All that glitters isn’t Auric

Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z TPB #2

Note: no month of publication is indicated, with the exception of manufacturing date range of 10/27/11 to 11/15/11. The issue was released on 11/30/11. Other issues released on that date carry a publication date of Jan 2012.

The second volume of the amazing fourteen volume Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Premiere Hardcover series is reprinted in trade paperback with all 240 original pages reproduced and, true to the principle of releasing timely information, sixteen additional pages of updates for selected entries. Some minor corrections and additions are found, but for the most part the original 240 pages are reprinted in their entirety. In the entries, Alt. Sasquatch appears in Blink’s entry and Sasquatch appears in the Contest of Champions entry. In the updates, Hodiak appears in the Council of Godheads update and both Auric and Silver appear in the China Force update.

The Alt. Sasquatch appearance, as it was in the HC version from 2008, is only her hand in a cropped illustration taken from the cover of Exiles #55 (Feb 2005).

The entry for Contest of Champions is identical to the HC version, with the exception of the coloring of the illustration, where Sasquatch appears. It has been nicely updated to remove 1980s-era dithering and replaced with a flatter modern style, while still retaining the simplicity of the original.

The China Force entry is unchanged, but in the update section, new headshots of previously mentioned trainees Auric and Silver are shown. Back when Auric was a trainee in China Force, he was known as “Gold”, and he’s properly identified as such. As I mentioned already in a previous post, Auric still has never had an entry, but at least the writers went out of their way to show the proper name in the proper entry, a detail not unnoticed by Auric fans.

They are the same images from the extensive Alpha Flight team update from issue #1 of the TPB series. However, the best headshots to have used would have been those taken directly from the only issue where they appeared as trainees in China Force, which was the Rick Mason: The Agent Graphic Novel. Had the writers done that, the headshots would have looked like this instead:

Likely because the original images were in black and white, they weren’t used.

Also in the update section, which is only 16 pages long, the Council of Godheads have about a full page worth of update including two large illustrations and a new grid of headshots of gods not already identified in the entry. Hodiak appears in one of the illustrations, which was taken from Greg Pak and Fred van Lente’s Incredible Hercules #116 (Jun 2008) with art by Rafa Sandoval; an image repeated in the preview page of Incredible Hercules #117 (Jul 2008). This is the first positive identification of Hodiak among the ghosty gaggle of Native American-looking gods in those issues.

Hodiak among the Council of Godheads (Image from Incredible Hercules #116)

In the new grid of headshots, an image taken from the Encyclopedia Mythologica #1 (Sep 2009) entry for the Inua identifies Hodiak, with his correct 1st appearance noted below as Alpha Flight #7, not Thor #300 as some websites maintain. That image is by Kevin Sharpe, one of many new illustrations for that issue, but sadly, the characters were not clearly identified at the time. The image was later tagged nicely over at The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe site, but this is the first time Hodiak was officially identified in that image in print.


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