Unofficial Ultimate Guide to the Books

This topic is brought to you by an impulse buy I made over the weekend:

Left: The Avengers Assemble
Right: The Mighty Avengers - An Origin Story
Yes, I'm talking about the Avengers on paper but beyond the comics: the books!
That seems kinda redundant considering that the source material is already in print form and we're living in the age of Wikipedia, but I like having easy access to references whenever I need to look something up.
Or whenever I just want to look or read something that isn't a comic!

Avengers: The Ultimate Guide
Somewhat of a cross between an encyclopedia and a coffee table book, this guide is an easy read and contains tons of casual information about the team and its members. It's infamous among fans for revealing the true identity of Ronin, which was yet to be revealed in comics at the time! Talk about spoilers!

Most of the information is pretty basic (with tons of typos) but where it really shines is the layout and illustrations! The Avengers are presented in the order they joined plus they have a section devoted to the alternate reality/future versions of the team like A-Next and the Ultimates.
One of my favorite things about this book that I have not found anywhere else is the 3D rendering of Avengers mansion!

I like the cover, which is actually from a page of Kieron Dwyer's art for the World Trust storyline. Though I would've preferred it if they had commissioned an artist to do an original art.

This book was also my first Avengers-related item beyond the comics. I remember I had to empty my bank account (I didn't have much yet - just started working) just to get my copy at Fully Booked Gateway.

Marvel Universe Roleplaying Game Guide to the Hulk and the Avengers
This one I picked up on a whim from Comic Odyssey's bin at a comic convention and for an unbelievably discounted price too! I wouldn't have picked it up otherwise since:
a) I'm not really a gamer;
b) I'm not happy about the cover.

For what it's worth, it's actually a much more in-depth guide than the "Ultimate Guide" is. It's got the history of earth's mightiest up to the time of its publication, hero and villain profiles, plus the schematics of Avengers mansion, a cross section of the Quinjet, and the original Avengers charter - all of which you can get from various sources online but is compiled in one easy to browse volume.

Looking around the net, I find that there's another cover of this book that I actually like more:

It has the Thunderbolts on the cover, which is actually lifted from the cover of a novel. It's easy to mistake this edition for another RPG guide book that I also want to check out:

The Avengers Roster Book
It's got original art for a cover! How refreshing!

Avengers: The Ultimate Character Guide
If we take the RPG book and remove everything else but the character profiles complete with numerical statistics, we'll get this book!
What's great about it is that it was pretty updated - it had profiles for members of the Dark Avengers, the Initiative, the Young Avengers in addition to heroes, villains, and supporting characters up until Siege and the onset of the Heroic Age! Sadly, and I'm not the first person to notice this, it didn't have an entry on James Barnes either as Bucky, the Winter Soldier or Captain America!
Seriously, though: What is it with these books and their covers? Is it that expensive to do an original one?

Official Index to the Marvel Universe
I mentioned in a previous blog that I also picked this up on a whim (ie, another impulse buy).
I like it because it provides an extensive, though text-heavy, summaries of all the issues of the first three volumes of the Avengers and the first volume of the New Avengers plus annuals, one-shots, specials, and mini-series. In a way, it also served as a checklist of sorts, so I know which back issues I wanna check out. I recently ordered a bunch of special issues from Milehigh Comics based on what I gathered from this book.

I do hope they release a similar tome for the West Coast Avengers, and the other spin-offs like Mighty, Dark, Young, Initiative, etc.
Cover-wise, there's really not much to ask for in a book like this so I'm good.

That's all I have so far, but I intend to expand the collection some more and include the following books when they come out:

The Avengers: The Ultimate Guide to Earth's Mightiest Heroes!

Avengers Kit

The Art of Marvel's The Avengers
And speaking of the movie, somebody compiled the tie-in books in a neat blog. The books are mostly targeted towards much younger readers, which seems to be the trend. This makes it kinda awkward for me as a grown man to be looking for this storybook at the children's book section:

Captain America Joins The Avengers
Like "The Mighty Avengers" (see above), this book has nice illustrations and it's interesting to see how they adapted the comic to a storybook. Though I'd wager that the same text and illustrations from both storybooks are what's in the only compelling reason I'd want an iPad:

Avengers Origins: Assemble! Storybook iOS App
For a more adult flare though, there's this interesting nugget which is also available for the Kindle:
The Avengers and Philosophy: Earth's Mightiest Thinkers

Outside of these, there are also novels and I'd like to thank our friendly neighborhood Wikipedia for the complete list. Though I have yet to get into one myself, I find novelizations of comics and movies a bit odd considering they were already graphic in nature. Shouldn't it be the other way around?
But what do I know? I read Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia after the watching the movies!

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