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The Astonishing ANT-MAN
Volume One
Featuring TALES to ASTONISH #27 & #''s 35-60

by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Don Heck, & Bob Powell, et al

Paperback: 528 pages
Marvel Books
ISBN: 078510822X
This book is a great collection of fun, oddball, comics. Featuring a character that was obviously a creator favorite, given the many revamps. They just couldn't give up on the guy! Many of these stories have been quite hard to come by, even for hardcore fans, unlike the old FF or Spiderman or other more popular characters who have all been reprinted more frequently.
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby originally started out scripting and drawing the adventures of Henry Pym, a scientist who developed a way to communicate telepathically with ants and subsequently used this technology to fight crime (most likely inspired by the film The Incredible Shrinking Man) but they soon moved on to other things and turned it over to Stan's brother Larry Lieber and frequent Kirby inker and western & war comic vet Dick Ayers. This was not uncommon, since as Marvel grew they just couldn't do everything. They also developed and handed off Thor, Iron Man, and others. Lieber and Ayers, while certainly accomplished pros, were not possessed of the magic synergy that Lee and Kirby had, so Ant-Man's exploits weren't quite as remarkable as the FF's or Spidey's. Eventually, it was decided to have Pym give his girlfriend, socialite Janet Van Dyne, shrinking powers, wings and "biological stingers", dub her the Wasp, and become his crime fighting partner. Soon after, he figured out how to grow ten feet tall and renamed himself Giant-Man. Other artists and writers soon followed, most notably Bob Powell, who drew a great Wasp, and the pair faced a mix of second string villians like the Human Top, the Black Knight, the Eraser, and other assorted aliens and mad scientists. In one memorable issue, Giant- Man accidentally enlarged a spider and was blocked from reaching his helmet controls to restore it to its normal size. Made for a tense situation for several pages...

A variety of powers, costumes, and situations were tried out, but Giant-Man and the Wasp never really caught on with the comic buying public. Eventually, the Powers That Be decided to divide Tales To Astonish between GM and new stories featuring the Hulk, and about a year later they dropped old High Pockets completely in favor of new Sub-Mariner stories. Giant Man and the Wasp still appeared in the Avengers, but it was clear they had lost their opportunity to shine brightly in the Marvel firmament.

While these stories in this collection don't always feature the absolute best of 60's Marvel by any stretch, they are still fun reads, like those old drive-in movies weren't always great films but were still very entertaining. Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne had a sort of Nick and Nora Charles type banter that was always a highlight, and the last two-parter in this collection emphasized their relationship in a way that was still novel to comics back then.

Wild, silly villains and the black & white format not only keeps the price down but gives you a great opportunity to see the quality of the cartoonists line work, apart from the primitive coloring of the time.

Dimensions (in inches): 0.98 x 9.64 x 7.02
Check out our entire AVENGERS listing:
Essential Avengers: Volume One
Under Siege
The Morgan Conquest
Avengers Forever
ULTRON Unlimited

and more!
The Avengers-Defenders War
by Steve Englehart, Bob Brown, & Sal Buscema, et al
Paperback: 176 pages
Marvel Books
ISBN: 0785108440
The Definitive Marvel Cross-Over!

This trade covers the whole of Avengers #116-118 and Defenders #9-11, as well as the parts of Avengers #115 and Defenders #8 that acted as prologue to the later issues. The trade is 128 pages in length, with a stunning cover by fantastic contemporary comic artist Carlos Pacheco.

This is the classic Avengers/Defenders War that defined the cross-over! Steve Englehart, writer, along with Bob Brown and Sal Buscema as artists created a masterpiece. It's about Loki, the Avengers first adversary, and how he teams up with Dr. Strange's nemesis, Dormammu to destroy Earth's Mightiest Heroes! It's an all out slug festival to the finish with Marvel's finest talent. Bob Brown was one of comicdom's most under-rated artists, also doing the art chores on Daredevil, Batman, and (the original) Superboy. Sal Buscema was a workhorse and provided a lot of classic material that still stands up today, the Defenders being one of his finest moments. Writer Steve Englehart wrote both the Avengers and Defenders, plus Captain America.  He also wrote the definitive Batman long before a man named Miller had even gotten to Daredevil.
Dimensions (in inches): 0.24 x 9.96 x 6.64
The Client
The Marvel Knights Collection
by Christopher Priest & Mark Texeira
Paperback: 128 pages
Marvel Books
ISBN: 0785107894
T'Challa, chieftain of Africa's Wakanda nation, is known to most of the Marvel Universe as the Black Panther and sometime Avenger. Being the Panther is more than just being a super hero, it also represents something sacred to the Wakandan people. The demands on T'Challa are great but despite his best efforts, Wakanda and its mineral wealth are dragged more and more into the public spotlight.
When T'Challa comes to America, government agent Everett K. Ross is assigned as an escort. He figured it would be easy work and just tailed along with the King's entourage. However, when the bullets start flying and the super-villains come calling, and political intrigue is discovered back home, Ross is in for the adventure of a lifetime. The Client, Ross's description of the Panther, befriends the befuddled agent but that may not be such a good thing.

