Wow, would you look at the title. Essential Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition, volume one. Twenty-three syllables, and it just rolls right off your tongue.
For those of you who aren’t aware, the “Essential” line of black-and-white phonebook-style reprints of classic Marvel Comics stories officially ended some time ago, and while we still get trade paperbacks and the Marvel Masterworks series filling the gaps of uncollected material, I won’t lie and say that I take the loss of this sort of resource well. These things collected great gobbling gobs of comics at pretty affordable rates. For someone who likes the stories and really couldn’t care less that they’re in black and white on shitty paper, they were a godsend.
I also can’t help but think that there’s a load of stuff we’ll never get in this format now, and that makes me more than a little peeved at some of the stuff they did collect while the line was in-print. Case in point? Well, this.
I mean, say what you want about Dazzler or Super-Villain Team-Up, but at least those were stories. This was a collection of stats about characters that is, at the time of publication, horrendously outdated. It’s like buying a book of pop-culture wikipedia articles from 2002. It’s just… weird. Why do this? There are tons of sites out there devoted to cataloging this sort of information., and comic-book trivia is some of the most meticulously described stuff on the internet. The internet was made for this sort of thing. Think of all the wiki’s out there, updatable by anyone, that replaces the need for this sort of tome taking up space in your home. This would be like carrying a phonebook around with you everywhere when 411.com is right there as an app on your phone. And it can never be updated or corrected or fixed. The errors are set in shitty black-and-white stone.
So this — this — we got instead of a 12th Amazing Spider-Man? Or a 10th Avengers? Or even one volume of the Danny Ketch Ghost Rider? Fuck you Essential Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition. Fuck you and your long, clearly-overcompensating-for-something title.