For reasons neither Erin nor I understand, Maxim magazine started appearing in our mailbox. We didn't order it, we don't appear to be getting billed for it, and oddest of all, Erin's name is on the mailing label.
I bring this up because I noticed that in this month's issue, just past the pictures of Milla Jovovich in her underwear (which are admittedly very pleasing to the eye), there's an interesting article about the history of Marvel Comics as told from the first person perspectives of some of those who experienced it, similar to Legs McNeil's punk history Please Kill Me, Miller & Shale's SNL book Live from New York, or Rudolph Grey's Ed Wood bio Nightmare of Ecstasy. It's an interesting take on a story that a lot of us (well, a lot of comic book fans, anyway) have heard plenty of times before, but being an article in a mag that's probably best known for a feature called Hometown Hotties, it doesn't get enough page real estate to get into anything but the basics. There's sure to be a book in all this that has to be at least as readable as Live from New York was, even without all the drug stories.
Obviously you face a drawback in that several of the most important - and certain to be most controversial - voices are either deceased (Jack Kirby) or non-communicative (Steve Ditko), but I'm sure you could find what you'd need in past interviews and whatnot (well, you'd still most likely be lacking for Ditko, but what can you do?). There's no way we'll ever get a real conversation or con panel in which people really discuss, debate, fume, bash, scream, yell, and carry on, about the history of Marvel, who did what, who truly did or did not get what they deserve, etc. Seeing such a discussion played out on the printed page may be the only way we'll ever even come close. And I bet it'd be a hell of a read.
So if you're inclined, go check out this article. I think you'll agree that it's an interesting starting point for a much larger project.
And if you don't, there's still Milla.