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Marvels (Marvels Complete)

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  16,992 ratings  ·  310 reviews
"Marvels is a giant leap forward in the evolution of illustrated literature."
—Stan Lee

Within the Marvel Universe, heroes such as Spider-Man swing from rooftop to rooftop, while the Avengers soar high in the skies. These figures, blessed with fantastic superhuman abilities, stand ready to battle the villains who threaten their world. Yet living in the shadow of these extrao
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Hardcover, 10th Anniversary Edition, 398 pages
Published January 1st 2004 by Marvel Comics Group (first published 1994)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kemper
Treasure of the Rubbermaids 17: Marvel At Marvel’s Marvelous ‘Marvels’!

The on-going discoveries of priceless books and comics found in a stack of Rubbermaid containers previously stored and forgotten at my parent’s house and untouched for almost 20 years. Thanks to my father dumping them back on me, I now spend my spare time unearthing lost treasures from their plastic depths.

I would hate to be a New Yorker in the Marvel universe because it seems like the city is constantly being threatened by s
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Dan Schwent
Photographer Phil Sheldon experiences what it's like to live in a world of super heroes, from the rise of the Human Torch in the late thirties all the way to the dawn of the mutants, the first appearance of Galactus, and the death of Gwen Stacy.

When Marvels first hit scene, I was a wee lad of 17. The internet was in its infancy and comic shops were dying by the dozen. As it became easier to come by comics, or "graphic novels" if you're too cool to read comics, I always had a mind to read this bu
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Jonathan

In my view Marvels is one of, if not the greatest, comics released by Marvel Comics. I first encountered it as a twelve year old and have read it several times since. And each time I encounter again what it is that makes Marvels a stand out work in the Marvel universe of comics.

The artwork in Marvels is clearly a stand-out feature. Though Alex Ross is better known for his work in the also grand Kingdom Come I personally prefer his artwork here where he first worked his unique stylistic magic. In
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Sesana
I've read Marvels more times than I can possibly count. Thousands of other people have written glowing reviews so much better than I ever could. Let me just say that I love this book, I always have. The experience of reading it is always magical for me, completely enthralling. And the art, that makes it all feel so real while I'm reading it... This goes very high on my list of all-time favorite comics.
Robert Jazo
When I was a kid, I was a complete Marvel Zombie (i.e., a person who only bought Marvel Comic books and nothing else). I even remember picking up The Killing Joke off of a spinner rack, flipping through it, and putting it back because I just couldn't bring myself to buy a DC book, even though it looked good.

Over the years my tastes have shifted quite a bit. I actually collect very few Marvel comics nowadays. Still, because of my youthful obsession, I am have more nostalgia for Marvel Comics than
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Nicolo Yu
Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross’ Marvels is their love letter to the superheroes of the Golden Age and Silver Age of Marvel Comics. Theirs is a tale that examines the Marvel universe through the eye of an everyman character, Phil Sheldon. Like his fellow unpowered denizens, he and his family have to live through every invasion, super-villain attack and the coming of Galactus fearing that each crisis would bring about the end of their world.

The story brought it acclaim and the theme explored in several
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Sarah
I love, love, love the combination of Busiek and Ross. I had never bothered with this book before because I'm not usually a Marvel girl, and because I thought that it sounded like it covered the same territory as the excellent Astro City Vol. 1: Life in the Big City, just with known characters. Wrong. It looks at the Marvel characters and the Marvel universe through the lens of one photographer/observer, whose opinions change very realistically over time. The other clever conceit is that it look ...more
Gavin
I'm torn on this one...I really wanted to love it. I do admire all the research that went into this one, the referencing of classic Marvel stories and moments, the art, but...
At the end of the book, I was left with a pretty 'oh that's all?' feeling. The art of Alex Ross is always something to behold, but here, I think it took away from things. I wasn't able to connect to a lot, and the main character is actually kind of un-likable. He ditches his fiancée because of the arrival of Sub-Mariner and
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Harry Doble
I've never been a big fan of the superhero. Although I had a fascination with Spider-Man as a child, there was an inherent silliness to costumed heroes with powers fighting bad guys that I soon felt I had outgrown. Of course, these conventions make sense in context and two graphic novels in particular I credit with having swayed me back with their self-referential nature. One is Alan Moore's Watchmen, which as of writing this I am currently reading. The other is Kurt Busiek's Marvels.

Though unfa
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Callie Rose Tyler
I concede, all the hype surrounding this book is well deserved. These stories are re-tellings of historic Marvel events told through the eyes of the average person, specifically a free-lance photographer Phil Sheldon.

