Back in 2008, I revised the Marvel Encyclopedia for DK Publishing. That meant taking the original version of a book written by Tom DeFalco, Peter Sanderson, Tom Brevoort, Michael Teitelbaum, Daniel Wallace, and Andrew Darling—and revamping and updating most of the entries. I also wrote a slew of new material for the book and nearly melted a keyboard trying to get it all ready to help celebrate Marvel’s 70th anniversary in 2009. We just made it.
Fast forward five years, and it’s the same thing all over again, only this time we’re pushing to have it ready in time for Marvel’s 75th anniversary instead. It sounds like a simple enough assignment: read five years of Marvel comics and update each entry that needs it once again. Add more pages for the most popular characters on top of that, and throw in a bit of perspective while you’re at it.
Sure, there are worse assignments than having to read five years worth of comics in a few months, but wow, Marvel puts dozens of comics every month. That quickly adds up to stacks of reading you wouldn’t want collapsing on you for fear of having the life crushed out of you. Still, it’s a fantastic and fun universe, and I’m always grateful to be able to spend some time in it, especially when it has a purpose like this.
One of the great delights of going to visit Disney Studios last month was seeing the last edition of the book in a couple different spots. For one, it was on sale in the Disney gift shop right there on the premises, and I even signed a copy for one of my fellow bloggers.
Better yet, my friend Dave Wallach spotted a copy on the shelves of the Disney Archives. When I was in there later, listening to recordings of P. L. Travers discussing Mary Poppins with the Sherman brothers, I looked over and spotted the book sitting right behind the main desk in the room, right at eye level for the woman sitting there. I mentioned it to the man giving the presentation, and he was pleased to tell me they’d gotten a lot of great use out of the book over the years.
The brand-new 2014 edition of the Marvel Encyclopedia isn’t supposed to be out until St. Patrick’s Day, but it looks like most retailers already jumped the gun. There’s no reason to wait politely yourself, so get yourself down to your local bookstore, and grab yourself a copy. If you love Marvel Comics, you’ll love this book too—maybe as much as I loved working on it.