Marvel Masterworks (1987-present)

The Marvel Masterworks books have a long and convoluted publishing history. You can find more detailed information at two sites:


Brief Summary

Here's my brief summary. For their 25th anniversary in 1987, Marvel Comics produced these deluxe hardcovers that reprinted the birth of the Silver Age. There were 27 original volumes with marble covers. Since Marvel was in the throes of bankruptcy in the 1990s, they let these books go out of print. During this time on Ebay, the Masterworks commanded inflated prices since 1st printings were quite rare. I don't know if that is still true.

Just before the new millenium, Marvel recovered financially and started producing Masterworks with colorful new covers by Comiccraft. They reprinted six old ones and released four new ones. I actually like these covers.

I guess the new covers didn't go over well because Marvel switched over to silver covers. They produced one new Masterwork (Sub-Mariner) and reprinted four old ones. These are quite similar to the later remasterworks except the cover image is larger and the Marvel Masterworks logo is on the bottom.

Finally in 2003, Marvel decided to revamp the whole line. These new books are generally referred to as "Remasterworks". They started reprinting all of the original 27 volumes with corrections. They moved issues around, did some recoloring, added pin-ups, etc. Bowing to popular demand, they also released these volumes with two different covers: a limited edition marble cover that matches the original printings and a standard silver cover.

Now that all the original 27 volumes have been reprinted, the Remasterworks are moving into new reprints territory. It now looks like the Masterworks line is alive and healthy. They've even started doing Golden Age reprints and also releasing TPBs.

I have mixed impressions about the Masterworks line. On the one hand, they offer complete colored reprints of Silver Age comics. On the other hand, I dislike the glossy paper and the garish coloring. It's good that the Remasterworks have started referring to the original coloring. But the glossy paper tends to obscure the linework and enhance the artificial coloring. I would prefer flat white paper and toning down the color. Unfortunately, Marvel Comics has now switched all their trade paperbacks to glossy paper.

Update: It looks like I'm getting my wish. Starting in 2006, Marvel has been printing their Remasterworks and TPBs on flatter, less glossy paper. They also seemed to have toned down the over-airbrushed coloring. Now if we could get some 1970s Remasterworks (anything by John Byrne), things would be perfect. :)

updated 11/28/2006



ORIGINAL MASTERWORKS Amazing Spider-Man: Vols. 1, 5, 10, 16, 22 Avengers: Vols. 4, 9, 27 Captain America: Vol. 14 Daredevil: Vol. 17 Dr. Strange: Vol. 23 Fantastic Four: Vols. 2, 6, 13, 21, 25 Incredible Hulk: Vol. 8 Iron Man: Vol. 20 Silver Surfer: Vols. 15, 19 Thor: Vols. 18, 26 Uncanny X-Men: Vols. 11, 12, 24 X-Men: Vols. 3, 7 Vol. 1: Amazing Fantasy #15 & Amazing Spider-Man #1-10 (1987) ISBN: 0871353059 Vol. 2: Fantastic Four #1-10 (1987) ISBN: 0871353075 Vol. 3: X-Men #1-10 (1987) ISBN: 0871353083 Vol. 4: Avengers #1-10 (1988) ISBN: 0871354799 Vol. 5: Amazing Spider-Man #11-20 (1988) ISBN: 0871354802 Vol. 6: Fantastic Four #11-20 (1988) ISBN: 0871354810 Vol. 7: X-Men #11-21 (1988) ISBN: 0871354829 Vol. 8: Incredible Hulk #1-6 (1989) ISBN: 0871355949 Vol. 9: Avengers #11-20 (1989) ISBN: 0871355957 Vol. 10: Amazing Spider-Man #21-30 & Annual #1 (1989) ISBN: 0871355965 Vol. 11: Giant-Size X-Men #1 & Uncanny X-Men #94-100 (1989) ISBN: 0871355973 Vol. 12: Uncanny X-Men #101-110 (1990) ISBN: 0871356287 Vol. 13: Fantastic Four #21-30 & Annual #1 (1990) ISBN: 0871356295 Vol. 14: Captain America from Tales of Suspense #59-81 (1990) ISBN: 0871356309 Vol. 15: Silver Surfer #1-5 (1990) ISBN: 0871356317 Vol. 16: Amazing Spider-Man #31-40 & Annual #2 (1991) ISBN: 0871357305 Vol. 17: Daredevil #1-11 (1991) ISBN: 0871358069 Vol. 18: Thor from Journey Into Mystery #83-100 (1991) ISBN: 0871358077 Vol. 19: Silver Surfer #6-18 & Fantastic Four Annual #5 backup (1991) ISBN: 0871358085 Vol. 20: Iron Man from Tales of Suspense #39-50 (1992) ISBN: 087135912X Vol. 21: Fantastic Four #31-40 & Annual #2 (1992) ISBN: 0871359138 Vol. 22: Amazing Spider-Man #41-50 & Annual #3 (1992) ISBN: 0871359146 Vol. 23: Doctor Strange from Strange Tales #110-111 & 114-141 (1992) ISBN: 0871359154 Vol. 24: Uncanny X-Men #111-120 (1993) ISBN: 087135991X Vol. 25: Fantastic Four #41-50 & Annual #3 (1993) ISBN: 0871359901 Vol. 26: Thor from Journey Into Mystery #101-110 (1993) ISBN: 0871359928 Vol. 27: Avengers #21-30 (1993) ISBN: 0871354799 updated 11/29/2006
COMICRAFT MASTERWORKS (REISSUES) Amazing Fantasy #15 & Amazing Spider-Man #1-10 (12/1998) ISBN: 0785107037 Avengers #1-10 (6/1998) ISBN: 0785105905 (inside 0871354799, 1997, 4th p) Daredevil #1-11 (3/1999) ISBN: 0785107142 Fantastic Four #1-10 (11/1997, 5th printing) ISBN: 0785105891 (?) (inside 0871353075, 1997, 5th p) Thor: Journey Into Mystery #83-100 (12/1999) ISBN: 0785107339 X-Men #1-10 (11/1998) ISBN: 0785106642 (inside 0871353083, 1998, 5th p) COMICRAFT MASTERWORKS (NEW) Daredevil Vol. 2: #12-21 (11/2001) ISBN: 0785108041 Fantastic Four Vol. 6: #51-60 & Annual #4 (9/2000) ISBN: 0785107525 Thor Vol. 3: Journey Into Mystery #111-120 & Annual #1 (12/2001) ISBN: 0785108149 X-Men Vol. 3 #22-31 (1/2002) ISBN: 0785108092 updated 11/29/2006 SILVER COVER MASTERWORKS Amazing Fantasy #15 & Amazing Spider-Man #1-10 (2/2002, 7th print) ISBN: 0785108645 Amazing Spider-Man #11-20 (7/2002, 3rd print) ISBN: 0785109242 Avengers #1-10 (5/2002, 5th print) ISBN: 0785108831 Sub-Mariner: Marvel Comics #1 (Golden Age), Daredevil #7, & Tales to Astonish #70-87 (4/2002) ISBN: 0785108750 X-Men #1-10 (3/2002, 6th print) ISBN: 0785108459 updated 11/27/2011
MARVEL MASTERWORKS PAPERBACKS

