Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Book Reviews--Marvel Comics Epic Battles of the Civil War, Vols. 1-4

A couple years ago, I visited the Roberson Museum and Science Center in my hometown, which had a small exhibit commemorating the 150th year anniversary of the American Civil War.  Or as wargamers like to abbreviate it, the "ACW."
Venturing into the gift shop, I discovered all four volumes of Marvel Comics Epic Battles of the Civil War.  I can't remember what I paid for them.  I'm sure they were priced at full retail value.  But since the money would go to support our local museum, I thought what the heck.
The four volumes cover the following battles:  First Bull Run, Shiloh, Antietam and Gettysburg.
Each volume appears to present a decent overview of the events leading up to a particular battle, the course of the battle itself, the aftermath and short biographies of a handful of key leaders.
I say "appears to present a decent overview" because I must admit my knowledge of the ACW is as extensive as many of my wargaming buddies.  But these are, in fact comic books, which are ideal for introducing young readers to the subject of the Civil War.
The one hiccup I did spot was in Volume 4, which perpetuates the #1 myth of Gettysburg:  That the battle started because Confederate troops were trying to find shoes.
The illustrations in each volume varies, because different artists were involved in this project.  Overall, I found the art added to the sense of drama as the battle unfolds to its climax.  If I had to choose, I liked the artwork in Volume 3:  Antietam the best.  The colors used were darker, giving a better sense of the dreary field conditions soldiers experienced.
The series has earned decent reviews on Boardgamegeek and Goodreads
True, there are extensive works by eminent historians that cover each battle in great detail.  However, for a quick read, which includes "eye candy" almost as good as painted miniatures on modelled terrain, Marvel Comics Epic Battles of the Civil War, is worth the modest price for each booklet.
Copies can be found on-line or at museum gift shops.

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