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(Marvels #1)

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  27,622 ratings  ·  703 reviews
Welcome to New York. Here, burning figures roam the streets, men in brightly colored costumes scale the glass and concrete walls, and creatures from space threaten to devour our world. This is the Marvel Universe, where the ordinary and fantastic interact daily. This is the world of Marvels.

Witness the birth of this fantastic universe from the inside. See the world's great
Paperback, 216 pages
Published January 10th 2007 by Marvel Comics (first published 1993)
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 ·  27,622 ratings  ·  703 reviews

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Marvelous reading!!!

This TPB edition collects “Marvels” #0-4, plus commentary section by the involved people even an introduction by Stan Lee, also an artwork section.

Creative Team:

Writer: Kurt Busiek

Illustrator: Alex Ross


Maybe you have seen material mentioning the 75 years of Marvel, and technically that’s true, but it’s a fact that the company was called “Timely Comics”, and while it’s the same company, it’s obvious that in the 40’s, they were
Dan Schwent
Aug 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012, comics, cool-covers
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
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
David Schaafsma
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I just read Ed Brubaker's Marvels Project and liked that a bit better, but it may just be a matter of taste. I like Brubaker's and Steve Epting's earthier noir approach versus the glossier, more dramatic work of Busier and Ross. But I gave both 4 stars. They both take a kind of unique wide angle, meta and historical approach to the history and purpose of comics; both are approaches to the inception of the Golden Age of superheroes in the late thirties, as WWII loomed (for the US). We see the lov ...more
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars

I think I get what Marvel was aiming for with Marvels, and I've been a fan of their legendary roster of 'super'-characters for nearly 40 years, but this book was . . . dull. Said characters aren't even the stars of this storyline - they're strictly limited to 'featured' status, noticeably detached in a sense.

The plot focuses on a fictional New York City photojournalist (the second time I've used that job title in a review today - how odd) from 'The Greatest Generation' who specializes i
Jonathan Terrington

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
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: marvel, comics
A very bland book story-wise that is only saved by Alex Ross and his beautiful painted artwork.

It's basically a condensed history of the Marvel universe shown from the perspective of the regular people. As a result, we don't really see any of the superheroes doing anything heroic, and the regular folks' perspective doesn't bring anything interesting to the table by itself. If anything, it makes it even more obvious how arbitrarily and illogically hate is distributed among the superheroes in the
Jesse A
Jul 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
It took me a bit to warm up to this one but by the end I had come around. Obviously great art and a very good story. I know they shared the artist but I felt like this had a Marvel's version of Kingdom Come feel (though I know this came first so maybe Kingdom Come was DC's version of this).
Nicolo Yu
Nov 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
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
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.
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the spoiler free review of Marvels, if you would like to read the spoiler full review and see all of the amazing art please visit

Marvels is the beginning of the Marvel universe from the perspective of a New York reporter named Phil. It begins in 1940 as a scientist reveals his newest invention, the Human Torch.

From there the world quickly experiences a surplus of superpowered superbeings. Some, like Captain America, are instantly beloved. And some
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a brilliant storytelling and fantastic art! This was my first read of the origins of the Human Torch and I'm totally digging it.

"The golden age of miracles would begin, and in the years to come, the world would know the presence of the unnatural and extraordinary as part of reality""

"Marvels" is a book completely from the perspective of New Yorkers who had been mute spectators ever since Avengers and X-Men, whom they collectively call Marvels, were building and breaking stuffs. It documents
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I had no real preconceptions going into this, so this knocked me out of my chair and into the milky pools of Alex Ross's paint. Man that was good. One of the most unique and, what's the word, atypical superhero comics probably ever written, by one Kurt Busiek. It strikes me as Watchmenesque in its examination of heroes and villains and their moral ambiguity, particularly in relation to civilians. There's a lot of action considering it only happens if Phil Sheldon is there snapping photographs, l
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Why doesn't Marvel write more stories like this and less let's-make-a-TV/movie stuff? Honestly, this was one of the best written Marvel Comic I've read in a lot time. The superheroes where in this, but they weren't the main characters. This is told by a everyman who has a normal life, but lives in a world of Marvel. Alex Ross's art helps a lot with this too.