Marvel Comics released 4 softcover Masterworks in the early 1990s. They contained less stories than the hardcover Masterworks and didn't seem to sell well. With the release of the Remasterworks, Barnes & Noble also published the same volumes as trade paperbacks. With a retail price of $12-13, they were much cheaper than the hardcovers. Unfortunately, they seem to be discontinued as well.

updated 11/12/2011
                    SOFTCOVERS

The Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks Vol. 1 (8/1992)
ISBN: 0871359022
  reprints Amazing Fantasy #15 & Amazing Spider-Man #1-5

The Avengers Masterworks Vol. 1 (10/1993)
ISBN: 0871359839
  reprints Avengers #1-5

The Uncanny X-Men Masterworks Vol. 1 (2/1993)
ISBN: 0871359642
  reprints X-Men #1-5

The All-New All-Different X-Men Masterworks Vol. 1 (9/1993)
ISBN: 087135988X 
  reprints Giant-Size X-Men #1 & Uncanny X-Men #94-97


             BARNES & NOBLE EDITIONS

Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks Vol. 1 (2003, 2004)
ISBN: 0760737932
  reprints Amazing Fantasy #15 & Amazing Spider-Man #1-10

Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks Vol. 2 (2003)
ISBN: 0760749574
  reprints Amazing Spider-Man #11-19 & Annual #1

Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks Vol. 3 (2004)
ISBN: 0760755655
  reprints Amazing Spider-Man #20-30 & Annual #2

Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks Vol. 4 (2004)
ISBN: 0760763038
  reprints Amazing Spider-Man #31-40

Avengers Masterworks Vol. 1 (2003)
ISBN: 076074808X
  reprints Avengers #1-10

Daredevil Masterworks Vol. 1 (2003)
ISBN: 0760737940
  reprints Daredevil #1-10

Fantastic Four Masterworks Vol. 1 (2003)
ISBN: 0760737959
  reprints Fantastic Four #1-10

Hulk Masterworks Vol. 1 (2003)
ISBN: 0760737967
  reprints Incredible Hulk #1-6

Silver Surfer Masterworks Vol. 1 (2003)
ISBN: 0760746974
  reprints Silver Surfer #1-6

Uncanny X-Men Masterworks Vol. 1 (2003, 2004)
ISBN: 0760749582
  reprints Giant-Size X-Men #1 & Uncanny X-Men #94-100

Uncanny X-Men Masterworks Vol. 2 (2004)
ISBN: 0760755663
  reprints Uncanny X-Men #101-110

X-Men Masterworks Vol. 1 (2003)
ISBN: 0760737975
  reprints X-Men #1-10


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