History Main / Marvels

19th Oct '13 1:17:17 PM StFan
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[[quoteright:197:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/marvels.jpg]]

->''As I have learned since, I was not the first anomaly to exist... but on that day of my freedom in 1939, this world had its first confrontation with the fantastic. The [[TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] of miracles would begin, and in the years to come, the world would know the presence of the unnatural and extraordinary as part of reality.''
-->-- '''The Human Torch''', ''Marvels'' #0

Marvels is a 4-issue mini-series, running from January to April, 1994. An exploration of the history of the MarvelUniverse from the perspective of an [[TheEveryman Everyman]], written by Creator/KurtBusiek and beautifully illustrated by [[ComicBook/KingdomCome Alex Ross]].

'''Warning: Spoilers follow'''

It's [[TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks 1939]] and Phil Sheldon is a young freelance photojournalist. He's interested in going over to Europe, where he knows trouble is brewing, and he has a young fiance, Doris. This all changes, however, when he's at the press conference where Phineas Horton announces his newest creation -- the robot known as the Human Torch. Soon, other "marvels" appear, the {{Sub-Mariner}} and CaptainAmerica among them, and Phil can only watch on the sidelines, both awed and fearful. He hopes that they will leave, that this will all pass... but he knows better.

It's the [[TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks 1960s]] and Phil Sheldon has two daughters and a thriving career. With the ComicBook/FantasticFour and the [[ComicBook/TheAvengers Avengers]] dominating the headlines, this seems to be an era of prosperity, where superheroes are the new celebrities. But even now, there's a dark side: mutants, ''homo superior''. Even Phil seems afraid of them, but soon comes to realize his own prejudices when he finds his daughters have helped and hidden a little mutant girl from an angry [[TorchesAndPitchforks mob]]. Soon, the public even turns against the other superheroes. Even after the FF save the world from {{Galactus}}, the public seems to both love and hate the heroes.

Even after Phil's book ''Marvels'' comes out, he can't help seeing the story in the public's reaction. In his efforts to write another book and clear ComicBook/{{Spider-Man}}'s name of Captain Stacy's murder, he meets and interviews Gwen Stacy. But what happens when superheroes fail? Where do you go when you start being within the story instead of outside?

''Marvels'' was published in 1994. Soon afterwards, several followups with a roughly similar format came out:
* ''Tales of the Marvels: Blockbuster'' (April 1995)
* ''Ruins'' (Aug-Sep 1995), a CrapsackWorld version by WarrenEllis
* ''Tales of the Marvels: The Wonder Years'' (Aug-Sep 1996)
* ''Tales of the Marvels: Inner Demons'' (1996)

The direct sequel ''Marvels: Eye of the Camera'', also written by Busiek, came out as a six issue series [[ScheduleSlip from 2008 to 2010]].
----
!!This comic provides examples of:

