Friday, May 4, 2012

The Captivating, Creative, Unusual History of Comic Books

The Captivating, Creative, Unusual History of Comic Books (Unusual Histories Series)
Jennifer Besel (don’t know why the cover says Marc Tyler Nobleman)
$31.32, Hardcover
Capstone, 2010
January 13th, 2012

Genre: Nonfiction
Age: 9+
Description: A short history of comic books.
Opinion: This history is a good introduction to comic book forms. I knew most of the information myself as a scholar and collector of comic books, so I can say that it was a good introduction to comic book history. It starts with a bit of information on the origins of comic books, including classics such as the Katzenjammer Kids, and other newspaper comic strips. Chapter 2 focuses on the debut of popular characters, especially superheroes in the 1930s. It also discusses superhero teams and supervillians.  A timeline of Famous Firsts is given. Chapter 3 “The Changing Face of Comics” talks about the major eras in comic book history with major events. It also mentions comix, the indie movement, and manga. It also explains the difference between “comic book” and “graphic novel.” Chapter 4 talks about controversy and comic books and mentions some major legal disputes (such as Siegel and Shuster selling the rights to Superman for $130 when the publisher went on to make millions) and the history of the Comics Code Authority. Chapter 5 is on comics and culture—especially fan culture with conventions and how comics eventually matured (including comments on when Green Arrow’s sidekick got addicted to drugs and Gwen Stacy, of Spiderman fame, was murdered). The back of the book has a glossary with pronunciations and definitions along with a further reading list and a link to for more Internet sites. It also includes an index. 

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