I know, I know, it's not Christmas-time YET, but... there are an awful lot of cool books coming in right now. I LOVE this time of year, yay!
This bad boy came in yesterday: Marvel: The Expanding Universe Wall Chart. Damn, this is one HUGE book! It's hardcover and measures 11" x 18" and it FOLDS out. From the back of the book :
"part decorative poster, part insightful history, part reference work, and all interactive fun - draws upon the collective contributions of many of the finest comic book artists of the 20th and 21st centuries to create a pictorial tapestry of more than 300 Marvel Comics characters. Through its atomic design pattern, which reflects the effects of radioactivity on the denizens of the Marvel Universe, the chart also demonstrates how the character sets and their stories interconnect and relate to each other. What's more, flip the chart over and it reads like a book. There are pages of fun facts and trivia, including listings of different characters who have shared the same name; characters who have changed names or identities over the years; characters that have wed each other; and characters who have been "killed" only to return. There is even a Marvel Universe brain-busting quiz! With an interior that expands to 12 feet and custom Marvel three-dimensional art on the cover [this book] will not only be cherished for its content, but will also be a visually stunning addition to every comic fan's collection."
WOW! Impressive ad copy! This baby retails for the low low price of $45.00 Seriously, you get a lot of bang for your buck here. I'm half-tempted to order one to use as reference for the shop. It's always handy to have a book like this available, in case the Colonel isn't in the shop at the time. When this book came in, I immediately thought of Daron "The Colonel" Jensen! And then one of our regulars mentioned that Daron doesn't NEED this book because he must have made his own wall chart by now, hanging proudly on the wall above the mantel next to his Captain America shield. (I don't think he's every gone quite that far, but for those of you that know him, you would agree that this is not a stretch by any means). Every Christmas for the last few years there's been a nice coffee-table size Marvel-related book that makes a perfect gift for the Marvel Zombie in your life, and this years selection looks GREAT! Why didn't they make this kind of stuff when I was a kid, I would have KILLED to have something like this hanging on my bedroom wall. Instead I had to make do with the only walking encyclopedia of comic book knowledge that I was aware of at that time: my brother Joe! I think he got sick of all my silly questions. If a book like this was available c. 1980, it would have been SO much easier for me! I wonder how often they are going to make a revised version of this book, since things change in the Marvel U every summer at least, depending on what GIANT event they have running.
The other SUPER cool new comic-related gift book that came in this week: The Batman Vault. This is third in this amazing series. Last Christmas we saw the incredible DC Vault, and the year before that for the holidays we were thrilled to witness the Marvel Vault. If you've never seen these books, do check them out next time you are at your local Amazing Fantasy. If I had the room on my coffee table I would so be buying all three of these! Here's the description for The Batman Vault from the back of the book:
"It was a time primed for super heroes, and Gotham City needed a Guardian. Born out of the rich and dark atmosphere of the pulps, Batman swung onto the scene in 1939 and has since enthralled generations of comic fans, while confronting a barrage of villains, mentoring a series of sidekicks, and saving Gotham time and time again.
The Batman Vault unlocks little-known nuggets about the Caped Crusader's origins and exploits, assembling stories, sketches, and memorabilia from the DC Comics archives into one definitive volume on the Dark Knight. Fully illustrated with drawings from Batman's most celebrated artists, this fascinating collection features 19 plastic-encased pieces of ephemera to remove and pore over, such as creator Bob Kane's sketches, a make-your-own Batplane, and a hand-pencilled "Right Way to Draw Batman" booklet. Detailing the back stories of each villain, femme fatale, and Batgadget, and spanning Batman's entire crime-fighting career, The Batman Vault is a colorful and compelling biography that will resonate with any fan."
This book is SO cool! It makes a great gift for any Batman fan on your gift-giving list or for yourself. I totally want it for the "authorized" Batman reproduction paper mask included. All of the reproduced collectibles in this book/set would be very pricey and hard to find on the secondary market. I can't wait to see what Marvel character they do a vault for NEXT year, my money is on Spider-Man. Because you know as well as I do, that following fast on the heals of this Batman Vault, there will be a Superman Vault and gods willing, a Wonder Woman Vault. If for some reason, this does NOT happen, someone will need to get fired over at Running Press. This Batman cornucopia retails for the low low price of $49.95. Again, not bad, considering all the goodies inside.
Both of these books, the Marvel: The Expanding Universe Wall Chart and The Batman Vault make great holiday gifts of course, but on top of that they help both the book industry and comic industry. These kinds of books are the very thing that CAN'T be downloaded or viewed on a Kindle or an IPhone. Yay! Some things just work better physically, so take THAT technology! Now if only we can come up with a way for comics to be a more hands on experience, maybe they can all become pop up comics or something. You've all heard me talk about the digital market for comics before, and in no way do I think it's a bad a thing, I just want to make sure that comic books, the way I know and love them, in a physical form, are still around in 25 years. What better way to make sure that they ALL can't go digital? Pop-ups are the solution. Yes, I'm sure of it. (Hey, I know that would cost an arm and a leg, but it would be cool, wouldn't it?) There are a few publishers that have already done "pop-up" comics, such as Candlewick Press and their cool Spider-Man and X-Men pop-up books/comics. Want to see the pop-up comics/books that I'm talking about? Go to your local A/F and check them out.
More cool books are going to be released over the next few weeks as we ramp up for the holidays, and I'll be blogging about all of them!