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Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Venus - volume 1 Hardcover – Aug 31 2011


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Hardcover, Aug 31 2011
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Amazon.com: 10 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A very strange book indeed Sept. 7 2011
By Jim Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Venus is probably the hardest comic book to classify of the books which have been masterworked to date. Comedy, romance, drama, heroics, supernatural thriller - the book had it all but not necessarily in the same issue. This masterwork reproduces the first nine issues and it seems like the book was reinventing itself every issue. Also included are inventory stories from Lana and Marvel Mystery Comics when it seemed like Venus would be cancelled.

I had heard both good and bad about this book and was apprehensive about purchasing it. To my mind the good heavily outweighs the bad. The book has heart; whoever was doing the scripting put a lot of thought into the plots. The book is fairly dense for a comic book taking 20 to 30 minutes to read an entire issue.

A number of artists worked on these stories and covers. Dr. Michael J. Vassallo provides his best guesses in his usual fine introduction. The reproduction is first rate. Whoever was doing the drawing adapted a style suited to the feature. The romantic backup features have realistic art, the Hedy Devine backups cartoonish art, while the main Venus feature is somewhere between those extremes.

A nice feature of the book is that it is title oriented. Not only are the Venus features reproduced but the various backup features as well. A great touch is the reproduction of various commercial advertisements that appeared on the text story pages. It seems that one could purchase a lot of fireworks delivered via the postal service in the late '40s. A wonderful assortment of house ads are also included.

All in all, a quirky, fun title. I'll be getting volume 2 when it comes out. Highly recommended.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A real Golden Age gem... and a very weird book! March 24 2012
By DJ Joe Sixpack - Published on Amazon.com
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"Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Venus, v.1"
(Marvel Comics, 2011)
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This is one of the weirdest and most delightful of Marvel's golden-age comicbook reprints dealing with the 1940s-50s era when Marvel was published under the Atlas imprint. Most of the Atlas titles were standard fare for the era, mostly genre comics such as crime, horror and war stories, as well as the few superhero titles that were left after that fad went bust. The writing in the Golden Age was extremely formulaic and rather blunt: the real attraction was usually the art, which was done by talented pros, many of whom became well-known in the superhero revival of the 'Sixties.

Anyway, the "Venus" comic, which started in the late 1940s, was a real exception to the rule... As seen in this collection, it flipflopped crazily through several genres - horror, crime, science fiction, humor -- though it also had a dual core of both romance and superhero elements. It was a really weird book, trying to appeal to as wide (or as narrow) an audience as possible, with publishers desperate to keep their audience in the face of the anti-comicbook hysteria of the times. It's mostly a romance comic, this full of the melodrama and bizarre sexism that make that genre so much fun. And there's also lots of great art: I really hope Marvel will follow through with Volume Two of this series, which includes some great artwork by the legendary Bill Everett, although this book also has great work by Bob Powell and others.

NOTE TO MARVEL: More straight-up Golden Age romance collections would be great, too! Maybe skip the stiff, talky stuff from the early '50s, and go for some of the more scrupmtious stories by Gene Colan, Vince Coletta, et al, from later in the decade. You publish it, and I will buy it! (Joe Sixpack, ReadThatAgain book reviews)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
for those who like different comics. and romance orientated ones. April 20 2012
By Michael Dobey - Published on Amazon.com
This is a strange book and it if you don't like romance comics at all, you may not like this one at all. However it's not all romance stories , and most stories are featuring a real goddess! Venus, and we have comedy star 'hedy devine' too. It also has fantasy elements and jumps from comedy girl type of stories ala Hedy and pasty to more serious fare. The next volume features the classic sci fi stories but this one is interesting in many ways. The art is very good too, although I am not a fan of more than one artist doing a story , it somehow works here and the art remains good throughout. Venus in these stories isn't a superhero mostly though. She is a goddess of love though and each issue seems to jump format trying to stay alive. I love old comics so this is a interesting read for me. And the book looks fantastic with the art cleaned up , unlike the sad d.c. archive series of late. The paper is first rate too. The next volume should be even better as it's superheroine slanted far more than this one. I do hope they reprint the blonde phantom and namora soon though.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Venus, Goddess of Love that you are. May 22 2012
By Johnny Heering - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This book reprints the first nine issues of Marvel Comics' late 1940s to early 1950s series Venus. In the comic book, the Goddess of Love comes to Earth and becomes editor of Beauty Magazine. The other major characters are Whitney Hammond, owner of Beauty Magazine and love interest of Venus, and Della Mason, Hammond's secretary and rival of Venus. The comic went through a number of format changes during it's run. The comic was a romantic comedy for it's first four issues. With the fifth issue, the comic changed to a drama with the mythological aspects played up more as Venus usually had conflicts with other Gods. There were more format changes to the comic, but those issues aren't in this book, so I won't cover them. Despite what Marvel Comics says nowadays, Venus was NEVER a superhero in her comic book. This is a pretty fun comic book, in it's own way. This is a hardcover book with high quality paper and it's a lot cheaper than buying the original comic books, if you can even find them.
One of a kind series shifts between multiple genres July 25 2015
By Dan Pace (feral atom) - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Collects Venus 1-9 and stories from Lana #4 and Marvel Mystery Comics #91 (1948-1950). Extras include an extensive introduction by comic historian Dr. Michael J Vassallo and two pages of house ads with Venus and one with Venus and Sun Girl.

First off, the introduction was eye-opening to me how comic historians need to be detectives in a way in deciphering credits for unsigned artwork. Second, the title itself was Timely/Atlas longest-running female super-hero, but it wasn't strictly a super-hero title. It fluctuated between multiple genres, including humor, sci-fi and horror, but always with a mythological and romance backdrop.

There's some mixing of mythologies here, where Venus lives on the planet by the same name in a castle on Mt Lustre. She also faces off against the evil Loki, the demonic Zoroba, the envious Joya and mighty Jupiter. Her first adversary is the more earthly Della at the publishing offices of Whitney Hammond. Venus travels to Earth to cure her boredom and find true love. She explains to Mr. Hammond that she's the goddess of love, Venus. Hammond doesn't believe her but is struck by her beauty and thinks this would be an excellent idea for a magazine, edited by the woman called Venus.

Besides getting 19 Venus stories (there are 4 3-parters and two two-parters in that total), we also get four True-to-Life Romance stories, three hilarious Hedy De Vine stories, Harvey Kurtzman's Hey Look, three Venus Special Features, and nine text stories.

Some of these stories are fairly outrageous, with the topper being in venus #2 when Venus wins out and Della is being spanked and exclaims "Harder! I deserve it!" ...Truly bizarre.

There's great art from George Klein, Ken Bald, Ed Winiarski, Werner Roth, Mike Sekowsky, Pete Tumlinson, Valerie Barclay, Don RIco, Bob Powell, Joe Maneely, Al Hartley, and Christopher Rule, among others.

I've been looking forward to Venus Vol 2 which transformed into full-fledged horror and sci-fi and the last seven issues are packed with some of Bill Everett's best work ever, along with work from Werner Roth, Russ Heath, Joe Maneely, and Gene Colan among others. Here's hoping that Marvel will be publishing this second volume soon.

These stories were a blast to read, even the non-Venus stories. I really enjoyed Hedy De Vine as well and hope that there's a collection of her material on the horizon. It's tough to rate this series, given that it crosses over many genres and had so many different artists during this first run. Volume 2 would definitely get five stars when it gets published. (fingers crossed)


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