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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Review: Comics: A Global History, 1968 to the present

Comics: A Global History traces the comic book format and industry starting in 1968 with the underground movement and those who “simply put felt-tipped pen to paper and let it flow, man.” Those comics were, not unsurprisingly for the time, adult comics. In fact this is not really a book about kids’ comics at all, although there are some present amongst those discussed.

Comics: A Global History works through the years chronologically and thematically, exploring artists, styles, and series. There are a broad range of examples from around the world, some of which are quite adult in their content, and more than 200 images are provided.

There’s lots to learn, including how:

  • Veteran comic artist Will Eisner and his desire to pursue a mainstream audience was the driving force behind the development of the graphic novel as we know it today.
  • Tokyo publishers responded the demand from young manga readers of the 1950s and early 1960s who grew up and demanded “more mature reading material”.
  • Writer-driven, non-superhero comics saw the creation of a new publishing imprint, and pushed the boundaries of traditional comic subject matter.
  • The rise of “dark comics” in the the early 21st century mirrored cinematic storytelling.
  • There are emerging trends like comic journalism which documents world events and educational science comics which explain subjects like the life of a bee.
The authors bring their own expertise to this comprehensive book. Dan Mazur is a cartoonist (and teacher, journalist, editor and screenwriter), while Alexander Danner writes about comics and teaches university students about writing graphic novels.

Comics: A Global History would be a valuable resource for those studying art, comics, graphic novels, or visual storytelling, and would also be enjoyed by mature-aged comic book fans and collectors.

Title: Comics: A Global History, 1968 to the present
Author: Dan Mazur and Alexander Danner
Publisher: Thames & Hudson, $39.99 RRP
Publication Date: April 2014
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780500290965
For ages: 16+
Type: Non-fiction

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