1,000 Comic Books You Must Read
Hero Worship!1000 Comic Books You Must Read is an unforgettable journey through 70 years of comic books. Arranged by decade, this book introduces you to 1000 of the best comic books ever published and the amazing writers and artists who created them. See Superman from his debut as a sarcastic champion of the people, thumbing his nose at authority, to his current standing as a respected citizen of the worldExperience the tragic moment when Peter Parker and a generation of Spider-Man fans learned
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1000 Comics: A Journey to be enjoyed,
To this day, I feel that comics should be fun, and the first thing about this book is that it is fun. What a great eclectic list.
What surprised me most, however, is the wave of nostalgia that hit me. I lived through so much of this and it was great to see old friends back: Little Dot, Lulu, Dennis the Menace, Jerry Lewis and some that I had forgotten Sugar and Spike (Four entries!). Not just at comics from Marvel and DC this book gave a change to look back, but also a chance to catch up.
Tony still has the heart of a fan. I was concerned that this would be another one of those list where some “lectures” about what was good and bad. Instead Tony takes us on a personal journey through a life in comics, his life, and remembers the fun stops. He does in so brief, thoughtful and even funny references. These are observations, not notes to a thesis. For example:
On Iron Man in TOS #39, “His origin will be changed periodically to accommodate new wars.”
Sadly true. (ery true. I fear we will not run out of wars for the new generations.)
Wonder Woman #108 “I bought the issue when no one was looking!”
And while he might have thought “Little Archie peaked too early” it is interesting that his comic is placed next to the Atom! Who was also little.
Yes, there is Fin Fang Foom, Konga, Menace, the Fantastic Four, Uncle Scrooge (who has a barroom brawl described as “Jack Kirby with Ducks!”) But Tony takes his time to remember some of the most important comics that can be forgotten because their publishers are no longer around, like Dick Briefer’s Frankenstein.
I thought this would be a book to read in a day, but it has stretched to a week. Now I want to go back to the candy store where I got my comics in the 1960s and 1970s re read them. Or go back to the 40′s and pick up Pep Comics, Fun Comics and even Young Romance. Or a few new ones I know nothing about.
And it is a beautiful, colorful book, laid out and arranged just right. If you are thinking of just buying this for a gift for a new reader, or an old one: don’t. Buy this for yourself. (Alright, buy two).
Note: Don’t go nuts. I am sure someone will review this and say Tony left this out or didn’t put that in. Of course, this is only1,000 comics. As I said earlier, is not just the list, it’s the journey that should be enjoyed.
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The book gives hope to Isabella’s sentiment that today is the true Golden Age of comics,
You can see the evolution of the comics industry through these pages, brought to you courtesy of Tony Isabella, “America’s most beloved comics writer and columnist,” who writes and reviews for Comics Buyer’s Guide. Isabella has been writing comics for four decades now, and he’s perhaps best known as the creator of DC Comics’ Black Lightning, the first African-American superhero to get his own title at DC.
But it’s Isabella’s perspective as a fan, not a creator, that feeds the joys of reading 1,000 Comic Books You Must Read. You can see the growth of the industry in the book, but also the changing of the readership. As we travel from a time where comic books regularly sold millions of copies every month to the present, where the numbers are much, much smaller, we see the transformation of our culture’s tastes and habits unfold before our very eyes.
The original Superman comics from the late 1930s kick off the collection, a nice tribute to the man of steel, without whom the format of comics would be vastly different, if it existed at all. From there, we move on to the 1940s, where the Golden Age of superheroes really began. All the classics are here: Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Archie, plus the wild military and adventure comics of the day (and even wacky things like Daredevil Battles Hitler). Each two-page spread is a trip to a distant past that seems not so far away through comics. Although excerpts from the comics are not included here (Isabella does give a brief synopsis of each story inside to show why they’re being picked), just the covers themselves tell an interesting story. Some of them are gorgeous (the painted image of Captain Marvel Adventures #18, which introduces Mary Marvel, for example, is striking), some of them are so enticing that you long to look inside.
Isabella introduces each decade of comics history with a brief overview to give you an idea of what was going on in comics at the time. It’s interesting to graph the number of pages devoted to each decade: the ’90s get fewer than 20 pages devoted to them; the ’70s and ’80s combined get the same number of pages as the ’60s. But also telling is the fact that the current decade gets 45 pages and sees the inclusion of several important graphic novels (Persepolis, Blankets, Sentences). The book gives hope to Isabella’s sentiment that today is the true Golden Age of comics. As he puts it, “Readers can enjoy both the new groundbreaking material now being published and, thanks to affordable reprints, the classics of the past.”
– John Hogan
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The 1 Book About Comics You Must Read!,
This is the book for you if you are either: 1) a comic book reader, 2) interested in the history of comics, 3) a fan of comic book writer Tony Isabella or 4) a human being.
It covers, as the title implies, 1000 of the best comic books ever produced in the USA. Isabella, a veteran comic book fan and writer, has selected these for both the casual comic book reader and the seasoned veteran. Lots and lots of information about the time period, the creators, the publishing history and the characters.
Absolutely top notch!
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