* AllOfTheOtherReindeer: Spider-Man and the ComicBook/{{X-Men}}, especially in the second part where Phil speculates that the mutants are here to replace us and kick the dirt over our graves. A key theme of the story is Phil's increasing disgust at how much dirt and ingratitude the heroes constantly have to put up with despite selflessly saving the people, the city and even the entire world over and over again.
* BittersweetEnding: [[ItWasHisSled Gwen Stacy dies]]. Phil can't believe people would simply forget about her and go on, eventually realizing that he's inside the story now instead of outside and he can't be objective. So he retires with his wife and daughters.
* CensorSteam: Namor's nudity is cleverly disguised by waves and careful placement.
* ComicBookFantasyCasting: Alex Ross used models for certain characters, such as [[{{Queen}} Fred Mercury]] for Namor, [[JamesBond Timothy Dalton]] for Tony Stark, [[GilligansIsland Russel Johnson]] for Reed Richards, and, most notably, PatrickStewart for Professor Xavier, years before the actor [[Film/{{X-Men}} would be cast for that same character]]. Don Knotts also appears as an extra.
* ComicBookTime: Mostly averted; Busiek chose to set his story at the times when the characters involved were first published, before this trope was really an issue.
* DawnOfAnEra: The beginning of TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks, the beginning of TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks.
* DramaticIrony: Phil briefly encounters Peter Parker, who he pretty much hates because of the way he profits off of giving SpiderMan pictures to the Daily Bugle which are then used to slander him.
** Phil at the end says he's ''through'' with superheroes and never wants to be around one. He tells his daughter to take a picture of him with a nice ''normal'' kid, a newspaper delivery boy by the name of [[Comicbook/GhostRider Danny Ketch]].
* TheEveryman: Phil Sheldon
* FantasticRacism / FantasticSlur: As is common with works relating to the X-Men. Complete with ridiculous claims of mutants enslaving humanity, paranoid riots, and more. The Fantastic Slur in question is, of course, mutie.
* ForegoneConclusion: Even if you know a bit of the Marvel Universe history, you know Reed Richards defeats Galactus or that Gwen Stacy dies. But even knowing that, it's still interesting to see it all from a new perspective.
* ForWantOfANail: WarrenEllis's alternate universe ''Ruins'', where everything that could go wrong ''[[CrapsackWorld did]]''.
* InnocentBystanderSeries
* LampshadeHanging: When Galactus "visits" a second time, Phil's apathy (he's just sitting there fishing) may reflect just how insignificant and little-known the story was in RealLife.
* TheMerch: Partially subverted, as {{Wolverine}} (the foremost Marvel Comics vehicle) is completely absent, yet the X-Men are not; other huge Marvel vehicles such as {{Spiderman}}, CaptainAmerica and TheHulk do show up.
* MetafictionalTitle: Near the end, Phil publishes his book Marvels that the graphic novel is named for.
* MythologyGag: Lots. One of Phil's friends when he was young was NickFury.
** At the end, Phil states he'll have ''nothing'' to do with superheroes ever again, and has his picture taken when a young paperboy - who is [[Comicbook/GhostRider Danny Ketch]].
* NamesTheSame: Acknowledged with Phil Sheldon and Ben Urich's wives, who are both named Doris.
* OnlySaneMan: Apparently, Phil Sheldon is the ''only'' person outside of the Marvel superhero community who actually notices that superheroes take a lot of crap despite everything they do.
** In a further note, Sheldon realizes that Gwen Stacy is the only person that can see beauty and experience a tremendous joy through all the apparent chaos that the ''Marvels'' cause, even when she is still mourning for her father. This makes her death pack a punch from an entirely different angle, though not less painful altogether.
* {{Deconstruction}} / {{Reconstruction}}
* ShamingTheMob: Only works once, where Phil overcomes his fear of a little mutant girl (although he wasn't part of a mob at the time, he previously was part of one where he threw a brick at Iceman's head. Cyclops keeps Iceman from retaliating by telling him that his attackers "aren't worth it," which doesn't shame the mob but shakes Phil up).
** Arguably when Phil blasts a group of New Yorkers for their constant need to tear down heroes following him walking into another anti-mutant diatribe.
** He's also upset when people doubt the Galactus incident was real.
* ShoutOut: As with Ross' other painted opus, ComicBook/KingdomCome, many, many, many. Maggie, the skull-faced mutant girl, is based on an identical character from an issue of ''ECComics'' Weird Science, the Silk Spectre and Nite Owl from ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'' appear in a machine similar to Archie, Music/TheBeatles appear at Reed and Sue's wedding...
** Phil has a cameo in the last panel of ''ComicBook/KingdomCome''.
** A sailor heavily modelled on ComicStrip/{{Popeye}} also appears in a brief cameo for a panel.
** At a press conference, [[{{Superman}} Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen]] can be seen chatting.
----

to:

[[quoteright:197:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/marvels.jpg]]

->''As I have learned since, I was not the first anomaly to exist... but on that day of my freedom in 1939, this world had its first confrontation with the fantastic. The [[TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] of miracles would begin, and in the years to come, the world would know the presence of the unnatural and extraordinary as part of reality.''
-->-- '''The Human Torch''', ''Marvels'' #0

Marvels is a 4-issue mini-series, running from January to April, 1994. An exploration of the history of the MarvelUniverse from the perspective of an [[TheEveryman Everyman]], written by Creator/KurtBusiek and beautifully illustrated by [[ComicBook/KingdomCome Alex Ross]].

