The Secret History of Marvel Comics: The Pulp Connection!
If you are a fan of the classic comic book artists including Jack Kirby, Gene Colan, or John Severin, you will enjoy the illustrations in this book.
Authors Blake Bell and Michael J. Vassallo have compiled a beautifully illustrated history of the pulp magazines that were published alongside Marvel Comics (and its predecessors) from the 1930s until the pulps died. The writing can be a bit dull, as the authors list all the different titles, when they were published and why publisher Martin Goodman changed the names.
But that's OK. The main reason to pick up this book is for the many, many illustrations. Kirby and the other artists may have made their name in comic books, but they also did artwork for the pulps at the same time. And it is fascinating to see those samples, which of course dealt with more mature subjects. And in some cases, more violent and titillating ideas. For example, Alex Schomburg, one of the Golden Age's most celebrated comic-book cover artists, seems to have been equally talented in drawing half-naked women in compromising or dangerous situations.
Kirby's pulp art is very recognizable, while Sub-Mariner creator Bill Everett's pulp work is very different from his comic-book art. The last two-thirds of the book is turned over to short artist profiles and samples of their pulp work, which is a lot of fun.
A few names may surprise you: Mort Walker, who created the Beetle Bailey comic strip, contributed a few pieces to a pulp magazine in the 1950s. Hank Ketcham's art appeared in some World War II era pulps a decade before he created Dennis the Menace,
One thing to note: Don't pick this book up expecting to read about Spider-Man, X-Men, Hulk, etc. See below for a book about that era.
Here's a short video preview of the book:
Marvel Comics: The Untold Story is the book to pick up if you are interested in the creation of Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and all the other superheroes that made Marvel Comics the top comic books from the 1960s on.
There's a lot of interesting details about how comic books are created and how the business has changed, with today's publishers far more interested in using the characters for movies, televisions series, toys, than simply telling great stories.
If you are interested in finding out more comic-book history please see our article here: