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This Collection of Marvel's Earliest Comics Is Absolutely, Well, Marvelous

Behold, a very pretty pile of retro comics goodness.
Behold, a very pretty pile of retro comics goodness.
Image: All images: The Folio Society

This year, Marvel Comics turns 80, and the company is already doing all sorts of things to celebrate its big anniversary. But one of the latest is a collaboration with high-end book publisher the Folio Society that’s giving us a gorgeous recreation of one of the comics that started it all.


The just-revealed Marvel Comics: The Golden Age 1939-1949 is a hardback collection of some of the earliest and most influential comics of the publisher’s earliest years—back when it was still called Timely Comics rather than Marvel. Specially curated by famous Marvel editor Roy Thomas, the hardback (presented in a retro-comics-inspired case designed by Marco D’Alfonso) collects five comics from that initial decade covering some of Marvel’s formative characters, from Namor the Sub-Mariner, to the original Human Torch, to Captain America.

Illustration for article titled This Collection of Marvels Earliest Comics Is Absolutely, Well, Marvelous

One of the most interesting of the five is a 64-page facsimile of the first issue in the series that would one day give Timely its famous name: Marvel Comics #1. Every comic in the collection is based on archival vintage material from both Marvel’s own archives and the private collections of fans, seeking to ensure the most faithful and accurate representations of the original material are brought to life.

Illustration for article titled This Collection of Marvels Earliest Comics Is Absolutely, Well, Marvelous

If all that wasn’t enough, the hardback also comes with a bonus print by D’Alfonso himself featuring the characters included in the collection, which, between Cap, Namor, and Jim Hammond (the original, android Human Torch), is essentially an Invaders reunion with a few extra guest stars.


But that marvelous-ness also carries on over to the price: When it releases September 25, The Golden Age will cost you a whopping $225. Considering the Folio Society plans on more collaborations with Marvel going forward, you’re gonna wanna start saving up now if this catches your interest.

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James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

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If my mom were still alive, she would probably love to see this. She would have been six when Marvel Comics #1 came out in late 1939,and back in the early 1990s when I showed her a hardbound reprint of it, I asked her if she remembered reading it (she hadn’t opened it up yet).

“Sure I did; it had Submariner in it!” (wouldn’t you know my mom went for the anti-hero as a child :))

She talked about how she and her friends, during the war went on paper drives for recycling, which was what happened to many of the comics during the war. They also used to collect the comics to send to the boys fighting overseas.

I never saw her read comics when I was growing up in the 60s and 70s, but she did mention that, in the early years of her marriage to my dad (they got married in 1949) he used to buy her the horror comics to read...I could imagine she would have went to town on my EC reprints. After all, she really enjoyed the Tales from the Crypt TV series!