Marvel’s Greatest Superhero Battles (1978)

Marvel's Greatest Superhero Battles cover

Marvel’s Greatest Superhero Battles by Stan Lee

In the mid-Seventies Fireside Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, published four collections of reprinted Marvel comic book stories now widely considered to be the first trade paperbacks. The books proved such a success that several more reprint collections followed, including Marvel’s Greatest Superhero Battles by Stan Lee published in 1978. Continue reading Marvel’s Greatest Superhero Battles (1978)

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The Amazing Spider-Man (1979)

the-amazing-spider-man-front-cover

The Amazing Spider-Man
by Stan Lee

In 1974 Fireside Books published the first ever collection of reprinted comic book stories, Origins of Marvel Comics by Stan Lee, now widely considered to be the first trade paperback. The book proved such a success that several more volumes of reprints followed between 1974 and 1979, including The Amazing Spider-Man by Stan Lee. Continue reading The Amazing Spider-Man (1979)

The Fantastic Four (1979)

the-fantastic-four-cover

The Fantastic Four by Stan Lee

In 1974 Fireside Books published a collection of reprinted stories featuring characters from Marvel Comics’ popular back catalogue of stories. Origins of Marvel Comics by Stan Lee, now widely considered to be the first trade paperback, was such a success that three more volumes followed between 1974 and 1977. With these four books began a fruitful collaboration between the two publishers that over the next five years saw the publication of a wide diversity of titles featuring Marvel characters including a second set of reprint books; The Fantastic Four by Stan Lee, published in 1979, is the fifth title of this second wave. Continue reading The Fantastic Four (1979)

Doctor Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts (1979)

doctor-strange-master-of-the-mystic-arts-front-cover

Doctor Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts by Stan Lee

In the autumn of 1974 Fireside Books published a softcover collection of reprinted stories featuring characters from Marvel Comics’ popular back catalogue. Origins of Marvel Comics by Stan Lee is now widely considered to be the first trade paperback and was such a success that three more volumes followed between 1974 and 1977 – Son of Origins of Marvel Comics, Bring On The Bad Guys and The Superhero Women. With these four books began a fruitful collaboration between the two publishers that over the subsequent five years saw the release of a wide variety of titles including activity books, puzzle books, health and fitness books and even a cookbook. There was also a second set of reprint books that ran to seven volumes; Dr Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts by Stan Lee, published in 1979, is the sixth title of this second wave of titles. Continue reading Doctor Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts (1979)

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three poster

“Gesundheit.”

I do enjoy a good heist movie, always have. The intricate planning, the recruitment of the gang (all of whom have specialised skills necessary to ensure success), and the inevitable misdirection when something appears to go wrong but is actually all part of the plan. That and the desire to see the thieves pull off the seemingly impossible caper – the more improbable the better – and get away scot-free all makes for great viewing. It’s strange then than one of my favourite heist movies, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, features none of these elements. Continue reading The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

The Andromeda Strain (1971)

The Andromeda Strain 1971

“That’s what we’ll find out now… the mechanism of death.”

Riding the new wave of intelligent and speculative science fiction films initiated by Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Andromeda Strain takes one of the tiredest of sci-fi tropes, the alien invasion, and reinvigorates it. Instead of giant bug-eyed monsters from space attacking the Earth it’s the turn of microscopic organisms and the resulting film is a masterclass of mounting tension and suspense. Continue reading The Andromeda Strain (1971)

The Superhero Women (1977)

The Superhero Women, front cover
The Superhero Women by Stan Lee

Published in 1977 The Superhero Women by Stan Lee was the fourth, and last, of the Marvel/Fireside Books Origins collaborations. Sadly it’s also the weakest of the bunch. Although it follows the format established by its predecessors – reprinted ‘origin’ stories of Marvel Comics superheroes and villains prefaced by text introductions by Stan Lee – this volume doesn’t really work. What is clearly meant as a celebration of Marvel’s female heroes instead just highlights the publisher’s lack of strong, independent female characters and reinforces male stereotypes of women in tight-fitting, revealing outfits. Continue reading The Superhero Women (1977)