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Penguin Classics to Publish Three New Titles in The Penguin Classics Marvel Collection: The Avengers, Fantastic Four, and X-Men

Penguin Classics is pleased to continue our collaboration with Marvel Comics with the publication of three new titles in our new series, the Penguin Classics Marvel Collection. The publication of the three previous books in the series, Black Panther, Captain America, and The Amazing Spider-Man, marked the first time comics have been published by Penguin Classics.

The next three books in the series, The Avengers, Fantastic Four, and X-Men will be published on September 12, 2023.

Each title will be published in black spine paperback as well as a collectible hardcover edition with beautiful gold foil stamping, gold top stain edges and endpapers featuring artwork from the comics. They each include a foreword by a contemporary young adult author and a detailed scholarly introduction, speaking to the enduring significance of Marvel’s iconic creations.

Starting in 1961, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and their collaborators transformed the super hero genre with a series of new creations, including the Incredible Hulk, The Mighty Thor, and The Invincible Iron Man. In 1963, Lee and Kirby brought these characters together for the first time in a new magazine called The Avengers—adding a revived Captain America shortly after. Collected from The Avengers #1-4, 9, 16, 26, 28, 44, 57, 58, 71, 74, and 83, this unique collection gathers key issues from the first few years of the series. The Avengers includes a foreword by Leigh Bardugo, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Ninth House and the creator of Grishaverse which includes Six of Crows and Shadow and Bone (now a Netflix original series) and much more.

Throughout the 1960s, Fantastic Four doubled as both the flagship title and the creative laboratory of the Marvel Universe. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced dozens of new characters and concepts in its pages, while expanding the emotional bandwidth and visual vocabulary of the super hero genre with every issue. Collected from Fantastic Four #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 48, 49, 50, 51, and Fantastic Four Annual #6, this edition gathers some key tales from Lee and Kirby’s lengthy tenure. Fantastic Four includes a foreword by Jerry Craft, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of New Kid, the first graphic novel to win the Newbery Medal (2020), and winner of the Coretta Scott King Award and the Kirkus Prize, and its sequel Class Act.

The seeds of a pop-cultural phenomenon were sown with the launch of the first X-Men comic in 1963, at the height of “the Marvel Revolution,” under the creative team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The title was bookended by some of the best super hero comics of that era; the first issue established a creative formula that continues to inspire contemporary creators, while the final issues remain acclaimed for the groundbreaking artwork of Neal Adams. Collected from X-Men #13457, 81415163841424445, and 46, this edition gathers several key tales from the original run of the classic X-Men series. X-Men includes a foreword by Rainbow Rowell, the award winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, Landline, Attachments, and the Simon Snow Trilogy. She has written monthly Runaways comics and currently helms the She Hulk comic series for Marvel.

Ben Saunders is the series editor and author of the scholarly introductions for Fantastic Four and X-Men; he is a Professor of English at the University of Oregon, where he founded the world’s first undergraduate minor in Comics Studies. He has also served as curator for several museum exhibitions of comic book art. José Alaniz is the author of the scholarly introduction for The Avengers; he is a professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, and has published several works on comics history.

For decades, Marvel has published groundbreaking visual narratives that sustain attention on multiple levels: as explorations of the relationship between power and responsibility; as metaphors for the experience of difference and otherness; as meditations on the pain of adolescence and the fluid nature of identity; as examinations of the meaning, and limits, of patriotism; as ironic juxtapositions of the cosmic and the quotidian; as resources for the understanding of political and social history; and as high watermarks in the artistic tradition of American cartooning. Now, these classic stories of some of the most iconic super heroes in the history of American comics are Penguin Classics.

Ben Saunders, editor of the series, says, “I’m so happy that the Penguin Classics Marvel Collection is expanding to include the classic ’team books’ from the Silver Age of super hero comics. These volumes provide unique, single-volume introductions to the first decade of The Avengers, the original X-Men, and the Fantastic Four. Like our prior releases in this series, each title also features up-to-date scholarship exploring the creative contexts and cultural significance of these vital works of popular culture. These high-quality collections will be essential for any serious fan who wants to know more about the foundational texts of the Marvel Universe.”

Elda Rotor, Vice President and Publisher of Penguin Classics, says, “We are excited to provide students, educators, librarians, and comics fans with curated Penguin Classics anthologies of iconic groups of characters by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and historic Marvel creators.  With scholarly introductions by series editor Ben Saunders and volume editor Jose Alaniz, these editions also include forewords by Rainbow Rowell, Jerry Craft, and Leigh Bardugo that explore what makes comics such meaningful classics.”

Sven Larsen, Vice President of Licensed Publishing at Marvel Entertainment, says “Over many years, Marvel’s storytelling and comics have grown to become a dedicated space in education. Proof of that is our work with Penguin Random House, with the first three Penguin Classics Marvel Collection books already making an impact in higher education curriculums nationwide. Collaborating with such an esteemed publishing house and incorporating scholarly introductions has elevated these books to a new level, and we’re so excited to see the series expand with the upcoming The Avengers, Fantastic Four, and X-Men titles.”

The Avengers, Fantastic Four, and X-Men
will be published on September 12, 2023.


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