Part of Marvel’s celebration of the 80th anniversary release of “Marvel Comics #1” includes teaming up with with British publishing house The Folio Society for a gorgeous hardcover release of “Marvel: The Golden Age 1939 – 1949.” This release includes a facsimile of “Marvel Comics #1” and a clothbound hardback book featuring “The Sub-Mariner #1,” “The Human Torch #5,” “Captain America Comics #10” and “All Winners Comics #19.”
In 1939 Marvel was known as Timely Publications and its superhero roster was headlined by the likes of The Human Torch, Captain America and the Sub-Mariner. This collection focuses heavily on the introduction of those characters. However, the most historically significant title is “All Winners Comics #19.” Initially “All Winner Comics” was a quarterly publication that collected stand-alone stories featuring Marvel’s biggest characters. Issue 19, released in fall of 1946, was a crossover event that assembled Marvel’s first superhero team the All-Winners Squad. The group featured the Human Torch, Captain America and Sub-Mariner with smaller characters the Whizzer and Miss America. The team would appear together again in “All Winners Comics #21” (oddly, there was never an issue #20) before going into hiatus. In 1963 the team was resuscitated as a group known as The Avengers.
For those unfamiliar with The Folio Society’s releases, I fell in love with them two or three years ago. For book nerds, a group I’d happily be associated with, these are the second-best option to owning a first printing. Their collection includes a wide range of authors and genres that spans across hundreds of years. There’s everything from George R. R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones” to Jane Austen’s “Northanger Abbey” with Voltaire’s “Candide” in between.
“Marvel: The Golden Age 1939 – 1949” features lettering by artist-illustrator Ian Jepson and comes in a handmade clamshell case with original artwork by Marco D’Alfonso (“Miles Morales: Spider-Man,” “I Am Groot”). D’Alfonso has also created an exclusive print for the collection.