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Any good books on the history of comics?

Old 04-06-11, 09:17 PM
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Any good books on the history of comics?

I'm looking for a book about the history of comics, or one way I could phrase that is the history of the comic book industry I suppose. I'd like something that would cover different periods of comics, trends of comics, etc. I have no idea what is out there among these lines. Anything you'd recommend?
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Old 04-06-11, 10:03 PM
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Re: Any good books on the history of comics?

Comics: Between The Panels
It's not a chronological history, but more like an anecdotal encyclopedia/dictionary.
It's geared more for entertainment than scholarly research. There is only a short paragraph under "Comics Code Authority", but a generous 4+ pages devoted to explaining the story behind the Mile High (Edgar Chruch) Collection. There are entries for subjects from the Golden age up to Image comics- writers, artists, characters, subjects.
It's a fun book to read.

Most other serious books on the subject usually confine themselves to a specific period or publishing house, or set of characters or creators.
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Old 04-06-11, 10:14 PM
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Re: Any good books on the history of comics?

There are tons of books. Some great. Some not-so-good.

Here's a handful that I thought covered the subject well.....

Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book by Gerard Jones. This is a great book which covers the early years of comic book history as well as the fight for Superman in the late 40s and beyond. It gives great detail on how the comic book industry started. I absolutely love this book.

Comics: Between the Panels by Mike Richardson (Founder of Dark Horse) and Steve Duin. An encyclopedic look at comic book history with a lot of Behind The Story sidebars.

Comic Book Comics by Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey. A six issue series giving you all the dirt inside the history of the medium. The series is on issue 5 right now with issue 6 coming in June. After that, the trade edition if you want to wait. I was surprised on how good this series is and how much information I gained from it.

Anything published by TwoMorrows. The people involved are die-hard comic book researchers. They have plenty of books covering different subjects - Each backstory covered like an archeological dig. I wish I could afford all their books.
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Old 04-06-11, 10:20 PM
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Re: Any good books on the history of comics?

Originally Posted by The Valeyard View Post
Comic Book Comics by Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey. A six issue series giving you all the dirt inside the history of the medium. The series is on issue 5 right now with issue 6 coming in June. After that, the trade edition if you want to wait. I was surprised on how good this series is and how much information I gained from it.
I was going to recommend this one too. It's a great series. (As an aside, Van Lente and Dunlavey previously collaborated on Action Philosophers, which is also great. After Comic Book Comics, they're doing a series on the Presidents).

Gerard Jones and Will Jacobs did a book called The Comic Book Heroes a few years back that was pretty good. It's OOP, but you can find copies for not too much money.
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Old 04-07-11, 12:05 AM
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Re: Any good books on the history of comics?

I just saw this great book about Jack Kirby, Kirby: King Of Comics, at Barnes&Noble on clearance for $9.98! Here is the link to Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Kirby-King-Comics-Mark-Evanier/dp/081099447X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1302152606&sr=1-1
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Old 04-08-11, 07:21 PM
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Re: Any good books on the history of comics?

Surprised there's been no mention of Shirrel Rhoades book. I think it's a great one-book history of American Comics.

http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Histo...2308442&sr=8-3
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Old 04-11-11, 10:08 PM
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Re: Any good books on the history of comics?

Thank you all for your suggestions. I bought Men Of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book and The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America.
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Old 05-03-11, 09:40 PM
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Re: Any good books on the history of comics?

IMO, one of the best is Jim Steranko's two volume (of a proposed, but unpublished six volumes) History of Comics. It was a large (11"x17" ?) paperback with wrap-around covers by Steranko and published in 1970.

You can still find copies on Amazon, but they're not cheap.
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Old 05-04-11, 07:11 AM
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Re: Any good books on the history of comics?

I enjoyed Tales to Astonish which focused on Stan Lee & Jack Kirby:

http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Astonish...sbs_00_01_t_lh
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Old 05-28-11, 04:55 PM
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Re: Any good books on the history of comics?

I always liked this:




http://www.amazon.com/Steranko-Histo...cmu_pg__header


I think I had two volumes of this.
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Old 05-31-11, 06:55 AM
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Re: Any good books on the history of comics?

There were indeed 2 volumes of Steranko's History of Comics. I just happened to page through them the other day and they are excellent.
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Old 07-05-11, 01:19 PM
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Re: Any good books on the history of comics?

