Fire And Water: Bill Everett, the Sub-Mariner and the Birth of Marvel Comics

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In 1939, decades before it would become the powerhouse behind such famous super-heroes as Spider-Man, The X-Men, and Iron Man, Marvel Comics launched its comics line with a four-color magazine starring a daring new antihero: The Sub-Mariner.

Fire & Water

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As created and rendered by the great Bill Everett, the Sub-Mariner was an angry half-breed (half-man, half sea-creature) who loathed and fought against all mankind — until he joined the Allied Forces to defeat the Nazis during World War II. Seventy years later, Everett’s aquatic creation remains one of the pinnacles of the Marvel super-hero universe (as attested to by the character’s recent option for a major motion picture).

The Sub-Mariner alone, and his status as the original Marvel (anti-)hero, would have insured any cartoonist’s place in comics history. But Everett was a master of many kinds of comics: romance, crime, humor, and the often brutal horror comics genre (before it was defanged by the Comics Code Authority in the 1950s), for which he produced work of such stylish and horrifi c beauty that he ranks with the artists who kept the legendary EC comics line awash in blood and guts.

Written by Blake Bell (the author of the best-selling critical biography of Steve Ditko, Strange and Stranger) and compiled with the aid and assistance of Everett’s family, friends, and cartoonist peers, Fire and Water: Bill Everett, the Sub-Mariner & the Birth of Marvel Comics is an intimate biography of a troubled man; an eye-popping collection of Everett’s comics, sketchbook drawings, and illustration art (including spectacular samples from his greatest published work as well as never-before-seen private drawings); and an in-depth look at his involvement in the birth of the company that would revolutionize pop culture forever: Marvel Comics!

Check out an 8-page excerpt.

Additional Information

Author Blake Bell
Publisher Fantagraphics Books
Page Count 192pp
Publication Size 9 x 12
Publication Notes hardcover, full color
Publication Date September 29, 2010
ISBN 978-1-60699-166-4

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