Over the past 80 years, Marvel has published tens of thousands of comic books. With new comics being released every week, the Marvel Universe can be a pretty difficult place to keep track of, and that's before considering the ever-growing stream of new Marvel movies, shows and video games. While it would take decades to consume every piece of Marvel content ever released, there are plenty of books that condense Marvel's real and fictional history for anyone who wants to know everything about Marvel.
However, there's still a dizzying array of books, guides, indexes and encyclopedias about Marvel. Now, CBR is going to cut through the clutter with some recommendations that will turn just about anyone into a Marvel Comics expert. For fans who are still taking their first steps into the wider Marvel Universe or seasoned readers who want to know more about their favorite stories, these are the books that will turn anyone into a Marvel expert.
GET IT NOW FROM: $25.47
Marvel Encyclopedia is essentially the ultimate book of Marvel Universe knowledge. This massive volume has detailed encyclopedia-style entries for over 1,200 Marvel characters and dozens of stories, from Marvel icons like Wolverine and Black Panther to obscure minor characters like 3-D Man and Frog-Man.
For fans of any age, this well-designed oversized hardcover is an ideal way to jump headfirst into Marvel's comic book history without buying hundreds of back issues. Updated editions of the Marvel Encyclopedia are released fairly regularly, and the newly-released 2019 volume is packed with all of the latest information about the original Marvel Universe.
Marvel Studios Visual Dictionary
GET IT NOW: $17.89
For fans of Marvel movies, the Marvel Studios Visual Dictionary, by Adam Bray, is the ideal way to start learning more about Marvel's big screen superheroes. Through character-specific profiles, this volume highlights the costumes, weapons, tools and other gadgets of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's biggest heroes and villains.
With entries that stretch from 2008's Iron Man up through last year's Ant-Man and the Wasp, this book covers the first ten years of Marvel Studios releases. With a more focused scope than most other Marvel books out there, this title is well-suited to younger readers or fans of prop and costume design.
Marvel Year by Year: A Visual History
GET IT NOW: $28.81
Where most Marvel books take a character-approach to Marvel history, Marvel Year by Year takes a more linear approach. Starting with Marvel Comics #1 in 1939, this massive book breaks down the biggest Marvel events on a month-by-month basis. While that might seem like an intimidating amount of information, the elegantly-designed book mixes dynamic artwork with digestible pieces of information that will keep anyone turning pages.
From landmarks like the debut of major characters or the start of famous comic book stories, this book offers a comprehensive take on Marvel's publishing history that should even satisfy the most hardcore Marvel fans.
Marvel: The Untold Story
GET IT NOW: $9.98
While the heroes of Marvel Comics usually take the spotlight, Sean Howe's Marvel: The Untold Story takes a comprehensive look at the real-world history of the publisher. Creators like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and dozens of other familiar names take center stage as Howe traces the compelling story of how Marvel grew from a fledgling comics publisher in the 1930s to most powerful name in pop culture.
Where most chronicles of Marvel history have the sheen of an officially sanctioned history, Howe's thoroughly-researched prose book doesn't shy away from the more controversial parts of Marvel's history. Drawing on 150 interviews with Marvel veterans, Untold Story condenses the kind of behind-the-scenes stories that've been passed along at comic conventions and in scattered interviews for decades into one digestible volume.
Slugfest: The Epic Battle Between Marvel and DC
GET IT NOW: $19.46
The greatest rivalry in comics isn't between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin or Batman and the Joker; it's between Marvel and DC Comics. For the better part of a century, those two publishers have largely defined what superheroes can be while consistently trying to one-up each other in an eternal struggle for sales and cultural superiority.
Reed Tucker's Slugfest: Inside the Epic, 50-Year Battle Between Marvel and DC transforms this endless rivalry into a breezy, easy-to-read prose narrative. For seasoned superhero fans and casual aficionados alike, this story has enough shocking revelations to keep readers engaged from the publishers' humble beginnings to their modern day cinematic universes. Filled with new interviews with legendary comic creators, Slugfest proves that the behind-the-scenes war between Marvel and DC is as compelling as any superhero crisis.
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