Essential Marvel is a line of comics produced by Marvel Comics. These books publish older comics and feature roughly 20-30 issues of a character or team inside. Each volume normally runs anywhere from 450-650 pages. Some of the characters to receive Essential Marvel volumes include Spiderman, Captain America, The Avengers, X-Men, Hulk, Thor, Black Panther and Fantastic Four. The various volumes of comics in the books date back from the early 1960s to 1991.
These Essential Marvel comics have a special place in my heart because they were the first comics I really got into reading as a child. Whenever I saw one of them in the bookstore, I would immediately buy it and read it. For a child like me, it was crazy to see a comic book that had almost 650 pages. At the time, they were also affordable, so my parents were willing to buy them for me.
My favorite thing about the line is how unique they look. Due to having so many pages, they are printed in black and white. While most people will think that is crazy at first, it enhances the experience for me. For one, you could spend hours coloring them in however you pleased. Since most children like to color, this was how I spent a lot of my time. The other reason I love this design choice is how it makes the volumes feel unique. No other Marvel comic did this, so it felt special to have. The other way the Essential Marvel comics felt unique was because of their length. Most single-issue comics run 25-30 pages, and most volumes run around 100 pages, so having the comic line sell with 500 pages or more made it stand out.
The volumes being so long also gives these comic books the advantage of making the price more justifiable for the buyer. While browsing on Amazon, I observed that Essential Marvel comics are selling for roughly $40. If each volume has 25 issues inside, this comes out to $1.50 per issue, which is less than a single issue would cost. Even though it still costs a good amount of money, it has enough content to make the $40 seem like a bargain.
Another reason I love Essential Marvel is they are great starting points for characters. Due to having 20-30 issues inside, someone trying to get into comics could pick up the first volumes for some characters they were interested in and see if they enjoy them. Once they decide whether they want to keep collecting that character, they could buy more specific storylines or issues that are more current.
The other thing I love about the line is how they handled crossover events. If you owned Essential Spiderman, any comic that focused on Spiderman or Spiderman appearing alongside another character with their own series during the time period the book was covering, it was included in the book. This enables you to get the whole Spiderman story and shows the creators clearly put effort into making it a complete experience.
As time went on, these comics became more rare. At one point, the first volume of Essential Captain America was being sold for almost $200. However, eventually, Marvel ceased publication, and soon after ending the Essential line, they adapted the idea into Marvel Ultimate Collections, Complete Epic and Epic Collections. These were similar, but covered newer comics and were in full color.
I highly recommend these comics to both novice and experienced comic readers because They are a great way to start a physical collection. They also house some of the best stories in Marvel history, along with being different from the single-issue versions of the issues.