Has anyone read, or heard anything about, this new Grant Morrison book, "Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human"?

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Old 07-06-11, 06:46 AM
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Re: Any good books on the history of comics?

Just read Joe Simon's My Life in Comics and it was a great, quick read.

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Old 07-19-11, 09:27 PM
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Re: Any good books on the history of comics?

Seduction of the Innocent is a great book.
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Old 07-20-11, 09:13 AM
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Re: Any good books on the history of comics?

Originally Posted by davidh777 View Post
Has anyone read, or heard anything about, this new Grant Morrison book, "Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human"?

Reviews are pretty high on amazon, including this one from NPR:

NPR's "Summer High Fliers" "Grant Morrison is one of the world's leading experts on comic books, and he draws on his entire body of work in Supergods, charting the history of superheroes from the very beginning. Morrison places the figures we all know -- Superman, Spider-Man, the X-Men -- in a broad cultural context, invoking art history, science and mythology to explain why we are so fascinated by the superhuman." --NPR.org
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Old 08-12-16, 07:56 AM
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Re: Any good books on the history of comics?

Finally going through a lot of my comic history books and really enjoying them. So far I have recently read:

Kirby: King of Comics by Mark Evanier


and The Stan Lee Universe


Both were a lot of fun and very informative. Followed those up Lee & Kirby: The Wonder Years 1961 -1970


And the follow-up to that which was issue #60 of the Jack Kirby Collector (which wasn't as interesting as the prior stuff I had read but still informative).


and then finally to Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe. I read a lot of complaints about him and his history that he was giving but he seemed to source everything and everyone he talked to or read interviews for seems to have a different opinion about what went down. I fund the book fascinating and extremely funny. Lots of inside stuff I never knew and the info on Jim Shooter seemed even and fair (though some felt he was portrayed as too much of a villain) I felt he mentioned both the good and the bad. I highly recommend this book. It is a quick and breezy read for 430 pages.


I am now starting on American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1950's


I am a slow reader simply because I am usually juggling several magazines and books all at once not including movies, television shows and video games. I try to read a lot of old comics that I have digitally as well (but I find the history more interesting). And oh yeah...a family.

But I was curious if any of you have any you have read recently and recommend or want to give thoughts on that you have read.

I think Twomorrows is the greatest and practically buy everything they put out (though I always wait for sales).
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Old 08-12-16, 10:35 AM
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Re: Any good books on the history of comics?

Good timing for a bump, with the good sales at TwoMorrows right now.
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Old 08-12-16, 11:14 AM
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Re: Any good books on the history of comics?

Originally Posted by Spiderbite View Post
I am now starting on American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1950's

I am a slow reader simply because I am usually juggling several magazines and books all at once not including movies, television shows and video games. I try to read a lot of old comics that I have digitally as well (but I find the history more interesting). And oh yeah...a family.

But I was curious if any of you have any you have read recently and recommend or want to give thoughts on that you have read.

I think Twomorrows is the greatest and practically buy everything they put out (though I always wait for sales).
I recently got the Chronicles volume for the '70s and enjoyed flipping through it but haven't read it in depth yet.

I scrolled up in the thread and was surprised to see a post from myself that I didn't remember, and then I noticed that it was from five years ago. That kind of blew my mind until I remembered we had another similar thread.

Books and Magazines about comics
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Old 08-12-16, 11:28 AM
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Re: Any good books on the history of comics?

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
Good timing for a bump, with the good sales at TwoMorrows right now.
Method to my madness.

Originally Posted by davidh777 View Post
I scrolled up in the thread and was surprised to see a post from myself that I didn't remember, and then I noticed that it was from five years ago. That kind of blew my mind until I remembered we had another similar thread.

Books and Magazines about comics
Oops. I missed that one when I did my search.
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Old 08-12-16, 11:34 AM
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Re: Any good books on the history of comics?

Originally Posted by Spiderbite View Post
Oops. I missed that one when I did my search.
It's confusing. This thread was created first, then when that one was started, no one even remembered this one existed.
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Old 08-12-16, 02:26 PM
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Re: Any good books on the history of comics?

I guess we can ask Geofferson to merge the threads? That sound ok guys?
Eh, it's not like we're overflowing with threads.
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Old 08-31-16, 08:21 AM
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Re: Any good books on the history of comics?

Supergods sounds cool.

I'll add Understanding Comics which weaves a lot of comic history throughout its lessons.
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