'''Warning: Spoilers follow'''

It's [[TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks 1939]] and Phil Sheldon is a young freelance photojournalist. He's interested in going over to Europe, where he knows trouble is brewing, and he has a young fiance, Doris. This all changes, however, when he's at the press conference where Phineas Horton announces his newest creation -- the robot known as the Human Torch. Soon, other "marvels" appear, the {{Sub-Mariner}} and CaptainAmerica among them, and Phil can only watch on the sidelines, both awed and fearful. He hopes that they will leave, that this will all pass... but he knows better.

It's the [[TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks 1960s]] and Phil Sheldon has two daughters and a thriving career. With the ComicBook/FantasticFour and the [[ComicBook/TheAvengers Avengers]] dominating the headlines, this seems to be an era of prosperity, where superheroes are the new celebrities. But even now, there's a dark side: mutants, ''homo superior''. Even Phil seems afraid of them, but soon comes to realize his own prejudices when he finds his daughters have helped and hidden a little mutant girl from an angry [[TorchesAndPitchforks mob]]. Soon, the public even turns against the other superheroes. Even after the FF save the world from {{Galactus}}, the public seems to both love and hate the heroes.

Even after Phil's book ''Marvels'' comes out, he can't help seeing the story in the public's reaction. In his efforts to write another book and clear ComicBook/{{Spider-Man}}'s name of Captain Stacy's murder, he meets and interviews Gwen Stacy. But what happens when superheroes fail? Where do you go when you start being within the story instead of outside?

''Marvels'' was published in 1994. Soon afterwards, several followups with a roughly similar format came out:
* ''Tales of the Marvels: Blockbuster'' (April 1995)
* ''Ruins'' (Aug-Sep 1995), a CrapsackWorld version by WarrenEllis
* ''Tales of the Marvels: The Wonder Years'' (Aug-Sep 1996)
* ''Tales of the Marvels: Inner Demons'' (1996)

The direct sequel ''Marvels: Eye of the Camera'', also written by Busiek, came out as a six issue series [[ScheduleSlip from 2008 to 2010]].
----
!!This comic provides examples of:

