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1001: Comics You Must Read Before You Die [Paperback]

Paul Gravett
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Oct 2011 1001
Over the centuries, comic books and their offshoots, such as graphic novels, and bandes dessinées have evolved into a phenomenally popular, influential, and unique art form with which we can express our opinions, our fantasies, our nightmares, and our dreams. In short: comics are emphatically no longer just for kids. This diverse, constantly evolving medium is truly coming into its own in the 21st century, from Hollywood's blockbuster adaptations of super-powered caped crusaders to the global spread of Japan's manga and its spinoffs, and from award-winning graphic novels such as Maus and Persepolis to new forms such as online webcomix. But comics also have a long and rich history, dating back at least to the Swiss teacher Rodolphe Töpffer in the early 19th century, and far earlier in China.1001 Comic Books You Must Read Before You Die is the perfect introduction to this dynamic and globally popular medium. There have been other guides to the best comic books, but none has embraced every genre and scoured the globe to glean the very greatest works of sequential art, graphic literature, bandes dessinées, tebeos, fumetti, manga, manhwa, komiks, strips, historietas, quadrinhos, beeldverhalen, and plain old comics.This authoritative guide is organized according to the year of first publication in the country of origin. An opening section acknowledges pioneering pre-1900 masterpieces, followed by sections divided by decade, creating a fascinating year-by-year chronicle of the comics medium worldwide.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Cassell (3 Oct 2011)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1844036987
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844036981
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 16 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 218,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

Part of the hugely successful '1001' series. A colorful and authoritative review of the history of comic books from around the world, illustrated with more than 800 images, including artwork from classic publications. Packed with fantastic reproductions of classic front covers and interior pages, this book is a visual treat as well as a goldmine of information. Selected and written by an broad international team of comics experts, led by international comic book aficionado, Paul Gravett.

About the Author

Paul Gravett is a London-based freelance journalist, curator, lecturer, writer and broadcaster, who has worked in comics publishing and promotion since 1981.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely essential 8 Oct 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book arrived in the same package from Amazon with another of similar size that had been ordered separately. There's a reason I mention this this but it will have to wait to the end of the review.

But first let's dispose of that stupid title. Unlike companion volumes in this series -movies, albums, songs- it is completely impossible for anyone to read all the comics listed unless: you have a lot of free time; a large amount of disposable funds; and are versed in numerous foreign languages. Many of the works are out of print and unobtainable except from national libraries; many have never been translated out of their original language. So forget the title, that isn't what this book is really about.

Essentially it's an historical survey of what the various writers and editor believe to be the best or most significant (the two are not necessarily synonymous) comics ever published. I'd argue that it's also polemical in that it's an argument for comics (by which the compiler includes newspaper strips, comics, graphic novels, manga or whatever form a narrative consisting of words and images appears in) as an art form. Comics are a medium just like films and novels.

It's also a reference book which is arranged chronologically. However, before the entries begin, there is an alphabetical list of titles and at the end an alphabetical index of author and illustrator which lists their included works. (You might not be too surprised to learn that Alan Moore has the most entries.) Include useful introduction and a brief guide to contributors and as a reference work it works very well. What you want to know is easily accessed.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars *The* reference book for the best comics. 6 Oct 2011
Beautiful, phonebook-sized publication. A reference book for the best and most important comics of the last century.
Even though it's a heavy, dip-in-and-out-of, coffee-table book I still find it a bit of a page turner - every review is written very well and gives the relevant info you'd want on each comic, re style, genre, target audience etc.
It also serves as a history book, detailing the books in chronological order of publishing date which makes for very interesting reading.
The reviewers provide a bit of cultural context for some the older or more obscure international books too, valuable info when assessing further interest.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 10 Jan 2012
By H
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Really good quality, alot bigger and heavier than expected - great as a coffee table book. Bought as a gift and recipient was very happy.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Before I die? Crikey - how long have I got? 9 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Now reissued in a hardback that's cheaper than the paperback? Curious. So what's the difference between this and Ilex's 500 Essential Graphic Novels? Well, apart from the fact that this one's remit is wider (the subtitle's unclear, but strips are admitted as well as books# it is chronological, in twenty- and then in ten-year chunks. So, handy, but nowise definitive, despite those sixty-seven contributors covering twenty-seven countries. Five Tintins? Seven Goscinnys? What a waste #how many of the ur-Superman stories were included, I wonder? There is no character index unless the character's name is the title# whereas a Caran d'Ache, under one token title, gets a whole career encapsulated in half a page. And exactly how many English-language women are there? I've come across three* so far, but will there be more than ten? The commentary's often crass, to pad out the page #'If one wants to understand the United States, there is a large canon of literature on which to draw. Take, for example, Little Orphan Annie' - or how about 'Times were extremely difficult in Weimar Republic Germany between the world wars'?# When not relying on covers - sadly, half the time - the pictures are frequently delightful #see the sumptuously reproduced Buck Rodgers on page 69# but I'm not convinced of the wisdom of jumbling all countries together thusly, preferring The Essential Guide to World Comics #which Paul Gravett gives five stars on, bless him, and which is just what it says on the tin# with individual country volumes where appropriate. And where oh where are my favourites? I wouldn't expect to find Ratman, still less Julia #the Italian scene, in vitality rivalling the French, is woefully under-represented#, but Dilbert? Monty? Read more ›
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is from a "modern" / post WW2 perspective. My fault and not necessarily the books. This is a little too scholarly and brief.
The initial historical stuff whilst great for HISTORY, hardly makes for interest whilst trying to get to grips with some of the finer points.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 3 Jan 2014
By midge
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought this as a present and it was liked very much by the recipient I think. Huge book. Nice graphics Nice quality.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 1001 Comic Books 1 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The 1001 Comic Books compensium arrived very promptly and gives a great overview. Good price, too. No complaints. I can recommend the vendor.
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