The events and timeline are well-researched and the grace with which they are stringed together is seamless. The result is an emotional story with genuine gravitas and impact. Then you add in Alex Ross' amazing artwork and the end product elevates the entire medium.

If you are looki
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Micheala
I am really glad that my boyfriend has gotten me started on reading comic books.
I have pretty much always read manga, and I've always loved super-heroes; but for some reason I never thought to read comics.

It is a bit hard to know where to start in the big world of Marvel. I have to admit, one of the reasons I didn't start reading comics sooner may have been that I was intimidated by how much there was and having no clue where to begin.

I think that Marvels is a great starter comic book because
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Harold
A real treat for fans of classic Marvel comics. This beautifully illustrated graphic novel follows a number of familiar story-lines from the Golden and Silver ages - starting with the creation of the original Human Torch in 1939 and concluding with the death of Gwen Stacy in 1973. But instead of just being a greatest hits compilation, "Marvels" presents these events through the fresh perspective of humble news photographer Phil Sheldon. The realistic, painted artwork and the street-level approac ...more
Chris
I liked Marvels exploration of what the normal folks deal with when superheroes show up to take on the bad guys. There's a whole side of those epic battles that often goes overlooked in most comics - the collateral damage. People get injured or killed, property gets destroyed, and there's just a general sense of fear and powerlessness that's to be expected when things are beyond the average person's control. Marvels captures this well and balances it with the see-saw of awe and reverence for her ...more
Carlos Eguren
La fuerza de Marvels radica en su poder desmitificador. No nos narra las hazañas de los superhéroes, que quedan en otro plano, sino de los secundarios habituales de este tipo de cómics. E irónicamente, no tiene un desenlace precisamente feliz. ¿Cómo no aplaudirlo?

Uno de los aportes más interesantes de la adaptación cinematográfica de Watchmen (Zack Snyder, 2009) es la introducción, con la música de Bob Dylan, donde se cuenta cómo los vigilantes enmascarados cambiaron el universo. Muchos siempre
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Nicholas
If I could have lunch with one author it would have to be Kurt Busiek. Busiek + Ross = Amazingness. Although, reading Marvels kind of got me wondering: is the feeble human living in the world of superhumans schtick the only thing Ross does? Not that I'm complaining, because he does an amazing, amazing job with it, but everything from Astro City, to Superman: Secret Identity, to Marvels shares that common theme. Other commonalities include a full discussion and exploration of human beings' "littl ...more
Amal El-Mohtar
I'm trying to be less stingy with my 5 stars, in order to go by "it was amazing" regardless of how less or more amazing it was than another thing to which I gave a positive review. There just aren't enough star-fractions for the latter system.

So this was amazing. The fully painted art style took some getting used to, but quickly began seeping into my reception of the story after the initial "wait this doesn't look like a comic" reaction. The premise is brilliant: if you've ever watched a superhe
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Sophie
The heroes of the Marvel universe seen through the eyes of a photo journalist. I like the perspective here, because it means the focus is on the oh-so-fickle normal people of that universe, and while one may not share their opinion, this makes it easier to at least get their point. There are snapshots of the big events in Marvel history (not all of which I recognized, of course, but I understood enough). Alex Ross' art works really, really well here, probably better than in any other long storie ...more
De
I try to re-read this at least once a year. Between the vivid paintings of Alex Ross and Kurt Busiek's compelling story of life for a relatively normal person in the midst of the Marvel Universe, it's difficult not to like. This is the first book I give to anyone expressing even the slightest interest in superheroes.
Xavier Guillaume
Oct 16, 2014 Xavier Guillaume rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any and all comic book fans
If there is a quintessential volume of comic book creation that belongs on the shelf of any diehard comic book fan, or even a person new to comic books, it would have to be Marvels.

You probably read from the description that this series was acclaimed by Stan Lee, it won numerous awards, and it transformed the art of comic book storytelling by changing the narration from instead of being about the hero, but being about the average person's perspective on the heroes, distilled in the ordinary phot
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Deepak Mehta
Here's a series that comes once in a decade.

Marvels is an out-of-the-ordinary idea, perfectly thought through and planned and brilliantly executed with a wonderful storyline and Alex Ross' exquisite, hyper-realistic artwork.

