Artists Give the Marvel Universe Handbook a Much-Needed Makeover

Posted 7 years ago by Art, Comics

Back when I first got into comics in the early ’80s, I was a bit lost when it came to the back stories of my favorite Marvel characters. Well, the collective Spidey Sense of the Marvel honchos must have been tingling as they produced “The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe” as regular installments starting in 1982. In encyclopedic fashion, the issues pieces together the history of various heroes and villains in Marvel history. I collected as many of the issues as I could, poring over the data sheets of every character from Marveldom.

Flash forward 30 years and a handful of various comic artists are breathing new life into the classic OHOTMU. The OHOTMU Reduxe Edition blog is similar to other recreation sites like Covered, Relaunched, and Repaneled where today’s comic artists take classic images and bring their own style to new illustrations based on the source. They’re equal parts tribute and artist showcase.

The OHOTMU Redux effort is led by the great artist Calamity Jon Morris. Morris brought us the Cornered blog for recreations of comic cover name plates. The new site has only been in existence since June 13 and has already featured contributions from over 25 different artists.

My pre-teen eyes didn’t realize it way back when but it’s now easy to see how much of a rush job the original creations were. There were never more than two illustrations of each character, the largest of which was one a plain background. Perhaps that’s why this Redux effort is so appealing. These artists are giving even the most obscure characters considerable attention and care. If the artists can skewer the subjects just a little bit—like in the case of Brodie Brockie’s Doctor Octopus—well, that makes it even more awesome.

  • Oh, man, I LOVED these when I was a kid. This is going in my RSS feed right now.

    Hopefully they’ll get around to doing the G.I. Joe Order of Battle, which was essentially the same concept, only focused on the G.I. Joe universe. They not only had the Joes and Cobra profiles, but they went through the vehicles, too. It would be great to have some concept artists go through and give us a new take on the HISS Tank or Rattler.