I previously posted the solicitation for the “ALL-NEW OFFICIAL HANDBOOK OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE A TO Z VOL. 1 PREMIERE HC” that’s being released in February 2008. Now, thanks to writer Sean McQuaid and his generous comments, I’ve run across all the details I wanted to know about the project.

What is the All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A To Z Premiere Hardcover?
This is a series of 12 volumes, each monthly, that will take almost every Official Handbook since the book’s revival in 2004 and collect them into one complete series. The entire run will be re-shuffled into alphabetic format. Each book is 240 pages and the first runs from the beginning up through Blackwing.

What is it comprised of?
It will be comprised of the following Handbooks:
-Avengers 2004
-Avengers 2005
-Fantastic Four 2005
-Hulk 2004
-Daredevil 2004
-Spider-Man 2004
-Spider-Man 2005
-Spider-Man: Back in Black 2007
-Wolverine 2004
-X-Men 2004
-X-Men 2005
-Alternate Universes 2005
-Book of the Dead 2004
-Golden Age 2004
-Horror 2005
-Marvel Knights 2005
-Teams 2005
-Women of Marvel 2005
-All-New OHOTMU 2006 #1-12
-All-New OHOTMU Update 2007 #1-4
-Mystic Arcana HB 2007
-WWH Gamma Files 2007
-Mighty Avengers Most Wanted HB 2007
-Marvel Zombies HB 2007
-X-Men Messiah Complex HB 2007

It will also take selected entries from X-Men: Age of Apocalypse HB. The only OHOTMUs that will not be included will be the three Ultimate HB’s.

he good part: It will also take New Avengers Most Wanted Files, New X-Men: Academy X, and Annihilation Nova Files (including those found outside the ANF book), as well as the four Marvel Legacy Hbs, converting them all into standard (and current) HB format. Also, several special HB-style entries found in specials will be included.

Why not the other Files books like Monster/Bloodstone Files and Civil War Files?
Because those were written too different from the format.

Will the entries be updated?
Yes. Updated, and where needed, expanded. Some are going from 1 page to 3. Others, from 2 to 4. And it won’t just be tacked-on info. Some are receiving full rewrites. If a character has had a name change, it will be reflected. Beak from Exiles, for instance, will be under Blackwing now. This also gives a chance to go back and expand earlier 2004-2005 entries as we didn’t have the space then. More images throughout as well. The Legacy profiles will now be up-to-date.

Will there be any all-new profiles?
Yes, in a manner of speaking. Some (but not all) of the entries that dealt with multiple versions of a particular name/alias will be split up into individual entries. Others will be given their own entries out of necessity. For instance, originally there was a profile for Arsenic & Old Lace. It has since been deemed necessary to give both characters their own individual profile. There will be other surprises too. One team who only gets a one-paragraph mention in a similar team’s profile gets its own in Book 2.

And Data Corrections?
We will be fixing them.

So this is the only Handbook project we’ll see in 2008?
Never say never. We have at least one more planned, mapped out, even have the cover drawn for it. But whether or not it gets released in 2008, or if it has to wait until we’re done with this, we’ll see. The thing about it is, like I mentioned, this isn’t a simple reprint. In many ways, it’s like we’re working on an all-new book every month, and this time, instead of it being 48 or 64 pages long, it’s 240 pages. Every month, for twelve months. I’d venture to say that less than 5% of the entries will be exactly as they were when they were first released.

Excellent. Wish it included the Marvel Atlas and the Ultimate Handbooks, but you can’t have it all and those make the most sense to leave out. It’s great that they’re taking the time to expand and combine entries. As I stated before, February 2008 can’t get here soon enough. Cool.

All-New Marvel Handbook Hardcover Finally, is the first thing that comes to mind.

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.

The Marvel Comics website released a major upgrade to their Marvel Universe section today and it’s pretty cool. They’ve had a great, Wiki style database for a while, but this upgrade cleaned up the interface a bit and organized things quite nicely.

The coolest feature has got to be the Connections Interface, where you can view a character and a visual map of all the characters they’ve interacted with over their time line. The user interface on this section could use a little work, but overall, it’s a very neat visualization of all the data in the Wiki.