The Small Lebowski:
Marvels: Eye of the Camera #1
Issue(s): Marvels: Eye of the Camera #1
Photographer Phil Sheldon is despondent and unsatisfied with his job. After the incredible events and beings he witnessed and covered during and before World War II, his current career seems drab and mundane.
Until the Fantastic Four debut, that is.
While Marvels #2 starts after the Fantastic Four are already celebrities, this issue allows Busiek to go back to the birth of the Marvel age and depict the "ordinary person" reaction to the debut of the earliest of Marvel's heroes: mostly the Fantastic Four, but also Thor (A newspaper quotes the Archdiocese saying, "He is not a god.), Spider-Man ("Some kids' entertainer"), the Hulk ("a monster in the Southwest"), and Ant-Man (who states in a press conference that he may "not be the guy to tackle miracle men or undersea monsters -- but maybe I can put a dent in organized crime").
Sheldon observes that unlike the World War II era heroes, where there was a clear delineation between the good guys and bad guys, here things are a little less clear. And the public reacts accordingly, vacillating between hero worship and distrust.
The original Marvels series jumped right from the Golden Age to a period where the Fantastic Four were already celebrities, so it's nice to see this issue cover the important period where the new generation of heroes first appeared.
It's also worth noting that from Sheldon's perspective there's been a gap in hero activity between the Golden Age and the debut of the FF, which isn't very supportive of the First Line group having been very prominent during the "Hero Gap".
The same isn't true of the Monster Age. Before the debut of the FF, Sheldon almost takes a job at the New York Bulletin, which is a Weekly World News style paper. Unlike the WWN, at least some of the Bulletin's stories were based on actual events, like all of the Monster Age stories, and also Dr. Strange, and the rumor of mutants.
On a more personal level, Busiek does a great job fleshing out the details of Sheldon's personal life, including a great little subplot where Phil eventually realizes his daughter is having trouble in school because she needs glasses.
At the end of this issue, which takes place after the events of the original Marvels series, it's revealed that Sheldon has lung cancer.
There's no inker for this series. Jay Anacleto is digitally colored directly by Brian Haberlin. I generally like comic art better when there's an inker instead of being shot directly from pencils, but i think due to the prestige nature of this book a special effort was made and it works well this way. The art is good; it has a semi-realistic look that is close enough to the "Marvels" books without looking like an Alex Ross rip-off.
That said, there's no "Holy crap!" moments like there were in the original Marvels books. Alex Ross depicting famous Marvel scenes was a significant event in its own right. This is a good story with nice art, but it doesn't have the same impact.
Quality Rating: A-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Normally, for these continuity insert books that span a period of time, i place them after the last identifiable reference. This books starts with Fantastic Four #1 and runs through Journey Into Mystery #88. There's also a picture of Cyclops (in civilian clothes) and a picture of a "local punk" covered in ice by Iceman, but i think this issue is supposed to take place before Uncanny X-Men #1; those pictures depict scenes from the origin stories that were published as back-ups in the late 60s.
So normally i would place this book after Journey Into Mystery #88. However, the last three pages of the book take place "a number of years later" after the events of Marvels #4. So i have this issue placed much closer to Eye of the Camera #2, basically just allowing for a little time for Sheldon to have his long cancer operation. That means that i'm treating everything except the last three pages as 'flashback', which also affects the Characters Appearing section.
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
The Cyclops and iced punk scenes were definitely from the "Origins of the X-men" backup.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | December 31, 2011 5:34 PM
In the trade paperback collection of this series, there is a wonderful little "Sources" section that lists a lot of the references. I think you got most of them but some of them are in the background art that one might overlook and thought I'd just type it out so you can cross-check. For this issue it says:
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | March 24, 2014 12:03 AM
Whoops! The Sources page has the FF wedding wrongly labeled as Fantastic Four Annual #2 when it should be #3! Again! It wasn't just a slip of my finger type-o!
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | April 25, 2014 4:01 PM
Thanks Jay. Corrected it in the References.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 26, 2014 12:22 PM
You corrected the link to Fantastic Four Annual #3 when you click on it but it actually still says #2 here. lol!
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | May 4, 2014 2:38 AM
Oh, and you've got Strange Tales #101 repeated in the References but only the 2nd one contains the link to the issue.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | May 4, 2014 2:40 AM
Posted by: fnord12 | May 4, 2014 11:01 AM
Is it just me or are the pics rotated?
Posted by: MOCK! | May 24, 2014 9:06 PM
MOCK, it does that to me when I view them on my phone but it's normal on my laptop.
Posted by: Robert | May 24, 2014 9:21 PM
I'm not seeing that on my phone or laptop. Is it all posts or just this one?
Posted by: fnord12 | May 24, 2014 10:35 PM
It's not all. I've seen it a few times but not a lot. On this entry, every picture when viewed on my iphone is flipped sideways. I've never really thought much about it doesn't happen often.
Posted by: Robert | May 24, 2014 10:42 PM
I shall no longer think much about it either, then!
Posted by: MOCK! | May 25, 2014 8:14 AM
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