Merely six months after the last XXL version of the Marvel Comics Library edition – featuring Spiderman – arrived, Taschen is out to surprise us again.
Again, the first 20 (!) comic books that feature the original team (with some early personnel changes) that hit the newsagents between 1963 and 1965 are back. And they do not arrive without the necessary tumult and action one expects them to bring along.
As with the last XXL edition, again colors and layout are reproduced in flawless quality in cooperation with Certified Guaranty Company, starting with the reprint of The Avengers #1, originally published in September 1963.
So did The Hulk, but as actually nobody could stand his ways he quickly left the team in #2.
Through the first 20 issues assembled here, fans now can witness again – in the original colors – the development of the Avengers. Over the months, Giant-Man (later Goliath, and known formerly as Ant-Man) joined the gang, so did Captain America.
By and by, more founding members left, like Thor and Iron Man, to be replaced with former enemies Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye and Quicksilver.
This edition masterfully recreates the early days of the crew and this was one of the most interesting periods, if we consider that The Avengers – with all their revivals and several sequels – can look back on a comic history spanning more than 400 issues that were based on a mighty “Avengers Assemble!” call in forty years. Little wonder the multi-million movie franchise is probably the most successful in film history.
Authors Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios President, in a foreword and the Eisner Award-winning writer Kurt Busiek in a long essay reflect on the initial team and the many ideas, story arcs and artists who put their energy and inspiration into the development of the Avengers.
This volume, consequently, explodes with original artwork, giant blow-ups, rare photographs and documents, sketches and an exhaustive timeline in the annex. On more than 600 pages, there is room enough for that.
Naturally, without Marvel legends Stan Lee – “I was writing these characters and I thought it would be fun to put them together in a team” – and Jack Kirby, who created and set the superheroes in motion, none of this would have happened. As each superhero character here is the brainchild of those two artists.
And as the Avengers encounter super villains Loki, Immortus, Kang the Conqueror, the Masters of Evil and others, we can watch and lean back, knowing that team work, patriotism and justice will always be victorious, at least in the Marvel universe of the 1960s. And as long as Captain America is on the team (he joined in #4).
Again, as with other volumes of Taschen’s XXL Marvel Comics Library, there are two versions of this heavyweight in English language only.
The most exclusive version is the “Collector’s Edition,” limited to 1,000 copies, which probably will be gone rather early.
These come individually numbered in an aluminum print cover tipped into a leatherette-bound spine, foil embossing with a slipcase. According to Marvel the purchase of one such copy “entitles the collector to preemptively secure the same identical edition number for all forthcoming Collector’s Edition titles in The Marvel Comic Library.”
The only other version is the “Famous First Edition” and comes in 5,000 copies. It is also numbered and the reasonably priced alternative. The Marvel Comics Library will present the equal number of high-quality comic book reprints of the Fantastic Four (Vol. 1. 1961-1963) and Captain America, scheduled for 2022 and 2023.
Again a masterpiece and most collectible item for comic fans. Highly recommended.
Review by Dr. A. Ebert © 2022
Kurt Busiek and Kevin Feige. Marvel Comics Library. Avengers. Vol. 1. 1963–1965. Taschen, 2022, 11 x 15.6 in., 9.76 lb, 630 p., ISBN 978-383658234
Famous First Edition, 5,000 numbered copies
Kurt Busiek and Kevin Feige. Marvel Comics Library. Avengers. Vol. 1. 1963–1965. Taschen, 2022, 11 x 15.6 in., 15.18 lb, 630 p., leatherette-bound spine, foil embossing, housed in a slipcase, ISBN 978-836591409
Collector’s Edition, 1,000 numbered copies