Marvel: Year by Year – A Visual History (2017) – Tom Brevoort, Tom DeFalco, Matthew K. Manning, Peter Sanderson, Stephen Wiacek and Dorling Kindersley

I loved the Star Wars: Year by Year book when it was released by DK Books, and delighted in the nostalgia the book recalled, as well as the incredible mass of information at my fingertips  that I could dig into at a moment’s notice.

So, when I got my hands on the Marvel Year by Year book, I knew it was going to be something special. And I could pull a Stan Lee and simply say ‘Nuff Said, but that really wouldn’t do this massive tome justice.

From the first incarnation of Marvel comics, it’s growth as Timely Comics, from its delving into superhero and romance stories,  from its four colour images to the hues and shades of the 21st century, the book, fact-filled and beautiful takes you through the house that Stan built.

That, of course, is giving way too much credit to one person, because what about Jack Kirby? Joe Simon? Miller? McFarlane? and countless other writers, artists, and editors who brought the Marvel Comic Book Universe to life.

Each year is broken down, there is context for what was happening in the world, and you can watch the development of your favourite characters, and encounter books, as well as heroes and villains you may never have heard of.

Watch the evolution of Peter Parker’s Spider-Man from his first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15 to the point when Miles Morales takes over the mantle, not to mention the Ultimate iterations of the beloved character.

There are books in here that I had long forgotten – kids who grew up in the 70s may certainly recall Shogun Warriors! I was delighted to hear this one mentioned, because I didn’t remember it until it popped up in the book.


The story arcs are here, the deaths, the rebirths, the cross-overs, the clashes, the Civil Wars.

I think the only thing that I felt was really lacking from the book was that it focused completely on its own in-house material. Being a huge movie fan, I would devour the comic adaptations of some of my favourite films, and the series that spawned from them. Sadly, the short Star Trek series following The Motion Picture isn’t mentioned, nor is the Indiana Jones series, Star Wars does, however, get a brief plug.

That being said the wealth of information on hand is completely engrossing and I found myself enjoying the journey through the past almost 80 years worth of material.

You’ll discover first appearances, surprise cross-overs and you will, marvel, pun intended, at some of the gorgeous art on display here, splashy pages featuring covers, and iconic images from some of the most popular runs, as well as glimpses of odd titles like Astonishing and My Diary.

DK never fails to impress with their books, and this fantastic companion piece for comic collectors is an exemplary example of the fine work they continue to oversee. I loved delving into the history of Marvel, the ins and outs, their successes, their failures, and discovering the building blocks that led to the creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Stunning, lavish, and fact-filled, this book personifies the phrase Make Mine Marvel, and on that note, in the words of Stan Lee…




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