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1974-01-01 00:04:30
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Tomb of Dracula #16-17
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1974/Box 8/EiC: Roy Thomas
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Marvels: Eye of the Camera #1

Issue(s): Marvels: Eye of the Camera #1
Published Date: Feb 09
Title: "Marvels: Eye of the Camera #1"
Credits:
Kurt Busiek - Writer
Jay Anacleto - Pencils
Jeanine Schaefer - Associate Editor
Tom Breevort - Editor
Joe Quesada - Editor-in-Chief

Review/plot:
According to Wizard Magazine #0 from September 2003, this series was originally going to be published as a 10 year anniversary recognition of the original Marvels series (thanks to the UHBMCC for pointing me to that article). Even at the time it was first announced it sounded like they weren't going to make that anniversary because they were expanding the series, but it ended up taking another 5 years. While the majority of the series starts after the end of Marvels #4, the first issue actually takes a step back in time and starts from the beginning of the Silver Age. So most of issue actually takes place between the original Marvels #1 and #2. The last few pages, however, take place later. See the Considerations section below for more.

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 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 in 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-

Historical Significance Rating: 1

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 this issue 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 basically treating everything except the last three pages as 'flashback', which also affects the Characters Appearing section.

References:

  • This issue starts soon after Fantastic Four #1, with Phil Sheldon reading newspaper reports on Reed Richard's unscheduled rocket flight, and then later a press conference with the Fantastic Four, who are not yet wearing costumes.
  • While Sheldon is interviewing at the New York Bulletin, we see issues hanging on the walls hyping the Living Colossus' romp through Hollywood from Tales of Suspense #20, Gorgilla from Tales to Astonish #21, and a picture of Dr. Strange with a headline asking about a "Wizard in Greenwich Village", supporting Roger Stern's proposal from Marvel: The Lost Generation that Strange was active prior to the Fantastic Four's first appearance. Also from this scene, "Has Earth been Conquered?" from Strange Tales #90 and Torr from Amazing Adventures #1.
  • The marked up newspaper with the Chinese mutants is from Yellow Claw #2.
  • The Sub-Mariner first appeared in the Silver Age in Fantastic Four #4. Around the same time as that event, there are more generic references to the first appearances of Thor, Spider-Man, Hulk, and Ant-Man, some of which, per Jay's comment below, are general references to Amazing Fantasy #15, Fantastic Four #6, Journey Into Mystery #86, Journey Into Mystery #85, and Strange Tales #101.
  • A radio report mentions rumors of the Fantastic Four's cash problems from Fantastic Four #9.
  • The Cyclops and Iceman scenes reference the back-up origins from Uncanny X-Men #44 and Uncanny X-Men #38.
  • More very minor references, usually scenes of photos from Sheldon that were already referenced in Marvels: Giant-Man's fan club first seen in Tales To Astonish #53, Captain America's return in Avengers #4, the wedding from Fantastic Four annual #3, and Galactus' debut in Fantastic Four #48.
  • A headline refers to the a Thor/Loki battle in Central Park, which would be from Journey Into Mystery #88.

Cross-over: N/A

Continuity Implant? Y

Reprinted In: N/A

Inbound References (2): show

Characters Appearing: Doris Sheldon, Phil Sheldon

Previous:
Tomb of Dracula #16-17
Up:
Main
1974/Box 8/EiC: Roy Thomas
Next:
Power Man #17

Comments

The Cyclops and iced punk scenes were definitely from the "Origins of the X-men" backup.

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:

Page 2
Reed Richards "Unscheduled Rocket Flight" - Fantastic Four #1

Page 5
Living Colossus! - Tales of Suspense #14
Gorgilla Sighted. - Tales of Suspense #18
"Has Earth been Conquered?" - Strange Tales #90
"Is There a Wizard in Greenwitch Village?" - Well, Yes, As Seen in Strange Tales #110
Torr (under Colossus front page). - Amazing Adventures #1

Page 6
Chinese Mutants - Yellow Claw #2

Page 7
News stories - Fantastic Four #1

Pages 10-11
"Kids' entertainer called Spider-Man" - Amazing Fantasy #15
"Headin' straight up Fifth Avenue" - Fantastic Four #6
Amusement park scene - Strange Tales #101

Page 12
Thor & cobalt bomb - Journey Into Mystery #86
Thor meets Loki - Journey Into Mystery #85
Human Torch rescue - Strange Tales #101
"Fantastic Four Inc. cash-strapped..." - Fantastic Four #9

Page 14
"Kid out in Nassau" - Uncanny X-Men #44
"Another kid in Omaha" - Uncanny X-Men #38

Page 15
Ant-Man fan club - First Seen As The "Giant-Man & Wasp Fan Club" in Tales to Astonish #53.
Thing at muscle beach - Fantastic Four #9

Page 18
"Bizarre battle in Central Park" - Journey Into Mystery #88

Page 20
The return of Captain America - Avengers #4
The FF Wedding - Fantastic Four Annual #2
Galactus - Fantastic Four #48

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!

Thanks Jay. Corrected it in the References.

You corrected the link to Fantastic Four Annual #3 when you click on it but it actually still says #2 here. lol!

Oh, and you've got Strange Tales #101 repeated in the References but only the 2nd one contains the link to the issue.

Thanks, Jay.

Is it just me or are the pics rotated?

MOCK, it does that to me when I view them on my phone but it's normal on my laptop.

I'm not seeing that on my phone or laptop. Is it all posts or just this one?

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.

I shall no longer think much about it either, then!


 
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