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The Mammoth Book of Best Crime Comics Paperback – 26 Jun 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Robinson (26 Jun. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845297105
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845297107
  • Product Dimensions: 16.6 x 4 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 496,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Lethally entertaining and indecently good value ... like all the Mammoth collections --Independent on Sunday

Book Description

The 24 greatest crime comics ever produced!

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ian Williams TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've reviewed the other 'Mammoth Book of Best (fill in the blank) Comics' and had varying degrees of reservations about them all, usually to do with the word 'Best' in title, and that usually because the selections weren't genuinely inclusive, often, I surmise, because the compiler couldn't afford the reprint rights. I should also acknowledge that no two people would ever compile exactly the same Best list anyway.

This collection, however, combines breadth, depth and quality. The omissions of DC and Marvel stories isn't important this time because they weren't as important in this genre (except latterly for some Vertigo titles). A simple list of the contributors alone should have anyone with the slightest interest reaching for the add to basket button. Take a look at this-

An opening elegy for the gangster by Alan Moore; a short by Kirby & Simon, Jack 'Plastic Man' Cole including one image that freaked out Frederick Wertham; a surreal piece by modernist Charles Burns; a short sharp and sexy Spirit story (a mandatory inclusion); a 70-page complete daily strip written by Dashiel Hammett prior to leaving for the lucre of Hollywood and illustrated by then-newcomer Alex Raymond; legend Alex Toth; a 50page story featuring a 9-month pregnant private eye Ms Tree by Collins & Beatty; a Kane story by the talented and British writer/artist Paul Grist; Mickey Spillane writing Mike Hammer for a Sunday strip; and much much more.

The time span ranges from the 30's to the 90's, the contributors from America, Britain, and Europe.

Not all of it's perfect. Crime stories often look better in black and white so the removal of colour usually isn't a problem here. Usually. The two Bernie Krigstein stories look very thin compared to the other contributions.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Rob on 24 Oct. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great book that any comics fan would be happy to find in their Christmas stocking. Here are the full contents:

Old Gangsters Never Die by Alan Moore & Lloyd Thatcher (8 pgs)
Torpedo 1936: The Switch by Sanchez Abuli & Jordi Bernet (8 pgs)
The Money-Making Machine Swindlers by Joe Simon & Jack Kir by (14 pgs)
87th Precinct: Blind Mans Bluff by ? & Bernie Krigstein (32 pgs)
The Murderer of Hung by Dominique Grange & Jacques Tardi (8 pgs)
Murder, Morphine and Me! by Jack Cole (14 pgs)
El Borbah: Love in Vain by Charles Burnes (9 pgs)
The Spirit: The Portier Fortune by Will Eisner (7 pgs)
Secret Agent X-9 by Dashiell Hammett & Alex Raymond (80 pgs)
Commissario Spada:Strada by Gianluigi Gonano & Gianni De Luca (10 pgs)
Lily-White Joe by ? & Bernie Krigstein (8 pgs)
The Crushed Gardenia by ? & Alex Toth (8 pgs)
Ms Tree: Maternity Leave by Max Allan Collins & Terry Beatty (48 pgs)
Roy Carson and the Old Master by Colin McLoughlin & Denis McLoughlin (12 pgs)
Mary Spratchet by ? (9 pgs)
Alack Sinner: Talkin With Joe by Carlos Sampayo & Jose Munoz (27 pgs)
The Button by ? & Bill Everett (5 pgs)
Kane: Rat in the House by Paul Grist (32 pgs)
Who Dunnit? by ? & Fred Guardineer (6 pgs)
Mike Lancer and the Syndicate of Death by Mickey Spillane & Harry Sahle (6 pgs)
Mike Hammer: Dark City by Mickey Spillane & Ed Robbins (32 pgs)
The Court by Neil Gaiman & Warren Pleece (10 pgs)
The Sewer by Johnny Craig (8 pgs)
I Keep Coming Back by Alan Moore & Oscar Zarate (12 pgs)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. John P. Humphreys on 3 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some enjoyable stories (though one story was assembled with some pages in the wrong order). A good introduction to some writers or characters which readers may wish to pursue further,
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Condition ok, not great, some great old style illustration I hadn't seen before so worth it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 9 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Great! 14 Aug. 2008
By Richard J. Arndt - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the third Mammoth comics volumes--the first two focusing on war & horror. Both of those earlier volumes were hampered, although not crippled, by the refusals of EC, DC, Marvel/Atlas & Warren to allow reprints of their stories (although Warren tales did appear in the War volume). However this volume focuses on crime, a genre neither DC or Marvel/Atlas did much of importance with, Warren only produced a few stories in (although they tended to be of quite high quality) and, in fact, an EC story does appear here.

