The Marvel Comics Library, an exclusive, long-term collaboration between TASCHEN and Marvel, has been announced – high end, extra-large collections of Marvel’s earliest comics that will come with a hefty price tag – but look pretty incredible. Some of you may want to start saving!
Over the next decade, Marvel’s rarest classic comics, including The Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers and Captain America will be reproduced in their original glory, in extra-large format. The library offers collectors a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lay their hands on the world’s most desirable comics.
The inaugural volume of “The Marvel Comics Library”, Spider-Man. Vol. 1. 1962–1964, features the first 21 stories of everybody’s favourite web slinger, meticulously honouring the original vision of Spider-Man creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. An in-depth historical essay by Marvel editor Ralph Macchio, an introduction by uber-collector David Mandel, original art boards, rare photographs, and other never- before-seen gems make this book the ultimate tribute to the teen who redefined what it meant to be a hero, right ahead of Spider-Man’s 60th birthday.
TASCHEN says that the extra-large format, close in size to the original artworks, reveal new details in the work of Marvel’s most acclaimed artists.
For each title in the series, the most pristine pedigreed comics have been cracked open for reproduction in close collaboration with Marvel and the Certified Guaranty Company.
Rather than recolour the original production artwork (as has been done in previous decades’ reprints of classic comics), TASCHEN has also attempted to create an ideal representation of these books as they were produced at the time of publication. Beginning with high grade, top-quality comics sourced with the assistance of the CGC, super-high-resolution photographs of each page were made as printed more than half a century ago, using modern retouching techniques to correct problems with the era’s inexpensive, imperfect printing. This included improved and balanced ink densities and color matching, proper registration of the four-colour printing and correction of thick/thin lines resulting from the flexible plates “smudging.”
The end result is a finished product, Taschen say, as if hot off a world-class printing press produced without economic or time-pressure constraints, tailored for readers, fans, artists and collectors alike.
However, since first publishing this story, response has been a bit mixed from some experts in the restoration field, pointing to bleed through and colour drop out on some sample pages from the project.
That noted, it’s still good to see a project like this in the works, and past Taschen books point to the care and attention they give to books like this.
Each volume will feature an essay by a comic book historian alongside hundreds of photos and artifacts. The books use three different paper stocks, including an uncoated and woodfree paper exclusively developed for this series that simulates the feel of the original comics.
The book is also available as a Collector’s Edition, limited to 1000 copies, featuring an aluminium print cover tipped into a leatherette-bound spine, foil embossing, and housed in a slipcase, available from 15th December 2021. Each book is individually numbered.
The inaugural purchase of the Collector’s Edition entitles the collector to preemptively secure the same identical edition number for all forthcoming Collector’s Edition titles in ‘The Marvel Comic Library’.
The next titles in”‘The Marvel Comics Library” series will be Avengers Volume 1. 1963–1965, Fantastic Four. Volume 1. 1961–1963 and Captain America, all scheduled for release in 2022 and 2023.
• Also available – The Marvel Comics Library – Spider-Man. Vol. 1.1962–1964 Famous First Edition in an edition of 1000 numbered copies. Aluminum print cover tipped into a leatherette-bound spine, foil embossing, and housed in a slipcase | £500 | Available here
We have updated this post to reflect comments on sample pages as presented by Taschen to promote this project
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.