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In celebration of 65 years in comic book publishing the House of Ideas is proud to present the first four issues of the comic series that launched Marvel Comics. This monumental hardcover volume re-masters and restores these first four historic issues and collects them for the first time. Return to the Golden Age of comics with the original tales of Sub- Mariner, the Human In celebration of 65 years in comic book publishing the House of Ideas is proud to present the first four issues of the comic series that launched Marvel Comics. This monumental hardcover volume re-masters and restores these first four historic issues and collects them for the first time. Return to the Golden Age of comics with the original tales of Sub- Mariner, the Human Torch, the Angel, and Ka-Zar.


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In celebration of 65 years in comic book publishing the House of Ideas is proud to present the first four issues of the comic series that launched Marvel Comics. This monumental hardcover volume re-masters and restores these first four historic issues and collects them for the first time. Return to the Golden Age of comics with the original tales of Sub- Mariner, the Human In celebration of 65 years in comic book publishing the House of Ideas is proud to present the first four issues of the comic series that launched Marvel Comics. This monumental hardcover volume re-masters and restores these first four historic issues and collects them for the first time. Return to the Golden Age of comics with the original tales of Sub- Mariner, the Human Torch, the Angel, and Ka-Zar.

30 review for Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Marvel Comics, Vol. 1

  1. 4 out of 5

    Greg Brozeit

    Nostalgia is a funny thing. It's wonderful for some. Boring and meaningless for others. And then there's the journey one makes of going from one of those mindsets to the other while going through the experience. Take, for example, the tradition of Saturday movies in the U.S., mostly in the 40s and into the 50s. In the days between the advent of talkies and television, children often spent hours at the movies watching a variety of shorts—cartoons, multi-episode serials, educational films—culminat Nostalgia is a funny thing. It's wonderful for some. Boring and meaningless for others. And then there's the journey one makes of going from one of those mindsets to the other while going through the experience. Take, for example, the tradition of Saturday movies in the U.S., mostly in the 40s and into the 50s. In the days between the advent of talkies and television, children often spent hours at the movies watching a variety of shorts—cartoons, multi-episode serials, educational films—culminating with a feature film. Those serials, like Flash Gordon, the Mysterious Mr. M., or the Batman, were inspirations for modern day movie makers like George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg. The American broadcaster TCM often runs those serials on Saturdays, and after watching a few, the predictability of the scripts and the primitive special effects usually lead to a loss of interest: wonderful expectations followed by the mindless boredom of disappointment. And although I have not watched any of the current Marvel/DC-based superhero films of the past couple of decades, I was, in the late 60s and early 70s, a big follower of Marvel comics. It was with that feeling of nostalgia that I was driven to get this volume. The kid in me wanted to relive that feeling I had reading Marvel comics. What could be better than a collection of the very first four editions of any Marvel Comics! Hoo-boy! That kid is some kind of idiot. What a boring collection this is. Only people with a historical interest in American comics should get anywhere near it. Cheap rip offs of the Lone Ranger, Superman, and Tarzan. I mean, really cheap! Unbelievably boring Sub Mariner and Human Torch stories. I'm over the nostalgia. No way I'm putting myself through this again. (Actually, that's not true. I only got halfway through. But, idiot that I am, I know I'll end up reading the rest of this terrible collection. More self-inflicted misery ahead.)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael Neno

