It's the fifth birthday of U.K. publisher Titan Comics, but readers are getting the presents. Not a lot of British comics make their way to the U.S., and Titan doesn't publish the ones most people know. You won't see Judge Dredd with a Titan logo (IDW has the U.S. rights to that) or Captain Britain (that's Marvel Comics). Instead, Titan publishes an eclectic mix of adaptations and creator-owned works that appeal to mostly older readers.
The current Titan book with the broadest appeal is probably "Marvel Studios: The First 10 Years" ($29.99). This lovely coffee-table book leads with interviews with Kevin Feige (the Marvel Studios president who has been the guiding force behind the films) and Louis D'Esposito (the co-president), followed by a timeline of when the films occur.
That last is a little controversial, because the films themselves have fumbled that detail. Characters in a given movie will mention events happening X number of years ago, which will contradict another movie, where a different character will say it was Y years ago. The timeline does its best, but when it lists "Iron Man" as occurring in 2010 — the movie came out in 2008 — you know they're struggling.
The bulk of the book is 19 sections, devoted to all the movies through 2018, from "Iron Man" to "Ant-Man and Wasp." Each section includes a summary of the movie's developments and end-credits scenes, interviews, a list of Easter eggs and, of course, lots of pictures. The interviews are pretty thorough, and include, among many others Chadwick Boseman (T'Challa), Josh Brolin (Thanos), Benedict Cumberbatch (Stephen Strange), Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff), and, fittingly, the late Stan Lee.
That should keep a Marvel movie fan busy for a while.
Another impressive book of wide appeal (at least to baby boomers) is an adaptation of "Yellow Submarine" ($29.99), published to commemorate the movie's 50th anniversary. The book came out Aug. 28, and it's beautifully done. Writer/artist Bill Morrison (editor of Mad magazine) is able to capture the whimsical Peter Max-inspired art of the era perfectly — and took advantage of the graphic novel medium in ways a movie can't.
"I started asking myself, 'What do comic books and print have that they can't really do in a film?' " he said. "I hit on the idea of really making each page look like a poster — like psychedelic black-light posters that I used to have all over my walls in the '70s. I thought I could make these pages graphically stimulating. ... People who have seen the pages — fans of the original movie — have really liked it and thought 'he's doing something different with it.' "
For true fans, Titan released a box set ($199.99) on Oct. 10, which includes the book, a 6 ½-inch yellow submarine, five badges, an exclusive art card and — reproduced from the 1968 originals — 16 lobby cards, four movie posters and a premiere movie ticket.
We know All You Need Is Love, but having all that stuff is pretty groovy.