- and those are just the tip of the Marvel mountain of menace.

Still, even though I dreamt up all the quaintly capricious characters I’ve been telling you about, chances are they’d never have become so successful if not for the incredible contributions of the superbly talented artists with whom I worked.

You see, I merely gave a brief outline of each story to artists like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, to mention just two of our major stars. With outline in hand, they would then draw the actual strip without any further instructions from me. When finished, the illustrated pages would be returned to me and I would add all the dialogue, captions, and occasional sound effects. It was truly a collaborative effort consisting of three elements: 1) My original story. 2) The artist’s illustrated interpretation of that story. 3) The dialogue which fleshed out the story and gave the characters their personality.

Everything we’ve done has been for just one purpose -to guarantee you hours of reading enjoyment. I fervently hope we’ve succeeded.

Excelsior!