    This volume is tabula rosa for Marvel comics, reprintings of the earliest comics Marvel published, starting in 1939: Marvel Mystery Comics 1-4. The (Golden Age android) Human Torch gets his start here; some of the other serialized strips are the Tarzan ripoff Ka-Zar (pulled over from the company's pulp magazines), Ferret, a bland detective with a ferret on his shoulder, The Angel, a bland superhero with no powers, the robot Electro, boldly drawn by Steve Dahlman. The star of the show is Bill Eve This volume is tabula rosa for Marvel comics, reprintings of the earliest comics Marvel published, starting in 1939: Marvel Mystery Comics 1-4. The (Golden Age android) Human Torch gets his start here; some of the other serialized strips are the Tarzan ripoff Ka-Zar (pulled over from the company's pulp magazines), Ferret, a bland detective with a ferret on his shoulder, The Angel, a bland superhero with no powers, the robot Electro, boldly drawn by Steve Dahlman. The star of the show is Bill Everett's lovingly written, drawn and colored Sub-Mariner, here, as always, an enraged terrorist wanting to sometimes destroy western civilization and helping it at others. A Roy Crane-influenced war strip, American Ace, died too soon, but every issue of Marvel Mystery Comics is worth your time, a precious snapshot of comics history. Beware: avoid the original 2004 printing, which I unwittingly paid good money for. It's the worst comic book reprint reproduction I've ever seen; it looks like a bad microfiche source, wretchedly "fixed", with illegible lettering, dropped out and darkened art in every panel and incorrect coloring. That reconstruction was by Jerron Quality Color in Sparta, Illinois. The cover price was $50! The 2011 edition, by Pacific Rim Graphics (art) and Wesley Wong (colors) is markedly improved.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    (my edition is a white bordered paperback) a lot of fun in here! i didn't realize how good bill everett was. there haven't been a lot of sub-mariner stories i've liked, now i want to read the character. there are several stories of the golden age angel by paul gustavson, the only major timely character to not appear in the invaders. reading these i think roy thomas made a big mistake. the angel is a rich guy w/a great mustache and some super strength and a colorful costume. the art quite differe (my edition is a white bordered paperback) a lot of fun in here! i didn't realize how good bill everett was. there haven't been a lot of sub-mariner stories i've liked, now i want to read the character. there are several stories of the golden age angel by paul gustavson, the only major timely character to not appear in the invaders. reading these i think roy thomas made a big mistake. the angel is a rich guy w/a great mustache and some super strength and a colorful costume. the art quite different than everett's is just as good. the torch and ka-zar are worth the read. there are three episodes of american ace, gotta find the sequel to this volume so i can find out what happens next. the only stories that fail are the masked raider, these don't come close to rawhide kid, kid colt or two-gun. at then end of the book are reprints of marvel and ka-zar pulp covers, house ads and unused cover art.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Travis

    A big slab of marvel history. To be honest, I know this comic is a big deal due to the premiere of Namor and the Human Torch, but I found there stories the least entertaining. Instead of being Tarzan of the oceans, Namor is just a jerk from day one. Most of his heroics seemed to happen almost by accident. The Torch very quickly goes from heroic monster to full super hero, but that only happens because the writers think he should be a hero. It feels like a default. The fun stuff was the obscure chara A big slab of marvel history. To be honest, I know this comic is a big deal due to the premiere of Namor and the Human Torch, but I found there stories the least entertaining. Instead of being Tarzan of the oceans, Namor is just a jerk from day one. Most of his heroics seemed to happen almost by accident. The Torch very quickly goes from heroic monster to full super hero, but that only happens because the writers think he should be a hero. It feels like a default. The fun stuff was the obscure characters: The Masked Raider: a decent Lone Ranger rip off Ka-zar: No, not that one. This one is a Tarzan clone set in the Congo with a quartet of animal sidekicks. Angel: More pulp hero then super, but he does have a cape. Electro: starts out as a typical robot hero, but then adds a group of agents to help Electro and gets pretty cool. Shame none of them ever got more attention. Even the text stories, which are usually bland filler were pretty solid. A fun read and a look at where marvel began.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Judah Radd

    At times, a bit of a struggle, especially with the Masked Rider and Ka-Zar (the latter of which is also shockingly racist by today’s sensibilities) Despite that, the Human Torch, Sub-Mariner and Angel stories are truly awesome for the time. Namor is especially great. It’s astonishing how well Bill Everett’s art has aged, and the writing is very mature. I’ve always known about these characters from Silver Age onward... it was fun traveling back to the Golden Age and seeing what they were first like At times, a bit of a struggle, especially with the Masked Rider and Ka-Zar (the latter of which is also shockingly racist by today’s sensibilities) Despite that, the Human Torch, Sub-Mariner and Angel stories are truly awesome for the time. Namor is especially great. It’s astonishing how well Bill Everett’s art has aged, and the writing is very mature. I’ve always known about these characters from Silver Age onward... it was fun traveling back to the Golden Age and seeing what they were first like. I had a rewarding experience. Obviously, comics have evolved and I’ll always prefer the styles I’m used to, but this was ground breaking stuff and I think every fan should check it out.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chris Shockey