My only issue with this is they freak out over mutants and aliens, but they never go into the fact Thor is fighting with the Avengers. Reali
Sep 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
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
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
A good read! So we have witnessed the birth of The Marvel Cinematic universe, from iron man 1 to Ant-man and still more to come, but what if these weren't movies, what if they were real, what if we really had super heroes protecting us? That what this book is, the birth of the marvel universe from the perspective of ordinary citizens! The concept was pretty interesting, as it realistically looks at how the world would react to heroes, in the 40s and 50s, they would be seen as icons, but soon aft ...more
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
Wauw, probably the best take on the Marvel heroes I've read so far ... from a completely different perspective, that's what makes it special .. and then the characterbuilding, that's what makes it amazing .. And then to top it off with such an amazing artwork .. Well, I must say: this was a stunning piece of artwork !
May 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
Phil Sheldon is a freelance newspaper photographer whose close-ups of New York's favorite superheroes often cover the Daily Bugle's front page. Through the lenses of his career the reader can experience what it's like to live as an ordinary man in a world of superhumans. Starting off with the rise of the Human Torch, the Avengers assembling, the wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm, the break-out of the mutants all the way to the death of Gwen Stacy.
Phil isn't always the biggest fan of the Mar
Rory Wilding
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ever since Alan Moore’s 1982 dark, post-modern deconstructionist series of Miracleman – formerly known as Marvelman – he introduced the concept of how superheroes could exist and behave in “the real world”. However, being Alan Moore, his approach to superheroes has mostly been dark and cynical, though brilliant nonetheless. In the case of the four-issue comic Marvels from Astro City writer Kurt Busiek and legendary painter Alex Ross, this is an optimistic view of how our world interacts with our ...more
Aug 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
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
Timothy Boyd
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very different view of the world of supers. Marvel takes the common man's view of what the world looks like and how it changes with the arrival of superheroes. Great storyline and exceptional art. Very recommended
Nana Spark
Mar 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: People who like cardboard POV characters
Recommended to Nana by: Hoopla
DNF @ ~50 pages

Vintage Marvel? Hell yeah! Reading it through the eyes of a boring nobody? Hell. No.

They really chose the worst possible POV character to follow along with. The art is GORGEOUS, but I quickly found myself skimming the text bubbles.
Mar 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, superheroes
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
Jedi JC Daquis
Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Marvels is by far the best Marvel work I have ever read. It tells the birth of an amazing universe through the eyes of a normal person, a cameraman journalist named Phil Sheldon.

You'd be surprised on how realistic and grounded the story is under a world where superhumans and mutants exist. Kurt Busiek has done a mesmerizing job on carefully placing human emotions - awe, fear, ignorance and hatred effectively across the progression of the story. This is a graphic novel where great feats and epic
3.5 stars

This was different from what I expected, but I found it interesting enough. The art was outstanding and the premise was cool. It was fascinating to read from the POV of just an ordinary citizen and have their take on living in a world of superheroes.

However, I just found that not a whole lot happens. Even though it was still enjoyable and kept me engaged enough to read until the end, I expected..... more.

But yeah. Fanatisc art, okay writing, and that's all I really have to say.
Vinton Bayne
Nov 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Re-reading for the Excelsior podcast.
This book really holds up! I hadn't read it in over twenty years, but I still love it so much.
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
A kind of homage to the golden era of superheroes. The art by Ross is sublime..just woah at times.
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: every-book-i-own
This was a fun read . it was the first marvel comic book i read and i really enjoyed it . it basically tells a general story of the most popular marvel super heroes .
Amal El-Mohtar
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
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
Callie *Fights Censorship*
Oct 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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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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;

Other books in the series

Marvels (2 books)
  • Marvels: Eye of the Camera

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