Saturday, August 16, 2008

Top Ten Favorite Comic Stories #8: Marvels

The day she died.When I was a kid, I was a complete Marvel Zombie (i.e., a person who only bought Marvel Comic books and nothing else).  I even remember picking up The Killing Joke off of a spinner rack, flipping through it, and putting it back because I just couldn't bring myself to buy a DC book, even though it looked good.

Over the years my tastes have shifted quite a bit.  I actually collect very few Marvel comics nowadays.  Still, because of my youthful obsession, I am have more nostalgia for Marvel Comics than most.

In other words, Marvels was tailor made for me.

Written by Kurt Busiek and illustrated by Alex Ross, Marvels looks back at the events of the Marvel Universe through the eyes of an average man, specifically photographer Phil Sheldon.  Retelling old Marvel stories from the perspective of a man on the street gives these old stories a completely new and different feel.  It helps that Kurt Busiek has an amazing knack for telling deeply personal stories against a four-color superhero backdrop, a talent he would later perfect in his Astro City series.

Alex Ross' hyper-realistic art style is also perfect for this story.  When Giant-Man steps over the anxious crowd during a battle, it looks every bit as awe-inspiring as you would imagine a 30' tall man would be in real life.  The Human Torch really looks as terrifying as you would expect a man on fire to look.  Yet, despite the sense of grandeur he imparts on his heroes, he shows you their little imperfections as well.  If you look close enough, you can see the seams on Spider-Man's costume and the slight bulge on his wrists where his web-shooters are located.  Honestly, I think Marvels and the similar Kingdom Come are some of Alex Ross' best work.

Well, I think this old Marvel Zombie has spent enough waxing rhapsodic on an old limited series.  Tune in tomorrow for #7 on my Top Ten Favorite Comic Stories.

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