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This book is a great primer on superhero comics, beginning with early 20th century comic strips, like Little Nemo in Slumberland and Popeye, and pulp fiction to the bumper crop of 21st century superhero mivies.
If you are into indie comics (or comix), this ain't the book for you. If you know everything there is about comics history, this ain't for you either.
But if you want to know how Superman emerged out of the Great Depression and the origin stories of DC and Marvel as well as their big -name characters, this is the title for your spinner rack.
The authors tackle the history chronologically. You get background on major players--Stan Lee, Jack Kirby et al--and influential series. The 1986 appearance of The Dark Knight by Frank Miller and Watchmen by Alan Moore gets coverage, so too the creative brain drain to Image Comics.
One of the best features of this audiobook is the use of actual interview audio with comics creators and fanboy-historians: Stan Lee, Grant Morrison, Michael Chabon and several others.
You may want to check out the companion film documentary, which is essentially an abridgement of this with visuals. The author does a nice job of narrating his book.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
My spouse and I listened to this book on vacation, in the car as we drove to our destination, at our destination and back in the car on the way home. We enjoyed it greatly because we both love comic books.
This audiobook makes use of recorded interviews so for some parts you get the interviewees' own voices, making it almost like a documentary. We really appreciated this.
The book covers the origins of characters known and little known and also gets into the real world business part of the comic industry. It seemed a little MARVEL heavy as opposed to DC, but explained, though the history of those enterprises why they are so different and why somethings don't get produced. The book also gets into some industry nitty gritty that explained some quirks about comic book 'cannon' that I'd never given much thought to.
I am better for having listened to this book and it helped me look at the comics I love differently with a different level of appreciation.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
I have been reading comics since the early 1960’s and was then a DC fan. I am now more into the Marvel storylines but in my late 50’s still enjoy the superhero genre and comics in general so I was keen to read this book.
I got this as a present when it was first published and it has been sitting by my bed to read for some years. I read a lot and also download to Audible comic book related stuff. I must of read 10-20 books on comics, Marvel company, DC Universe and such like. However, this has to be the best written and most enjoyable book I have read.
It seems to have a slight Marvel bias but that didn’t spoil it for me. Well written, excellently researched and for the first time in ages I learnt stuff that I had never read or heard of before.
Its written in chronological order which it needed to be and covers the early genre from the comics in the newspapers, the Funnies as the American refers to them, right up to the film releases of 2012 of the Avengers and the Dark Knight from Marvel and Dc respectively. I have both the book and the Audible download and whilst both cover the entire book the Audible has the interviews by the writers which is an added dimension and I would recommend having both the book and the download.
The book does take a different slant on some member of the comics industry. For example read Marvel Comics - The Untold Story and Stan Lee takes a pasting. Here he comes out as the real saviour of Marvel and the instigator into the spin off movies etc. Good to get a different view of Stan in my eyes.
After reading the book I found that I had a new inspired interest in comics and the book refers to a number of classic stories which soon after the reference had me looking on eBay for a reading copy (No way will I pay top dollar for pristine copies I just want to read and share).
All in all, in my opinion, this is the best book on the genre I have ever read and I am starting again from the beginning of the book as I am sure I will enjoy it as much as I did first time or from hearing the Audible version.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Great mix of social history, the lives of main creators and review of the landmark stories/characters. Perfect "what really happened" book for people who loved Chabon's Kavalier & Clay and a good primer for those planning to jump into Grant Morrison's Supergods or Gerard Jones's Men of Tomorrow both of which are fantastic books which delve a little deeper into the darker corners of the history of the comic business.