    Amazing! Finally! The roots of Marvel Comics in readable digital volumes! Great stories by great artists and writers from Timely Publications, the direct forerunner of MARVEL COMICS! If you are an aficionado of golden age comics, DO NOT miss these volumes telling the early adventures of Prince Manor the Sub-Mariner and the Original Human Torch!

  7. 4 out of 5

    José Ignacio ZG

    This hasn't aged well. It is an easy guess why everything in these pages but Namor and The Human Torch has been almost entirely forgotten. Anyway a landmark in the origin of superheroes and the foundations of the future Marvel Comics.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lser

    Pretty cool. Love masterworks for re-making old comics in high quality.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Judith

    Namor drags the rating down. Like always.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    I had previously read All-Winners vol. 1 and didn't really care for it. By that point, the Human Torch had paired with Toro and their adventures were pretty self contained and sillier than an episode of Super Friends. Similarly, Namor wished he could join the U.S. Army, but was prevented by his not being an American citizen. I liked this volume much better. The Human Torch and Sub-Mariner stories had a level of continuity I've seen in Golden Age comics only in Wonder Woman. In issue #3, the Huma I had previously read All-Winners vol. 1 and didn't really care for it. By that point, the Human Torch had paired with Toro and their adventures were pretty self contained and sillier than an episode of Super Friends. Similarly, Namor wished he could join the U.S. Army, but was prevented by his not being an American citizen. I liked this volume much better. The Human Torch and Sub-Mariner stories had a level of continuity I've seen in Golden Age comics only in Wonder Woman. In issue #3, the Human Torch meets a character named Johnson, and Johnson continues to be a character in the fourth issue. Although the story takes pace more quickly than it would in a modern comic, the stories develop and change. In issue #2, Namor is a cop-killer, but by issue #4, he regrets his actions. In issue #4, he takes on "Jim Hamond" as a pseudonym. (Later texts give it a double-M; I guess that comes later). I share the contempt Roy Thomas has for The Angel--he's basically a 1%er (and that's all we know about him--his Thomas Halloway identity hasn't been revealed yet) who seems to use lethal force as a first resort. Given the recent police murder of Eric Garner via strangulation, I wasn't crazy about a superhero who strangles criminals, even those who have clearly done evil things. I don't share Thomas's contempt for Electro (the first of three major Marvel characters of that name), at least in conception. The first story, appearing in issue #4, has Professor Philo Zog hire twelve stocky and intelligent men from an employment agency to work as agents of justice, while Zog uses a giant robot called Electro to come in when things get too tough for one person. It remains to be seen if the stories are executed at all well, even for their time. The first story seems about average. Ka-Zar seems to be adapted directly from the pulp novels that were published a few years earlier. They're OK, but I like Kevin Plunder better. Ferret's first story is a bit confusing. American Ace has nice, Winsor McCay type art but isn't too impressive, and the Masked Raider is about as primitively drawn a knockoff of The Lone Ranger as I can imagine. After the first two stories, the civilian time for him in the story is cut off, too. Namor, the Human Torch, and Electro make me want to read the second volume, despite my boredom with All-Winners vol. 1.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    Featuring the first appearances of the original Human Torch (who wasn't human), the Angel (a vaguely Superman-like vigilante with no powers and a very '30's mustache), the Masked Raider (a Lone Ranger clone), Ka-Zar (a Tarzan clone), and the first Marvel appearance of Namor the Sub-Mariner. The tales of the Torch and Sub-Mariner are fairly interesting, strangely progressive, and a bit twisted. They both would probably be considered anti-heroes at best these days, both actively attacking regular h Featuring the first appearances of the original Human Torch (who wasn't human), the Angel (a vaguely Superman-like vigilante with no powers and a very '30's mustache), the Masked Raider (a Lone Ranger clone), Ka-Zar (a Tarzan clone), and the first Marvel appearance of Namor the Sub-Mariner. The tales of the Torch and Sub-Mariner are fairly interesting, strangely progressive, and a bit twisted. They both would probably be considered anti-heroes at best these days, both actively attacking regular human civilization mostly out of reasons of self-preservation. The remaining characters were largely familiar as versions of more popular heroes, and their stories weren't nearly as interesting. There's a lot packed in each of these four issues - 64 pages for 10 cents each, back in 1939.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Don

