In February of 2008, Marvel will release the first volume (of 12) collecting all of the entries from the 2004-2007 All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Details are still sparse and I’m only going on what the advanced solicitation copy says.
The most exciting and comprehensive Marvel handbook is finally here! Beginning a twelve-volume guide to the Marvel Universe with more than 100 huge entries in each tome! This issue – from 1602 to Blackwulf! Spotlighting people (Angel, Annihilus, Ant-Man, Apocalypse, Arachne, Ares, Aurora, Banshee, Baron Zemo, Beast, Beta Ray Bill, Bishop, Black Bolt, Black Knight, Black Panther, Black Widow), places (Atlantis), teams (AIM, Acolytes, Agents of Atlas, Alpha Flight, Avengers), species (Badoon), alternate realities (2020, 2099, the Age of Apocalypse) and more!
The big question I have for this hardcover collection is…does it contain the other “guide books” that use the Marvel Handbook format, but were not branded as such.
For example, will it include the Spider-Man: Back in Black Handbook (April 2007), Mystic Arcana: The Book of Marvel Magic (May 2007), The Mighty Avengers: Most Wanted Files (June 2007), World War Hulk: Gamma Files (August 2007), Marvel Zombies: The Book of Angels, Demons, & Various Monstrosities and the X-Men: Messiah Complex – Mutant Files (December 2007). I would surely hope so. Some of those (Spider-Man and Mighty Avengers) look exactly like an All New OHotMU book, except for the logo.
With the mention of “places (Atlantis)” in the solicitation text, I’m hopeful that the hardcover will also include the data from the late 2007-2008 Marvel Atlas releases.
Best of all, the entries will be in alphabetical order. Since the original releases in 2004 started with spotlights on teams and characters (Avengers, X-Men, Spider-Man), the entries for those books were in alphabetical order for those issues only. It wasn’t until the 2006 update that an entire 12-issue run was alphabetized. Still, many characters and information from the 2004 and 2005 one-shots were omitted from the 2007 release.
All of this means many collectors and readers will likely be buying this content again, but it will be well worth it. Collectors and readers that like the Marvel Handbook will be lining up to buy these versions.