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August 08, 2009


Al Bigley

I always thought it odd that Marvel's handbook spotlighted the technical aspects of the heroes, altho Marvel was best known for the emotional and dramatic facets of the characters.

Then, DC cpmes out with their handbooks, and the series is more about hero histories and motivations, which you woulda thought was how Marvel woulda gone with theirs...

And odd switcheroo...

Al Bigley

Mark Engblom

Well, or you could look at it this way: Marvel, from the very beginning, had put forward a more "realistic" type of superhero, from their personalities to the real-world locale of New York City...so the ultra-detailed tech seems to spring from that tradition rather organically. I see what you mean, though, Al. I remember being disappointed with DC's less technical approach....especially when it came to calibrating the Flash's speed or Superman's strength.

Mystik Tomato

I think that DC has the right idea with that, though. It seems that if you put specs on the heroes and then ignore it for the sake of the story, (Like the infamous Spidey vs. Firelord match-up) it's going to cause a couple of people to wonder what the problem is.

Of course saying "The Flash runs really fast. No, like, REALLY fast." isn't really much better.

Also, making a Kirby-Mouth while talking is hard.


I borrowed a friends copy of the 15th issue of the original Marvel Universe series - the "weapons and paraphernalia" issue. I was awestruck by just how incredible and "credible" they made it all seem.

I had only been reading comics (other than GI Joe) for a couple of months and that issue introduced me to characters and concepts that blew my 13 year old mind!

The Falcon's wings, Ant Man's helmet and who is this Paladin guy, man he looks cool.

Those books really gave a newcomer a leg up on trying to figure out the who's and what's of such a complex place as the Marvel Universe.

I can only imagine that before those titles, trying to figure out some of that stuff must have been very frustrating, but rewarding in it's own way.


The "handbooks" which I like but which came out during a non-comics period for me, were covered pretty well in a fairly recent back issue of BACK ISSUE magazine.

Kirby mouths-yeah, especially the Thing's!
You could turn a tractor-trailer around in Ben's mouth sometimes w/no problem.

ShadowWing Tronix

I didn't read too many Marvel comics in the 70's (being born in 73), but those bottom-of-the-page blurbs were parodies in some of the Radioactive Man comics. Now I know where that came from.

ShadowWing Tronix

Ooop, forgot to say thanks.

Al Bigley

One more thing-The DC Handbooks had dramatic action poses of the characters! Marvel? Dull images of the characters just standing there...Holy reversal!!

Mark Engblom

You're right, Al...the Marvel Handbook *did* have some pretty static poses. However, I vaguely recall Marvel stating that these books, in addition to being sold to fans, were also (supposedly) intended to serve as a reference tool for Marvel writers, artists, and editors. As such, maybe the original intent of the character artwork was to serve as essentially a "model sheet" that would clearly show the character's girth, posture, costume details, coloring, etc. for the assigned artist.

Maybe that was just hooey all along, but that's at least one explanation for the low-wattage character poses.

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