Pictured here is Marvel Masterworks Atlas Era Heroes Volume 3. It's a beautiful hardcover volume that reprints SUB-MARINER #33-42 from 1954-1955. The artwork on the Sub-Mariner stories is by the legendary Bill Everett (creator of Prince Namor), while Dick Ayers provides the art on a handful of Human Torch stories. All this and a fact filled introduction by Roy Thomas.
These issues were published by Atlas Comics (formerly Timely, later Marvel) in the mid-1950s during the oh-so-brief revival of the company's big three super-hero characters: The Human Torch, Captain America and Sub-Mariner. None of the books starring these characters caught on with the reading public, although the Sub-Mariner series lasted longer than titles featuring the Torch and Cap.
This was the second book I bought from the dealer selling trade paperbacks at half price at the recent Wizard World Austin Comic Con. Originally published in 2008 with a cover price of $60.00, this baby was a steal at half that price. The dust jacket is slightly shop worn but otherwise in entirely acceptable condition for my eyes.
I didn't much care for Bill Everett's artwork when I was a kid. I didn't consider him a bad artist, just someone who didn't draw like Jack Kirby (my all-time favorite comic book artist). You couldn't find two more different and distinctive styles of comic book art than that of Kirby and Everett. Everett 's work had a unique, highly stylized look to it that I now regard as extremely well done and quite attractive to look at. As creator of Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, Everett can rightly be called the definitive Subby artist, although I have a slight preference for the work of Gene Colan and John Buscema on the character. Hey, those were the guys drawing the strip when I first started reading it and their versions of the character have always stuck in my mind as pretty darn good.
Still, a big hardcover book full of Bill Everett Sub-Mariner stories (few of which were ever reprinted) is a down right treasure to be enjoyed for many hours to come.