Fantagraphics has officially launched Atlas Artist Edition Vol. 1: Joe Maneely — a new collection paying tribute to an unsung Marvel legend.

Atlas Artist Edition Vol. 1: Joe Maneely is available in bookstores as of today, January 16. The collection “spotlights seminal pre-code genre stories” drawn by the late Joe Maneely, including “several never-before-reprinted stories written by Stan Lee.” All told, the 256-page volume features 38 complete Golden-Age stories, 11 of which Lee wrote.

Check out the cover art and story lineup for Atlas Artist Edition Vol. 1: Joe Maneely below:

Westerns (Kid Colt, Black Rider, Ringo Kid, Wyatt Earp, Two-Gun Kid), pre-code horror (“Haunted!”, “The Raving Maniac”, and the classic “Your Name Is Frankenstein”), 
Space Opera (Speed Carter), 
War (Combat Kelly), 
Mad Magazine-style parodies from the pages of Crazy and Riot, 
Cold-war intrigue and paranoia, 
and Maneely’s pride and joy — his Arthurian champion, The Black Knight.

Who was Atlas Comics artist Joe Maneely?

Joe Maneely was born in Philadelphia in 1926. He had a knack for art from a young age, and officially began his comic book career at Street & Smith in 1948. Maneely then found work at Timely Comics — the company that would soon become Atlas Comics and, eventually, Marvel Comics.

During his time at Atlas, Maneely — alongside the aforementioned Stan Lee — created Sir Percy of Scandia, Marvel’s original Black Knight. Maneely also co-created such characters as the Ringo Kid, the Yellow Claw, and Jimmy Woo — the latter of whom would eventually make a name for himself in the Marvel Cinematic Universe alongside the third Black Knight, Dane Whitman.

Sadly, Maneely wasn’t around to witness Marvel’s meteoric rise. The artist’s life and career were tragically cut short in 1958, when he died in a commuter-train accident in New York City at the age of 32.

Fantagraphics honors the legend

A synopsis for Fantagraphics’ Atlas Artist Edition Vol. 1: Joe Maneely reads as follows: “Joe Maneely was known for his draftsmanship, his versatility, and his speed. He could draw horror, science fiction, war, crime, Mad-style humor, Westerns, and funny animals with equal dexterity. His tactile, chiaroscuro graphic approach to storytelling has made him a legend among the comics cognoscenti, but because he rarely drew super heroes and his life ended tragically at age 32, he has never been given the attention his short but incandescent career deserves.”

“Unlike many other artistic contemporaries of his Atlas tenure, who all entered the industry around the same time, dabbled there and then further blossomed in the Silver Age — Gene Colan, Steve Ditko, John Romita, and John Buscema, for example — Maneely never had that second act, and in the 1950s, he was considered more accomplished than even that talented quartet,” Dr. Michael J. Vassallo writes in the book’s introduction. “It’s hard to say how comic-book history might have been different if Joe Maneely had lived, but, unquestionably, whatever he would have done would have been wonderful.”

Atlas Artist Edition Vol. 1: Joe Maneely is actually the second volume in Fantagraphics’ book series paying homage to Marvel’s early days. The publisher previously released The Atlas Comics Library No. 1: Adventures Into Terror Vol. 1. Additionally, Fantagraphics is teaming with Marvel to put out a special Atlas Comics one-shot as part of Free Comic Book Day this May.

Atlas Artist Edition Vol. 1: Joe Maneely is on sale now from Fantagraphics.

 Fantagraphics has officially launched Atlas Artist Edition Vol. 1: Joe Maneely — a new collection paying tribute to an unsung Marvel legend.  Read More