* AllOfTheOtherReindeer: Spider-Man and the ComicBook/{{X-Men}}, especially in the second part where Phil speculates that the mutants are here to replace us and kick the dirt over our graves. A key theme of the story is Phil's increasing disgust at how much dirt and ingratitude the heroes constantly have to put up with despite selflessly saving the people, the city and even the entire world over and over again.
* BittersweetEnding: [[ItWasHisSled Gwen Stacy dies]]. Phil can't believe people would simply forget about her and go on, eventually realizing that he's inside the story now instead of outside and he can't be objective. So he retires with his wife and daughters.
* CensorSteam: Namor's nudity is cleverly disguised by waves and careful placement.
* ComicBookFantasyCasting: Alex Ross used models for certain characters, such as [[{{Queen}} Fred Mercury]] for Namor, [[JamesBond Timothy Dalton]] for Tony Stark, [[GilligansIsland Russel Johnson]] for Reed Richards, and, most notably, PatrickStewart for Professor Xavier, years before the actor [[Film/{{X-Men}} would be cast for that same character]]. Don Knotts also appears as an extra.
* ComicBookTime: Mostly averted; Busiek chose to set his story at the times when the characters involved were first published, before this trope was really an issue.
* DawnOfAnEra: The beginning of TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks, the beginning of TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks.
* DramaticIrony: Phil briefly encounters Peter Parker, who he pretty much hates because of the way he profits off of giving SpiderMan pictures to the Daily Bugle which are then used to slander him.
** Phil at the end says he's ''through'' with superheroes and never wants to be around one. He tells his daughter to take a picture of him with a nice ''normal'' kid, a newspaper delivery boy by the name of [[Comicbook/GhostRider Danny Ketch]].
* TheEveryman: Phil Sheldon
* FantasticRacism / FantasticSlur: As is common with works relating to the X-Men. Complete with ridiculous claims of mutants enslaving humanity, paranoid riots, and more. The Fantastic Slur in question is, of course, mutie.
* ForegoneConclusion: Even if you know a bit of the Marvel Universe history, you know Reed Richards defeats Galactus or that Gwen Stacy dies. But even knowing that, it's still interesting to see it all from a new perspective.
* ForWantOfANail: WarrenEllis's alternate universe ''Ruins'', where everything that could go wrong ''[[CrapsackWorld did]]''.
* InnocentBystanderSeries
* LampshadeHanging: When Galactus "visits" a second time, Phil's apathy (he's just sitting there fishing) may reflect just how insignificant and little-known the story was in RealLife.
* TheMerch: Partially subverted, as {{Wolverine}} (the foremost Marvel Comics vehicle) is completely absent, yet the X-Men are not; other huge Marvel vehicles such as {{Spiderman}}, CaptainAmerica and TheHulk do show up.
* MetafictionalTitle: Near the end, Phil publishes his book Marvels that the graphic novel is named for.
* MythologyGag: Lots. One of Phil's friends when he was young was NickFury.
** At the end, Phil states he'll have ''nothing'' to do with superheroes ever again, and has his picture taken when a young paperboy - who is [[Comicbook/GhostRider Danny Ketch]].
* NamesTheSame: Acknowledged with Phil Sheldon and Ben Urich's wives, who are both named Doris.
* OnlySaneMan: Apparently, Phil Sheldon is the ''only'' person outside of the Marvel superhero community who actually notices that superheroes take a lot of crap despite everything they do.
** In a further note, Sheldon realizes that Gwen Stacy is the only person that can see beauty and experience a tremendous joy through all the apparent chaos that the ''Marvels'' cause, even when she is still mourning for her father. This makes her death pack a punch from an entirely different angle, though not less painful altogether.
* {{Deconstruction}} / {{Reconstruction}}
* ShamingTheMob: Only works once, where Phil overcomes his fear of a little mutant girl (although he wasn't part of a mob at the time, he previously was part of one where he threw a brick at Iceman's head. Cyclops keeps Iceman from retaliating by telling him that his attackers "aren't worth it," which doesn't shame the mob but shakes Phil up).
** Arguably when Phil blasts a group of New Yorkers for their constant need to tear down heroes following him walking into another anti-mutant diatribe.
** He's also upset when people doubt the Galactus incident was real.
* ShoutOut: As with Ross' other painted opus, ComicBook/KingdomCome, many, many, many. Maggie, the skull-faced mutant girl, is based on an identical character from an issue of ''ECComics'' Weird Science, the Silk Spectre and Nite Owl from ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'' appear in a machine similar to Archie, Music/TheBeatles appear at Reed and Sue's wedding...
** Phil has a cameo in the last panel of ''ComicBook/KingdomCome''.
** A sailor heavily modelled on ComicStrip/{{Popeye}} also appears in a brief cameo for a panel.
** At a press conference, [[{{Superman}} Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen]] can be seen chatting.
----
[[redirect:ComicBook/{{Marvels}}]]
15th Sep '13 8:53:10 AM DoctorNemesis
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* AllOfTheOtherReindeer: Spider-Man and the ComicBook/{{X-Men}}, especially in the second part where Phil speculates that the mutants are here to replace us and kick the dirt over our graves.

to:

* AllOfTheOtherReindeer: Spider-Man and the ComicBook/{{X-Men}}, especially in the second part where Phil speculates that the mutants are here to replace us and kick the dirt over our graves. A key theme of the story is Phil's increasing disgust at how much dirt and ingratitude the heroes constantly have to put up with despite selflessly saving the people, the city and even the entire world over and over again.
23rd Jun '13 5:01:42 AM erforce
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** Phil at the end says he's ''through'' with superheroes and never wants to be around one. He tells his daughter to take a picture of him with a nice ''normal'' kid, a newspaper delivery boy by the name of [[GhostRider Danny Ketch]].