    Equal parts fascinating, perplexing, and charming. Reading through these stories from some of comics' earliest issues shows several surprises: Each issue was 64 pages, contained half a dozen 8- to 16-page stories, and covered a dizzying variety of genres - from (proto)superheroes, to jungle lords, to detective stories, to cowboys, and more. Impressively, in some of the continuing features you can already see signs of improvement and refinement of the art and writing over the course of just these Equal parts fascinating, perplexing, and charming. Reading through these stories from some of comics' earliest issues shows several surprises: Each issue was 64 pages, contained half a dozen 8- to 16-page stories, and covered a dizzying variety of genres - from (proto)superheroes, to jungle lords, to detective stories, to cowboys, and more. Impressively, in some of the continuing features you can already see signs of improvement and refinement of the art and writing over the course of just these first four issues - as the creators involved figure out which elements work, or don't - while in other cases a running feature (such as a fighter pilot) doesn't catch on and is replaced in the next issue with something else (such as a robot). Accounts of the time describe comics' initial era as something of a mad, slapdash, feverishly improvised atmosphere, and - despite the usual simplicity of the stories found herein - that jumble and excitement absolutely comes through.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rich Meyer

    It is somewhat interesting to hold even a reprint of the first Marvel Comic book in your hands. There's very little here that sets it apart from any other comic book of that era, with the exception of the beautifully murky inking and coloring of Bill Everett's Sub-Mariner. The first adventures of the Human Torch are very primitive artistically, as as those of many other features in this series. But there is that forties' charm to them, especially when you realize that the nooks and crannies of t It is somewhat interesting to hold even a reprint of the first Marvel Comic book in your hands. There's very little here that sets it apart from any other comic book of that era, with the exception of the beautifully murky inking and coloring of Bill Everett's Sub-Mariner. The first adventures of the Human Torch are very primitive artistically, as as those of many other features in this series. But there is that forties' charm to them, especially when you realize that the nooks and crannies of the tales were cliches back then. The restoration and printing of this first volume is above par. If you are a Marvel fan, or more importantly a Timely Comics fan, then this is a great way to start your reprint collection.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Edward Davies

    My favourite stories out of these were surprisingly Namor The Sub-Mariner, who hasn't really changed over the decades. The rest of the tales are definitely "of their time", which is a nice way to say not very good. The Angel is probably the worst of the lot, with Ka-Zar a close second, while the Human Torch is simply mediocre.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mabomanji

    The very first comic stories from Marvel and their imagination knew no boundaries at the time ! It's great to see the start of The Human Torch and The Sub Mariner, really fascinating characters. Namor's grumpy attitude is particularly refreshing in the middle of so many heroic figures.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Boyd

    Fantastic reprint of these Golden Age of Comics issues. The first appearance of such iconic characters as the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner appear here. Great collection of rare comics. Very recommended

  17. 4 out of 5

    J.R.

    Best stories in here are Ka-zar, Namor, and Electro.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Zan

  19. 5 out of 5

    John

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jason

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mike Hill

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rajmund Séra

  23. 5 out of 5

    Noah Riggs

  24. 4 out of 5

    Silentobserver

  25. 5 out of 5

    David

  26. 4 out of 5

    Yosef Shapiro

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eugene booker

  29. 5 out of 5

    William Wallace

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nan

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