From Marvel Comics:
Writer Christopher Priest, known for his work on Acclaim's Quantum & Woody and DC Comics' Justice League Task Force, brings a fresh voice to the Marvel Universe and takes readers on a thrill ride of unparalleled proportion.

Collecting the first story arc from the critically acclaimed Marvel Knights relaunch! 

Government agent Everett K. Ross thought he had it easy. I mean, how difficult could it be to guard an African king? Pretty darn difficult -- if that king is T'Challa, a.k.a. the Black Panther! And it doesn't get any easier when the demon called Mephisto knocks on the door! Reprinting Black Panther #1 to #5.

Writer Christopher Priest and artist Mark Texeira unite for a story that reads as good as it looks!

128-page trade paperback.

Enemy of the State
The Marvel Knights Collection
by Christopher Priest, Joe Jusko, Mike Manley,
& M. D. Bright
Paperback: 160 pages
Marvel Books
ISBN: 0785108297
Black Panther: Enemy of the State continues the story that began in the Black Panther: The Client TPB and collects issue #6-12 of the monthly series by Marvel Comics.
The Panther (a.k.a., T'Challa, king of the African nation of Wakanda) has discovered that while he was away from his homeland, he has become the victim of a coup. The madman, Achebe, has taken over, apparently with the help of the Panther's own stepmother. In the meantime, T'Challa must deal with assassination attempts, dirty CIA deals and the interference of his former teammates, the superpowered Avengers.

Christopher Priest's Black Panther is always one step ahead of his enemies. He's acutely aware of his opponents' motives and always seems to be prepared for any contingency. With the continuing (and often hilarious) narration of State Department liaison and Panther-friend, Everett Ross, we're taken on a wild ride as the Panther faces down his enemies one by one and battles to reclaim his lost throne.

The first few chapters are beautifully painted by the famed Joe Jusko and the last amicably illustrated by animation wiz Mike Manley and long-time comics veteran, M.D. Bright.

Black Panther: Enemy of the State is comics with brains, not just brawn.

Dimensions (in inches): 0.34 x 9.64 x 6.98
The Marvel Knights Collection
by Devin K. Grayson, Greg Rucka, J. G. Jones,
& Scott Hampton
Paperback: 144 pages
Marvel Books
ISBN: 0785107843
Natasha Romanov, a.k.a. the Black Widow, has always led an exciting life. First as a Soviet spy, fighting on the Cold War front-line, followed by her defection to the West and eventual work in the Avengers. She has earned a reputation over the years as a consummate professional, coldly efficient and as deadly as her namesake.
Now, her time as Black Widow has come to into doubt. Yelena Belova, the new Russian Black Widow, seeks to reclaim the mantle she feels was stolen from her Motherland. Trained in the arts of espionage and combat and anxious to prove herself and eliminate her namesake, Belova will stop at nothing to achieve her goal. The two will battle on an international stage, from the deserts of the Middle East to the New York`s Upper West Side. When the smoke clears, will either woman be left standing?

This title embodies all the tension and action of traditional espionage novels. From the steps of the Kremlin to the lowest levels of the Pentagon, this is a story of blurred identity in a confused, post-Cold War arena.

Dimensions (in inches): 0.30 x 10.06 x 6.68
Blade II
by Steve Gerber & Alberto Ponticelli
With classic Blade stories from The TOMB of DRACULA by Marv Wolfman,Gene Colan, & Tom Palmer
Paperback: 176 pages
Marvel Books
ISBN: 0785108971
The adaptation by Steve Gerber & Alberto Ponticelli is supplemented by nine stories reprinting the original Blade from the TOMB OF DRACULA by Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan, & Tom Palmer.
Dimensions (in inches): 0.38 x 9.68 x 7.00
(March 2002)
The Last Ride
of the Western Heroes
by John Ostrander & Leonardo Manco
Paperback: 96 pages
Marvel Books
ISBN: 0785109064
Ragnarok Comes for Marvel's Western Heroes

Back in the days before comic shops, when everyone could read comics, Marvel published a variety of comics suited to the tastes of the general public.  Westerns among them.  In this grim graphic novel, the Marvel Western heroes of the 1960's and early 70's come to a fitting end.

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