Normally we use this space to do quick spoiler-free reviews of all the comics we read for the current week. Today we are bringing you a special review of just one book. It is the 80-page giant publication of Marvel Comics #1000.
I know what you are thinking. There haven’t been one thousand issues of Marvel Comics. Yeah. You are right. In an effort to celebrate the eightieth anniversary of Marvel Comics, Marvel has put together a special book. The folks at Marvel did not even try to engage in the creative accounting that their counterparts at DC Comics did in terms of getting to the number that they did with Action Comics #1000 and Detective Comics #1000. They have said that the number is merely “symbolic”.
The narrative idea behind the book, which is the brainchild of writer Al Ewing, is interesting. The book is a collection of one-page stories. Each story is produced by a different creative team and is meant to highlight or recall a particular event from Marvel Comics history for a particular year in the past eighty. While there are plenty of interesting one offs in the homages, what really makes the book interesting is a narrative thread that Ewing ties through several pages to explore the history of the Marvel Universe.
Ewing sets up an mystery regarding an artifact that has existed throughout history and will be a centerpiece to some new story coming in 2020. There is a bit of feeling that Marvel has tricked the reader by providing a trailer for a new event within this book, but despite that, the story has a way of tying the whole book together and improving it into something more than just a jam-piece.
Now about that jam-piece. We are going to give you a quick hit list of some pages that really stood out and why:
1943 – Jeremy Whitley, writer | Irene Koh, artist | Filipe Sobriero, colors | Clayton Cowles, letterer
- This page is in recollection of the first appearance of Miss America, and the page is quick origin of the newer hero America. It is a well crafted exposure to the character while making a great social commentary.
1944 – Mark Waid, writer | John Cassaday, artist | Laura Martin, colorist, | Chris Eliopoulos, letterer
- This page is one of the most stunning in the book, and the words share a great message. The recollection is the initial release of the Captain America movie serial.
1951 – Joe Hill, writer | Michael Allred, artist & letterer | Laura Martin, colorist
- The page honoring the premiere of Strange Tales is a goofy and funny page that is beautifully rendered by Mike Allred in his signature style. The bonus is a naked Dr. Strange.
1953 – Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale, story smellers | Richard Starkings, lettuce
- In memory of Marvel’s first parody series, Crazy, Loeb and Sale back together is a treat. The page is an irreverent throwback to classic Marvel humor with a bit of a Fred Hembeck feel.
1959 – Alex Ross, writer & artist | Josh Johnson, letterer
- This a Hulk page in honor of the debut that year of Tales to Astonish. It is a six panel page and it is perfect.
1963 – Walter Simonson, writer & artist | Laura Martin, colorist | John Workman, letterer
- Simonson and Workman together again in a Marvel comic!!! It is wonderful as is their color collaborator from Ragnarok, Laura Martin. The page is a tribute to the first appearance of Iron Man in Tales of Suspense #39.
1968 – Kelly Sue DeConnick, writer | David Lopez, artist | Nathan Fairbairn, colorist | Travis Lanham, letterer
- Kelly Sue returns to do a Captain Marvel story celebrating the first appearance of Carol Danvers in Marvel Super-Heroes #13. It is a cute story about superheroing.
1973- Gerry Conway, writer | Greg Land, penciller | Jay Leisten, inker | Frank D’Armata, colorist | Cory Petit, letterer
- This is a beautifully designed page recalling the events of Amazing Spider-Man #121 that is written by the original writer. It give perhaps the definitive answer to what is behind the much discussed final panel of the original book. One of my favorite pages in this book.
1976 – Al Ewing, writer | George Perez, artist | Laura Martin, colorist | Chris Eliopoulos, letterer
- Classic White Tiger artist, George Perez, returns to do a gorgeously executed page in memory of the Deadly Hands of Kung Fu becoming a White Tiger book with issue #20. The message of diversity in superheroing is pretty excellent as well.
1980 – Rainbow Rowell, writer | Kris Anka, artist | Matthew Wilson, colorist | Joe Caramagna, letterer
- In honor of the debut of She-Hulk, the creative team from the Runaways, put together a fantastic page celebrating 39 years of the character.
1989 – Adam F. Goldberg, writer | Adam Riches, artist
- This page celebrates the first series for Damage Control, but it pays special attention to remember creator, the late Dwayne McDuffie.
1994 – Donny Cates, writer | Geoff Shaw, art | David Curiel, color art | Cory Petit, letterer
- “The Infamous Clone Saga” is remembered for this page, but Donny Cates wrote a very poignant window into who Spider-Man is and the art team nailed it. Just a fine single page Spidey story.
1997 – Gail Simone, writer | David Baldeon, artist | Jesus Aburtov, colorist | Joe Sabino, letterer
- Gail Simone pulls out all this stops with this absolutely hilarious Deadpool page in memory of the character’s first ongoing series. It is wonderfully subversive to the medium and publisher. It is fantastic.
2000 – Chris Claremont, writer | Salvador Larroca, artist | Guru-eFX, color art | Joe Sabino, letterer
- In honor of Claremont’s return to writing the X-Men in X-Men #100, Claremont returns to write the X-Men on this page. It is meta, but Claremont writing the X-Men is pretty cool.
2005 – Allen Heinberg, writer | Jim Cheung, artist | Frank Martin, colorist | Joe Sabino, letterer
- The original creators of the Young Avengers come back for a few panels of awesomeness. Fans of this group will be pleased. Also, there is a nod to recently passed colorist Justin Ponsor.
2014 – Neil Gaiman, story | Mark Buckingham, art | Dave Stewart, colors | Todd Klein, lettering
- We end our list of pages with a gloriously rendered page by Mark Buckingham and Dave Stewart starring Miracleman in honor of Marvel publishing his stories. Neil Gaiman writes a story that reminds us that all of this is about comics, and that is good.
My biggest complaint about this very excellent book is the lack of inclusion. When the book was announced, it was noticed that there was a lack of female creators attached. I believe that even some names originally announced did not make the final book. At my count, seven of the eighty pages were written by women, and just two were drawn by women. While there is better representation among the colorist contributions, it is sad that less than ten percent of this book was written by women.