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Marvel Graphic Novels and Related Publications: An Annotated Guide    by Robert G. Weiner order for
Marvel Graphic Novels and Related Publications
by Robert G. Weiner
Order:  USA  Can
McFarland, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

Let's face it, the booming graphic novel industry is flooding the bookstands with dozens of graphic novels each week and even the most ardent fan can have trouble keeping track of it all. There's just too much. Well, Weiner decided to take at least a slice of that and put some sense to it so that fans, academics, and librarians might have a better grip on the various publications (besides actual comic books) that are out there for the avid reader.

This book is more than just a quick reference for Marvel Comic titles though. Weiner's well written introduction clearly ties into the ongoing discussion of the place of graphic novels in contemporary culture. Whether defining graphic novels, or discussing their larger cultural value, Weiner does well at legitimizing the medium and the work done by many in the comic book industry. In performing these feats, Weiner proves himself well-versed not just on the graphic novels and latest issues of Spider-Man, but also quite involved in the academic discussions around the medium. Weiner also provides a succinct history of Marvel Comics insomuch as it relates to larger publications than comic books. This proves useful for readers to help get a better context of how the entries in this guide fit into the whole scheme of the company's history.

Now this is not a book to be read from beginning to end. It is of course a reference guide and its most useful contents are three indexes for title, artist/author, and subject, making it extremely easy to find what you're looking for. Within the meat of the book, the entries are broken into sections including superheroes, special volumes and series, non-continuity works, and non-graphic related material. The actual entries provide a good mix of material including authors/artists, ISBN, a brief description of the plot and most importantly what issues each graphic novel covers. Again, this makes the book versatile for academics and avid fans who might be trying to follow a particular period/time/storyline through graphic novels. The last few sections (Prose Novels, Articles, Books Guides and Indexes, Children's Books, and Scholarly Publications) also allow readers to explore beyond just the comics themselves.

This is an outstanding guide as guides on these things go. The major drawback is that it only operates from 2005 previously (leaving a giant window of three years and many many more publications since) to account for. However, for what it does cover, Weiner is deliberate and quite methodical in his execution.

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