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Heroes of the Comic Books : 75 Portraits of the Pioneering Legends of American Comic Books [Hardcover]

Drew Friedman

Price: £24.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 Sep 2014 Heroes of the Comic Books
Heroes of the Comic Books includes publishers, editors and artists from the industry's birth in the '30s, through the brilliant artists and writers behind EC Comics in the '50s. All are lovingly rendered and chosen by Drew Friedman, a cartooning legend in his own right, featuring subjects popular and obscure, men and women, as well as several pioneering African-American artists.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First book of its kind. A nice tribute. 15 Aug 2014
By Dennis M. Roy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
What a great book. Something like this is long overdue. If you've done a lot of reading of comics history books and articles in fanzines, you're not going to learn much of anything new, because the biographical synopses are pretty basic. They don't exactly dig too deep. But it's a nice primer, with the list of "heroes" well-chosen. You could almost have edited the text down here slightly and published this as a set of trading cards, but it's really much nicer to appreciate the portraits here with the detail revealed by the generous page size. Text-wise, the introduction by Drew is far more revealing about himself. You might infer from some of his satirical comics work that he's something of a wise-guy, but here he comes off as very much the "fanboy", very human and relatable.

The main thing here are the portraits of Drew's comic art heroes, which I found to be very respectful of their subjects (as a caricaturist, Friedman's drawings can sometimes be barbed and pointedly unflattering -- that's certainly not the case here). Looking down the contents page, this certainly seems to be a who's who list of those who've contributed iconic and landmark works in American comics (mostly comic books, but this isn't limited to those), with perhaps just a few less-obvious choices. Everyone profiled here made their mark upon the medium in the 1930s through 1950s (or like Otto Messmer, even earlier)... and just for contrast, one "Villain of the Comics" is included (Dr. Fredrick Wertham), along with a few important non-creative types like Martin Goodman. Much less familiar than the names will be the faces, even for those who've read prodigiously their comics histories and fanzine interviews. Probably at least half of these were first-time experiences of seeing the faces behind the names for me, some of them not what you'd have pictured at all, others looking like the very ordinary, untalented sorts of people you'd see everywhere you go in life. Very few are portraits of the artists as they were at their height of popularity, productivity and impact on the field -- most of these capture the artists in late middle age or their senior years. Which is just fine, because you can see some of that life experience etched on their faces.

You probably already know just from the description of the contents whether or not this sort of thing is up your alley or not, so if it is, just buy it. You won't be disappointed. It should go without saying that if you are (or are hoping to be) a comic artist working in this field who has any modicum of respect for the history of your chosen medium, that this is an absolute no-brainer, a must-have for your bookshelf.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drew Friedman's best book! 23 Aug 2014
By Jerry Beck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I don't usually write these reviews on Amazon - but this is Drew Friedman's best book (or at least the best one without Shemp on the cover). It is an affectionate look at the men who made the comics what they were and created characters that will endure beyond their pulp paper origins. He even includes some folks who were just as significant in animation. His portraits are brilliant (sometimes funny, sometimes sad, all times wonderful). His writing, which accompanies each painting, is important and heartfelt - and overall this book could (and should) be an assigned text book for classes in media studies, comic book history and art caricature. Highly recommended. If you love comics - this is a must-have.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for any Comics fan 23 Aug 2014
By Sridhar Pappu - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Drew Friedman's portraits of the men and women who helped create and build the modern comics industry are more than just illustrations. They show the depths of the heroes--and in some cases villains--behind these characters who grew to be much larger than the writers and artists themselves. At times, as with the case with his portraits with Jack Kirby and Bill Finger, one is haunted by men who found themselves displaced from the iconic worlds they created. We see the slyness in Bob Kane, and the showmanship of Stan Lee. Accompanied by comprehensive text for each person, this is a must for anyone interested in the history of sequential art.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He has created a brilliant homage to these artists 24 Aug 2014
By Mimi Pond - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The essentially, uniquely American, and often-derided art form- the comic book- has been a powerful force in influencing EVERYTHING: from the art world, to the world of literature, to the highest echelons of movie-making. Its Andy Warhols, its Michael Chabons, its Stephen Spielbergs, have never gotten the respect or recognition they so richly deserve. Drew Friedman, my fellow toiler in the trenches of cartooning, is here to remedy that. He has created a brilliant homage to these artists, writers, editors and publishers with his incisive portraits and fascinating, well-researched biographies.He has shined a much-needed light on a very neglected part of our history. ALL HAIL DREW FRIEDMAN!!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Master at the Top of his Form 23 Aug 2014
By Trumbo123 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Drew Friedman is a master. All his books are brilliant -- combining a wicked sense of humor, consummate artistry, and a fan's pure love of his subjects -- but this one is also an education. This time, his subjects are not old Jewish comedians, but the heroes of comics, the genius pioneers who laid the foundation to make comic books the worldwide phenomenon that they are today. The book is suffused with nostalgia and reverence. But the star is not the wonderful text. As always, it's the drawings -- the living embodiment of the influence that Mr. Friedman's heroes had on his life and art and sensibility....
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