Comic Book Brain

Penguin Preprint Marvel Comics

The new Penguin Reprint collections of Spider-Man, Captain America and Black PantherAV Club

July 6, 2022

One of the nice features of the new books is that, production wise, they pay attention to simple things like not sinking pages into the gutter of the book binding. Penguin provides a fairly minimal margin space so that you don't have to nearly crack the spine to read any balloon dialogue disappearing into the book's spine. Simple production basics that DC and Marvel have not bothered to pay attention to in the past in many instances.

Prestigious reprints of comic books have been around for a long time, thanks to the surge of value for the first issue of Action Comics or whatever and the gradual evolution of culture as the kids who read comic books have become grown-ups who spend money on tickets to comic book movies and comic book video games and comic book toys. Those prestigious reprints are usually handled by the original publisher, though, making them tools for the companies to promote their characters or stories...

Penguin Classics’ new line of Marvel collections, at least in theory, are different. Rather than Marvel itself saying “these Spider-Man comics are important,” it’s Penguin Classics, which creates a fascinating new layer to what makes these new books “prestigious.” This is the company with the uniform cover designs and that make everything look nice on the shelf, the company that ostensibly has very high standards about what is worthy of being labeled a Penguin Classic. These books are a Big Deal and now Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Captain America are among them.

The New Penguin Marvel collection books reviewed by Michael Dirda at Washington Post

Dirda is famous in the world of journalism for book reviews, and for essays that survey and evaluate books, new and ancient (example Classics For Pleasure ).

In the course of his talking about the new Penguin Marvel books, he notes that obvious thing I've heard from other people, that the simple production values of the Penguin books are better than what we've got in the past (though Dirda doesn't put it that way, but comparing with the many older collections of this material from the past is not avoidable).

I didn't grow up in the Marvel Universe. Between the ages of 8 and 13, I was raptly devoted to DC Comics, to the adventures of Superman, Flash, Green Lantern and the whole crew of the Justice League of America.
...All this past spring, then, I was eagerly looking forward to recapturing some of that ancient enchantment by immersing myself in six colorful volumes of Marvel superhero comics: three Penguin Classics collections of the early adventures of Spider-Man, Captain America and Black Panther, and three Folio Society best-of collections devoted to Spider-Man, Captain America and Hulk. Old mysteries and adventure stories deliver a dose of comic-book action For fans, both series are desirable and contain little overlap. The general editor of the Penguin editions, Ben Saunders, a comics scholar from the University of Oregon, provides historical background on how Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and others co-created these modern legends.

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Original Page July 13, 2022