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description

The gist of the story is that it is told not from the perspective of the superheroes, but from that of a spectator, an ordinary human being/photographer named Phil Sheldon who witnesses the birth of the first superheroes - from the Human Torch and Namor the subma
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E.W. Storch
I had the original four issues of this limited series when they were first released. Recently, I was talking to my wife about them and that prompted a search on my part for digital copies (my old comic collection long gone). Lucky for me, Marvel had a digital copy of all four issues and I read it as soon as the download finished.

"Marvels" tells the tale of the history of the Marvel comic book universe from 1939, when Namor and the original automaton Human Torch first appeared, to the death of Gw
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BigJohn
Marvels is a wonderful story of living in the Marvel Universe while magnificent and terrifying things happen around you. Told from the perspective of a photojournalist, Marvels tells how it is to live in a world where grand battles and fantastic figures are everyday occurrences. Beautifully painted by Alex Ross, and deftly told by Kurt Busiek with tremendous effort for continuity and preservation of established history, Marvels is a true spectacle of comic art.

The 10th anniversary edition is par
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Craig
This is both a well-told story and a truly beautiful art book. The paintings are at times breath-taking, and always enhance the narrative flow. It's the story of the emergence of the Marvel superheroes from the perspective of a very normal photographer, and it does an excellent job of portraying the viewpoint of the common man as the costumed characters become prevalent. It's a really remarkable volume.
Colin
This one depicts several events in the Marvel universe from the perspective of a regular citizen - events that would be so amazing in our everyday lives as to dominate our memories forever - just some of the regular occurrences in that world of superheros.
Nicholas Kaufmann
I would give this one even more than 5 stars if I could. A glorious illustrated narrative with all the layers and complexity of a rich novel. Busiek writes a stunning tale of what is basically the history of the Marvel universe, from the appearance of the Human Torch and Sub-Mariner in its very earliest days to the death of Gwen Stacy in the 1970s, all from the POV of Phil Sheldon, an average man and newspaper photographer in New York City who's always on the scene. Alex Ross's paintings are gor ...more
David
This is truly a great comic book. Marvels takes the usual superhero book formula and turns it sideways. Where we usually follow the heroes on their journey, Marvels follows a semi-average citizen through life as he witnesses the rise and proliferation of the Marvel superheroes.

I say Paul Sheldon, our main character, is semi-average because he is a photojournalist. This career affords him the opportunity to follow and document the Marvels, while keeping him firmly in the "working stiff" category
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Eduard
Seeing that this was the first comic book I bought as a young man, I was pretty excited to see what the hype is about. And all I was left with was utter dissappointment.

Now, let's set some things straight. I loved the premise of Marvels. But the execution was sub-par. The story is virtually nonexistent and it feels very disjointed and disconnected. And yes, I have appreciated the nods to the history of Marvel super-heroes, but that was not enough to do it for me.

The art was good, I quite enjoyed
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Johara Almogbel
I loved this. And I'm so glad I read it right after Spiderman: Blue, because it tied in quite nicely.

It was very interesting to see all the worlds kind of, I don't know... collide? The Avengers, and the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men, and Spiderman, and all of the others. And it was especially interesting to see it from someone on the ground. Who's a photographer. I probably fangirled over his equipment more than anything else.

You do find the humans annoying throughout the bool, but then they a
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Katie Avagliano
A beautifully crafted comic with rich artwork and a story told through the eyes of a bystander, "Marvels" explains the world of superheroes through the eyes of one who is not so extraordinary. But Muggles, too, have power, and photographer Phil Shelton's is that he sees these Marvels as heroes and doesn't bend to the fickleness of the masses. As all good books do, this story will leave you searching for more, for a happy ending, for all strings to be neatly tied up and explained away. But life u ...more
Mike
I really like superhero stories that are set in a specific historical period, rather than some vaguely defined "present day," so it's no surprise that I thought Marvels was excellent. Alex Roth's art is pretty much perfect, and it's fun to try to spot who he modeled his characters after. His Reed Richards looks to me suspiciously like Russell Johnson, the actor who played the Professor on "Gilligan's Island."

Since The Watchmen, the question "what if superheroes existed in the real world?" has b
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Kurt Busiek is an American comic book writer notable for his work on the Marvels limited series, his own title Astro City, and his four-year run on Avengers.

Busiek did not read comics as a youngster, as his parents disapproved of them. He began to read them regularly around the age of 14, when he picked up a copy of Daredevil #120. This was the first part of a continuity-heavy four-part story arc;
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More about Kurt Busiek...
Astro City, Vol. 1: Life in the Big City Superman: Secret Identity Astro City, Vol. 2: Confession JLA/Avengers Conan, Vol. 1: The Frost Giant's Daughter and Other Stories

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