The super-hero comic books that Marvel Comics has published since 1961 are, Douglas Wolk notes, the longest continuous, self-contained work of fiction ever created: over half a million pages to date, and growing. The Marvel story is a gigantic mountain, smack in the middle of contemporary culture. Thousands of writers and artists have contributed to it. Every schoolchild recognizes its protagonists: Spider-Man, the Avengers, the X-Men. Looking over close to sixty years of Marvel's comics, Wolk sees fascinating patterns - the rise and fall of particular cultural aspirations, and of the storytelling modes that conveyed them. This is a huge treat for Marvel fans, but it's also a revelation for readers who don't know Doctor Strange from Doctor Doom. Here, truly, are all of the marvels.
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