Marvel Fireside Books

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Marvel Fireside Books Series was a series of full-color trade paperbacks featuring Marvel Comics stories and characters co-published by Marvel and the Simon & Schuster division Fireside Books from 1974 to 1979.

The series enabled fans of the old comics to have access to the stories without having to pay exorbitant prices for the original back issues. It introduced new readers to the work of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and other Marvel creators, and packaged the material in a traditional book format that carried more caché than the flimsy pamphlet style of a typical comic book. Many of the books featured painted covers illustrated by such artists as Bob Larkin, John Romita, Sr., and Earl Norem. In this way, the series was an antecedent to the now common practice of packaging "classic" stories into archival editions and trade paperback collections including Marvel's 1998 book Grandson of Origins of Marvel Comics.

Publishing history[edit]

The Silver Surfer (1978), the only Marvel Fireside edition featuring original material. Cover art by Earl Norem.

Marvel Publisher Stan Lee came up with the idea of compiling the origins of some of their most popular characters in a book format similar to Jules Feiffer's 1965 book The Great Comic Book Heroes. Teaming up with Fireside, a young-adult imprint of Simon & Schuster, Marvel initially produced Origins of Marvel Comics in 1974,[1] featuring the origins of the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Spider-Man, Thor, and Doctor Strange. Like the books to follow, Origins featured a foreword by Lee, and short introductions to each section, which followed the format of presenting the character's origin followed by a contemporary story by current Marvel contributors.

Origins of Marvel Comics was followed in 1975 with Son of Origins of Marvel Comics, featuring the origins of the X-Men, Iron Man, The Avengers, Daredevil, Nick Fury, the Watcher, and the Silver Surfer.

The two Origins books were followed by Bring on the Bad Guys, origins of a selection of Marvel villains; and The Superhero Women, featuring some of Marvel's most popular female superheroes. Eventually, the series moved away from origin stories and published collections of classic stories with individual characters such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Captain America, and Doctor Strange.

One of the Marvel Fireside Books superhero story editions was not a reprint but an original story. 1978's The Silver Surfer, by Stan Lee, with art by Kirby and Joe Sinnott, was a new take on the late 1960s icon; and is considered by many to be one of the first true "graphic novels".[2]

In conjunction with their reprint collections, Marvel and Fireside also produced a number of activity and game books, how-to books, and even a cookbook, again all featuring Marvel characters. The most well-known and popular book of this kind was 1978's How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, which is still in print.

Marvel/Fireside published 24 different books, many with multiple printings in both hardcover and paperback.

DC Fireside books[edit]

DC Comics also formed a short-lived partnership with Fireside in 1979–1980, producing three titles.

Original graphic novels[edit]

  • The Silver Surfer: The Ultimate Cosmic Experience, 114 pages, September 1978, ISBN 978-0671242251

Reprint collections[edit]

Activity and how-to titles[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Saffel, Steve (2007). "A Novel Approach". Spider-Man the Icon: The Life and Times of a Pop Culture Phenomenon. Titan Books. p. 98. ISBN 978-1-84576-324-4. "It was Simon and Shuster's trade division Fireside Books that published some of the most influential comic book collections of all time, beginning with Stan Lee's Origins of Marvel Comics, released in 1974." 
  2. ^ Sanderson, Peter; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1970s". Marvel Chronicle: A Year by Year History. Dorling Kindersley. p. 187. ISBN 978-0756641238. "[In 1978], Simon & Shuster's Fireside Books published a paperback book titled The Silver Surfer by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby...This book was later recognized as Marvel's first true graphic novel." 

External links[edit]