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Penguin Classics announces more prestigious Marvel Comics compilations

The Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Avengers are next to get the prestige literature treatment

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Penguin Random House
Penguin Random House
Image: The A.V. Club

Last year, Penguin Classics released a trio of Marvel Comics collections, reprinting some of the most important books from the early days of Spider-Man, the Black Panther, and Captain America—though, notably, the Captain America book mostly compiled stories from after he came back in the ‘60s, not the World War II-era propaganda comics. Today, Penguin announced a follow-up trio, and if the original three were about some of Marvel’s most iconic and important characters, the new ones are all about iconic and important teams: X-Men, Fantastic Four, and The Avengers.

Like the other three books, each of these will be available in regular Penguin Classics-style paperback (with the big black bar at the bottom that looks nice and uniform on a shelf) or mega-prestige hardcover with shiny gold-stamped covers that look even better on a shelf. (Before you say that books are supposed to be read, and that it shouldn’t really matter if something simply looks nice, these hardcover editions are primarily meant to look nice on a shelf.) The books will also feature some supplementary material, reading lists, and essays about the importance of the characters or why these stories matter. If the original run is anything to go by, all of that stuff might actually be more interesting than the actual comics.

The Avengers book will have a foreword by author Leigh Bardugo and includes 14 or so classic 1960s Avengers comics, including their debut issues before Cap had joined the team. The Fantastic Four book has a foreword by New Kid author Jerry Craft and has 12 Lee/Kirby comics that cover the debut of the team and, later, the first Galactus story arc. Finally, the X-Men book has a foreword by current She-Hulk writer Rainbow Rowell and has 15 comics from the first few years of Marvel’s Mutants.

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All three book will be available on September 12.