75 Years of Marvel Superheroes Shows the Evolution of Comic Art

By Matt Hill on at

It's been a year of Marvel this and Marvel that, so it's rather fitting that it should all be wrapped up by an absolutely enormous book on the comic firm's history underneath your Christmas tree. But the hardcover 75 Years of Marvel Comics: From the Golden Age to the Silver Screen is a cut above the standard seasonal cash-grab – coming in the chunky "XL" format, this is 29cm x 37cm of pure book.

It's quality as well as quantity. From vintage custom artwork to early behind-the-scenes production snaps, Taschen art director Josh Baker has lavished 2,000 images over the 700 pages. Marvel writer and editor Roy Thomas has typed an extensive history around the pretty pictures, littered with writer and artist biographies.

Nostalgic in all the right places, covering the deadlines and the details as well as the comics and the capers, it's really very handsome indeed.

There's also a 4ft folding accordion-like timeline if you're in to those.

At £135, someone needs to like you a fair bit to have one planned for some under-the-tree action, but there are plenty more John Lewis ads to go before present time, so plenty of time to be nice. In the meantime, here are some of the highlights…

The new book's cover and Spider-Man's first appearance in Amazing Fantasy No 15 (1962).

On deadline with Bill Everett, freelance artist for Centaur Comics and co-creator of Amazing Man (1939). (c) Wendy Everett/Courtesy TASCHEN

Artist Steve Ditko redesigns Iron Man's bulky armour for the more modern look in Tales of Suspense No 48 (1963). 

Publisher Martin Goodman with a 1941 proof of Al Avison's cover for Captain America Comics No 11. Photo courtesy Jason Goodman/Courtesy TASCHEN.

The transition from cover rough to original art to published cover on John Romita's Captain America No 114 (1969).

75 Years of Marvel Comics loves a bit of creative white space. 

But so do we, and there's plenty of space to go round. Seriously, look at the bloody size of it…

All other images (c) MARVEL/Courtesy TASCHEN