Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A Marvelous Read

Just finished reading Neil Gaiman’s Marvel 1602, the graphic novel wherein he re-envisions several major Marvel characters and situates them in England, 1602. It’s a fascinating piece of entwining both the fictional Marvel universe and the real universe—or at least real figures from our history. To really appreciate what Gaiman did one needs a bit of familiarity with the Marvel characters. That is both the strength and the weakness of the book. Without extensive knowledge of Marvel lore, the juxtaposition may come off as but a curious exercise. But those in the know can have the satisfaction of being “in on the joke,” so to speak. And what interesting juxtapositions Gaiman created! Capt. America as an American Indian, Dr. Strange as Queen Elizabeth’s court magician, Magneto as the Grand Inquisitor: there is giddy joy in discovering their re-imagined characters. Marvel 1602 will not gain new Gaiman fans, but will certainly cement his reputation with the faithful as an inventive writer who can infuse new life into modern legends. Truly, to paraphrase The Watcher, this book is indeed full of heroes and marvels.


Blogger Saint Eroica said...

long live the gaiman! the "anansi boys" is out elsewhere in the world... i asked powerbooks, they said the books are "on their way" here... fyi, for all gaiman followers... ;)

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anansi's Boys is out! Neil Gaiman will be in the National Book Festival in DC and at will be signing books at a Borders in Arlington, VA---guess who's staking out both events :-D

I do agree that 1602 is not for a Marvel Newbie, although a Gaiman newbie and general comic appreciator might have had just as much fun as a Marvel afficionado. I consider myself average Marvel-literate, and I still had to mull over a few things. I especially enjoyed the niche he worked out for the X-Men.

What's really cool was that I ordered my whole 1602 collection from Dreamhaven.com, which is this store where Gaiman lives---and they had Neil autograph my "Endless Nights" copy coz I ordered them together! Haaay, I'm such a Gaiman groupie . . .


2:41 AM  
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