Straight from author Chris Ryall’s mouth!

Chris Ryall is not only a big-time comics muckety-muck and bon vivant, he’s also a recently minted 13th Dimension contributor. (We have good taste.) Anyway, Chris is the writer of one of this year’s most exciting comics projects — the Mighty Marvel Calendar Book: A Visual History, due out from Abrams ComicArts this December.

You can click here to check out the official description and whatnot, but Chris himself is here to give you the INSIDE SCOOP on what is obviously one of the decade’s must-have books.

Dig it!


The first full day of San Diego Comic-Con got off to a nice start for me, since I made a guest appearance on the Marvel/Abrams ComicArts panel, where they announced an upcoming book I wrote and put together for them, the Mighty Marvel Calendar Book: A Visual History.

This is a book I’ve wanted to do for a long time. And Abrams makes really beautiful, lasting books of all sizes, so I’m particularly happy it was able to come together there, and with editor Charlie Kochman and his team. It’s one of those books that I know would make the 10-year-old me very happy, so it’s even more special in that regard.

The book itself will be a 13” x 13” hardcover collection of these truly unique and visually dazzling calendars that Marvel produced from 1975-1981. Each calendar carried its own theme—everything from a celebration of the country’s bicentennial, to Marvel’s 20th anniversary, to character-specific calendars focused on Spider-Man, the Hulk (“National TV Star!” as that calendar cover proclaims), and Doctor Strange.

Back cover, subject to change

There are a few things that make these calendars particular stand-outs. First, they all featured new splash images for each month, drawn by Marvel’s top talents at the time: Jack Kirby, John Romita, John Byrne, George Perez, Frank Miller, Gil Kane, Jim Starlin… and on and on. And, in an industry that constantly repackages and repurposes every bit of its output, these images have surprisingly never been reprinted in full. Only a few of them have ever surfaced at all in the backs of other books. So this will be a nice showcase of an amazing array of artwork created by basically the best of the Bronze Age.

The other special part about these seven calendars is the fact that all the monthly calendar grids—typically just plain white boxes that show the day and date, and maybe a small mention of a national holiday—were likewise treated as art pieces on their own. Each month’s grid was filled with copious amounts of Marvel information and images: art and quotes clipped from comics, trivia and past release dates, birthdays and photos of creators at a time when most fans really had no good way to see what their favorite creators even looked like. The spiral-bound calendars presented each month like this, with the art atop the dates like any wall-hanging calendar. We’ll place them side by side like the image below, so you won’t have to hold the book vertically to see everything.

The calendars also featured great new cover images by the likes of John Romita Sr. and Dave Cockrum, and all of them included a handful of extra pages filled with other interesting bits of Marvel lore, beyond just the 12-month breakdown. This book will include all of that material as well — cover to cover reproductions, as it were — and I provided both the preface and introductory text pieces for each year, too. Former Marvel editor-in-chief Roy Thomas—the chief architect and writer of the first calendar in this series—contributed a nice introduction that detailed his recollection of how these calendars came together in the first place.

In the back of the book, I unearthed various house ads, creator memos and letters, original art pieces, and other lost supplementary items, too. Among my favorites, there are the hand-drawn cover sketches and calendar-grid breakdowns by the 1979 calendar-writer, David Anthony Kraft. It all really just helps emphasize the hand-made nature of these great calendars. Roy and I added bits of additional context and commentary to this material, too.

And to top off everything else that makes me happy about this book finally becoming real, it was designed by my pal (and Rain letterer/Eisner-winning designer) Shawn Lee.

The book is listed by Abrams ComicArts as coming in December 2023 and it’s up for preorder directly from the publisher (and elsewhere).

(And for anyone like me who has any of these old calendars… well, calendar dates repeat every so often, so you can hang, say, the 1978 Spider-Man calendar in 2023, and the dates line up. Every now and then, a leap year will jack up the schedule, but it was fun to pull these out and hang them when the dates do line up. However, I don’t recommend trying to hang the book itself on your wall, since it’d require a much stronger wall and a thick spike instead of a thumbtack to hold it in place.

— Adapted from Chris’ latest Substack newsletter Tales of Syzpense #15. Check it out because there’s a ton of other groovy material in there. Better yet, subscribe

— The 272-page hardcover measures lists for $50. It’s scheduled for release December 5, 2023, according to Abrams’ website.


— Illustrated MIGHTY MARVEL CALENDAR History Book Coming in Late 2023. Click here.

— They’re Coming! MARVEL to Reprint Classic 1970s BLACK LIGHT NOTECARDS. Click here.

Chris Ryall is the co-owner/publisher of Image Comics imprint Syzygy Publishing. His latest series is Tales of Syzpense, out now.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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1 Comment

  1. Nice ! Can’t wait to get this.

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