Friday, October 28, 2005

Booknote: Marvel 1602

Title: Marvel 1602
Author: Neil Gaiman; illustrated by Andy Kubert
Publication Information: Marvel Comics, 2005
ISBN: 0785110739
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy
Subgenre: Graphic Novels
Pages: 248

This has been the most engrossing graphic novel I have read in a while. I took it to read a couple of parts before bedtime, and I ended up reading the whole volume until about 2am on a Saturday night; time just flew as I followed the story. Neil Gaiman, the award-winning author known for The Sandman and novels like American Gods, has envisioned the Marvel universe of superheroes four hundred years in the past. The time is Elizabethan England. Sir Nicholas Fury is the Queen's spymaster and Dr. Johnathan Strange is her royal physician. Along the way, readers will meet and recognize various characters from the Marvel universe. They come together in an interesting story of intrigue and mystery. There is a quest to find a mysterious object of great power, and the weather is taking a turn for the worst in what could indicate signs of the end of the world. I am trying my best not to give too many details because I highly recommend this volume, a collection of a series of eight comics. The art is excellent and brings to life the story created by Gaiman. It captures the ambience of 17th century Europe. The volume includes a preface by Peter Sanderson and a script draft with sketches, which I found a nice addition to the volume as well as a nice way to see a bit more of the creative process.

For Marvel fans, this volume is a must-have. For some of them, they may find themselves wishing this or that hero had more "play time," but overall they will enjoy the story. For Gaiman fans, there is no need to be concerned he got away from things like The Sandman. Yes, this is different, but it is still Gaiman. He has taken the Marvel mythos and done something new and unique with it. It is more than just an alternate timeline but a fresh look at the characters and their mythology. Gaiman's ability to explore mythology and tell a good story lives on in this volume. For the casual fantasy reader or occassional comics reader, this volume is a good recommendation as well. While I think fans who know the Marvel universe will be fine, I think the casual readers do not need to be experts in order to appreciate the work. If you are a reader wondering if you should read comics, this may be a good entry work. Overall, I highly recommend it. My edition is the softcover edition; libraries may want to consider buying the hardcover as this looks like it could be a popular volume in terms of circulation.


Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

This sounds like an interesting book to read. I used to be a Marvel fan, and now, I teach Medieval and Renaissance literature, so it might be right up my current alley.

By the way, I added to you my blogroll under "Stuff with 'Gypsy' in the Title."

Jeffery "Gypsy Scholar" Hodges

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Angel, librarian and educator said...

Haha on the blogroll placing. Welcome and thanks for stopping by. Yes, I think given your area of scholarly interest, the book would definitely be worth a look. I will have to stop by your blog sometime. In the meantime,


Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

If you drop by, you'll find the category near the bottom of my blogroll.

No reflection on things Gypsy. I've linked to my own self there.

Jeffery Hodges

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Horace Jeffery Hodges said...
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Horace Jeffery Hodges said...
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