The untold story of Marvel Comics

Posted by David Konow

There are many casual superhero fans who like comics and movies, but don’t really know the full-blown history of the comics, or the people who created them.

On the other hand, there are of course fans who know the histories of their favorite characters from DC and Marvel, as well as the histories of how the greatest superheroes came to be.

The last year has been a hell of a time for comics. Marvel’s currently number one in the field, thanks to the success of the Avengers, but DC’s also doing fine with The Dark Knight Rises, and the 2011 reboot of many of their biggest titles, which really gave the company a big shot in the arm.

Recently two books hit stores relating to the kings of the realm, The Boy Who Loved Batman and Superman The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero. Boy was penned by Michael Uslan, who helped bring Batman to the big screen in 1989, and the Superman book, a scholary and well-reviewed history of the man of steel, was written by Larry Tye.

Now there’s another comics history, Marvel Comics The Untold Story, written by Sean Howe, and Amazon says this book is "an unvarnished, unauthorized" history of the comics giant. Early praise for the book has come in from comedian Patton Oswalt, Chuck Klosterman and GQ magazine.

Oswalt called it "a warts-and-all, nail-biting mini-epic…If you thought the fisticuffs were bare and bloody on the four-color page, wait ‘til you hear about what went down in the Marvel bullpen." Klosterman calls it "Exhaustively researched and artfully assembled," and GQ called it "a jittery, hilarious, anecdotal, and exhaustive history of the company…"

It’s a little odd to think of comic histories being in the “warts-and-all" category, but there’s politics and behind the scenes intrigue in all kinds of businesses, no exception with the comics biz. However it all went down, comics are a big part of American history, and if you’re a Marvel fan (who isn’t?), this certainly sounds like a hell of a book.