The other night the wife and I where at Barnes and noble killing some time and I found a book I wanted to share with you. Going through the clearance section of the store I picked this book up for $5! This over sized trade collects various Hulk comics (along with Avengers and Fantastic Four issues) with an introduction by Stan Lee before a few of the stories story. This gives the reader a bit of insight behind the story. It is the coolest book I’ve seen in quite a while, The behind the scenes articles by Stan Lee makes it much more than another collected edition. Unfortunately the book doesnt list the issue numbers of the comics that appear in it, which does bother the collector in me, but for a first time reader of a character I can see why it wasn’t included or more importantly not necessary.
Wiki description: “The Marvel Fireside Books Series was a series of full-color trade paperbacks featuring Marvel Comics stories and characters co-published by Marvel and the Simon & Schuster division Fireside Books from 1974 to 1979.
The series enabled fans of the old comics to have access to the stories without having to pay exorbitant prices for the original back issues. It introduced new readers to the work of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and other Marvel creators, and packaged the material in a traditional book format that carried more caché than the flimsy pamphlet style of a typical comic book. Many of the books featured painted covers illustrated by such artists as Bob Larkin, John Romita, Sr., and Earl Norem. In this way, the series was an antecedent to the now common practice of packaging “classic” stories into archival editions and trade paperback collections including Marvel’s 1998 book Grandson of Origins of Marvel Comics.
Publishing History: Marvel Publisher Stan Lee came up with the idea of compiling the origins of some of their most popular characters in a book format similar to Jules Feiffer’s 1965 book The Great Comic Book Heroes. Teaming up with Fireside, a young-adult imprint of Simon & Schuster, Marvel initially produced Origins of Marvel Comics in 1974, featuring the origins of the Fantastic Four, Hulk, Spider-Man, Thor, and Doctor Strange. Like the books to follow, Origins featured a foreword by Lee, and short introductions to each section, which followed the format of presenting the character’s origin followed by a contemporary story by current Marvel contributors.
Origins of Marvel Comics was followed in 1975 with Sons of Origins of Marvel Comics, featuring the origins of the X-Men, Iron Man, The Avengers, Daredevil, Nick Fury, The Watcher, and the Silver Surfer.
The two Origins books were followed by Bring on the Bad Guys, origins of a selection of Marvel villains; and The Superhero Women, featuring some of Marvel’s most popular female superheroes. Eventually, the series began straying away from origin stories and published collections of classic stories with individual characters such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, The Hulk, Captain America, and Doctor Strange.
One of the Marvel Fireside Books superhero story editions was not a reprint but was an original story. 1978’s The Silver Surfer, by Stan Lee, with art by Kirby and Joe Sinnott, was a new take on the late 1960s icon; and is considered by many to be one of the first true “graphic novels.”
In conjunction with their reprint collections, Marvel and Fireside also produced a number of activity and game books, how-to books, and even a cookbook, again all featuring Marvel characters. The most well-known and popular book of this kind was 1978’s How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way, which is still in print.
Marvel/Fireside published 24 different books, many with multiple printings in both hardcover and paperback.”
Now my plan is to try and find the rest of this series of books to add to my book shelf. If you have or have read any of these titles let me know what you think!