to:

** Phil at the end says he's ''through'' with superheroes and never wants to be around one. He tells his daughter to take a picture of him with a nice ''normal'' kid, a newspaper delivery boy by the name of [[GhostRider [[Comicbook/GhostRider Danny Ketch]].
17th Jun '13 7:12:02 PM ZackB
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* ShamingTheMob: Only works once, where Phil overcomes his fear of a little mutant girl (although he wasn't part of a mob at the time, he previously was part of one where he threw a brick at Iceman's head).

to:

* ShamingTheMob: Only works once, where Phil overcomes his fear of a little mutant girl (although he wasn't part of a mob at the time, he previously was part of one where he threw a brick at Iceman's head).head. Cyclops keeps Iceman from retaliating by telling him that his attackers "aren't worth it," which doesn't shame the mob but shakes Phil up).
10th May '13 11:24:42 AM arromdee
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** In a further note, Sheldon realizes that Gwen Stacy is the only person that can see beauty and experience a tremendous joy through all the apparent chaos that the ''Marvels'' cause, even when she is still mourning for her father. This makes [[spoiler: her death pack a punch from an entirely different angle, though not less painful altogether]].

to:

** In a further note, Sheldon realizes that Gwen Stacy is the only person that can see beauty and experience a tremendous joy through all the apparent chaos that the ''Marvels'' cause, even when she is still mourning for her father. This makes [[spoiler: her death pack a punch from an entirely different angle, though not less painful altogether]].altogether.
22nd Feb '13 11:24:16 PM JAF1970
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Added DiffLines:

** Phil at the end says he's ''through'' with superheroes and never wants to be around one. He tells his daughter to take a picture of him with a nice ''normal'' kid, a newspaper delivery boy by the name of [[GhostRider Danny Ketch]].
21st Feb '13 11:42:47 AM nombretomado
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* ComicBookFantasyCasting: Alex Ross used models for certain characters, such as [[{{Queen}} Fred Mercury]] for Namor, [[JamesBond Timothy Dalton]] for Tony Stark, [[GilligansIsland Russel Johnson]] for Reed Richards, and, most notably, PatrickStewart for Professor Xavier, years before the actor [[Film/XMen would be cast for that same character]]. Don Knotts also appears as an extra.

to:

* ComicBookFantasyCasting: Alex Ross used models for certain characters, such as [[{{Queen}} Fred Mercury]] for Namor, [[JamesBond Timothy Dalton]] for Tony Stark, [[GilligansIsland Russel Johnson]] for Reed Richards, and, most notably, PatrickStewart for Professor Xavier, years before the actor [[Film/XMen [[Film/{{X-Men}} would be cast for that same character]]. Don Knotts also appears as an extra.
19th Jan '13 2:42:56 PM Beiahnu
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** In a further note, Sheldon realizes that Gwen Stacy is the only person that can see beauty and experience a tremendous joy through all the apparent chaos that the ''Marvels'' cause, even when she is still mourning for her father.

to:

** In a further note, Sheldon realizes that Gwen Stacy is the only person that can see beauty and experience a tremendous joy through all the apparent chaos that the ''Marvels'' cause, even when she is still mourning for her father. This makes [[spoiler: her death pack a punch from an entirely different angle, though not less painful altogether]].
19th Jan '13 2:39:51 PM Beiahnu
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Added DiffLines:

** In a further note, Sheldon realizes that Gwen Stacy is the only person that can see beauty and experience a tremendous joy through all the apparent chaos that the ''Marvels'' cause, even when she is still mourning for her father.
17th Jan '13 7:31:33 PM Beiahnu
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* TheMerch: Subverted, as {{Wolverine}} (the foremost Marvel Comics vehicle) is completely absent, yet the X-Men are not.

to:

* TheMerch: Subverted, Partially subverted, as {{Wolverine}} (the foremost Marvel Comics vehicle) is completely absent, yet the X-Men are not.not; other huge Marvel vehicles such as {{Spiderman}}, CaptainAmerica and TheHulk do show up.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.Marvels