With almost the entire field to choose from the quality of this volume is very high with an excellent 1934 Dashiell Hammett/Alex Raymond tale from Secret Agent X-9; two stories from Bernie Krigstein (including the very strange 'Blind Man's Bluff' which was his swansong to comics); obscure but high quality Alan Moore & Neil Gaiman tales (including Moore's epilogue to his graphic novel 'From Hell'); a great Max Collins/Terry Beatty Ms. Tree tale, a fine Johnny Craig story from EC, Jack Cole's classic 'Murder, Morphine And Me!', a fine Joe Simon/Jack Kirby bunko tale, some decent Euro crime tales making their North American debuts, Will Eisner's Spirit (although one might quibble why 'The Portier Fortune'--a good but not great Spirit tale appears, when such genuine noir greats like 'Black Alley', 'Ten Minutes' or 'Fox At Bay' were passed by), Jordi Bernet with a Torpedo tale, an Alex Toth classic, Charles Burns' El Boro and much, much more. In fact, the quality of this book is so high while the price is so low that it may well be the best comic anthology of the year for your dollar.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Beyond Sin City 28 Oct. 2008
By DrSpecter - Published on
Format: Paperback
Since reading Mike Benton's fascinating Illustrated History of Crime Comics, I've been interested in the genre. It predates horror comics by more than a decade, and crime comics were a huge hit with adults in the 40s. In terms of era, form and content, they fit neatly between the hardboiled pulp magazines and novels, and film noir.

This Mammoth Book collection has plenty of pre-50s stuff, including the amazingly hard hitting Secret Agent X-9 newspaper strip from the 30s. There's also a cool Johnny Craig story from Crime Suspenstories-- my favorite EC title! Frank Miller talks about Craig's work a good deal in the Sin City commentary.

It's also wonderful to finally have high quality reproductions of the original inks of Jack Cole's "Murder, Morphine and Me," and Alex Toth's "The Crushed Gardenia," and Bernie Krigstein's "Lilly-White Joe"-- all real classics. I also loved Krigstein's solid adaptation of the bizarro 87th Precinct story "Blind Man's Bluff".

Even the newer stuff I've never heard of is worth reading. And it's all great reference material. I wish this was a huge coffee table hardback, but then it would've probably cost seventy-five bucks! I hope there's a part two, because I know the source material's hardly been exhausted. One example that comes to mind is the terrific Joe Lansdale/Bruce Timm team-up "Red Romance".
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The Ultimate Crime Comics "Mixtape" 7 Jan. 2009
By Randy Zimmerman - Published on
Format: Paperback
An Eisner Spirit classic, A Torpedo classic, a huge chunk of Hammett and Raymond's Secret Agent X-9 comic strip, El Boro short, Miss Tree story, This book is a classic "mixtape" of someone's most favorite crime comics ever! I was SO enthralled by this collection that I ordered all of the other Mammoth Comic collections, but sincerely, this Crime Comics volume is a great collection and a high example of some of the best quality and entertainment that comics have to give. Easily a bargain at TWICE the listed price!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
"Spanning All Shades Of Noir" 24 Aug. 2012
By AvidOldiesCollector - Published on
Format: Paperback
It's too bad one reviewer had to more or less dump on this great graphic novel-type compendium of crime comics based upon their use of the word "best" in the title, since I think most understand that that one word has been used to death when listing everything from comics to records, entertainers to sports personalities or beer to pretzels - and everything in between. In the final analysis, it is, after all, nothing more than the personal opinion of the creator of the list or collection, and so there will always be countering opinions tossed out.

Compiler Paul Gravett could just as easily left it out, but since it's there let's examine an esteemed opinion of Mr. Gravett himself by no less than The Times Of London which, according to an entry at the front of the book, regards him as "the greatest historian of the comics and graphic novel form in this country ..." and goes on to describe him as a writer, lecturer and broadcaster about international comics and director of the Comics festival of London's Institute of Contemporary Arts." Good enough for me, and as Mr. Gravett says "this book is dedicated to the unknown writers and artists of these comics, who despite much research have evaded recognition, may they be remembered, and rediscovered, very soon." He then goes on to contribute a 4 page Introduction titled "Every Shade Of Noir" in which he gives an overview of the history of the crime comic and some of the main personalities of such and their creators. Fascinating stuff.

In presenting 24 separate stories he mixes the following Golden Age, Silver Age and contemporary material in offering up stories by the biggest names to have graced either individual comics or newspaper strips covering the genre (showing scriptwriter and artist): Old Gangsters Never Die - Alan Moore & Lloyd Thatcher (1983); Torpedo 1936: The Switch - Sanchez Abuli & Jordi Bernet (1982); The Money-Making Machine Swindlers - Joe Simon & Jack Kirby (1948); 87th Precinct: Blind Man's Bluff - Bernie Krigstein & anonymous (1962); The Murderer Of Hung - Dominique Grange & Jacques Tardi (1982); Murder, Morphine And Me - Jack Cole (1948); El Borah: Love In vein - Charles Burns (1987); The Spirit: The Portier Fortune - Will Eisner (1946); Secret Agent X-9 - Dashiel Hammett & Alex Raymond (1934 - 79 pages of newspaper strips); Commissario Spada: Strada (Street) - Gianluigi Gonano & Gianni De Luca (1979); Lily-White Joe - Bernie Krigstein & anonymous (1950); The Crushed Gardenia - Alex Toth & anonymous (1953); Ms. Tree: Maternity Leave - Max Allan Collins & Terry Beatty (1992 - 47 pages); Roy Carson And The Old Master - Colin McLoughlin & Dennis McLoughlin (1953); Mary Spratchet - anonymous (1949); Alack Sinner: Talkin' With Joe - Carlos Sampayo & José Muñoz (1975); The Button - Bill Everett & anonymous (1950); Kane: Rat In The House - Paul Grist (1994 - 31 pages); Who Dunnit? - Fred Guardineer & anonymous (1948); Mike Lancer And The Syndicate Of Death - Mickey Spillane & Harry Sahle (1942); Mike Hammer: Dark City - Mickey Spillane & Ed Robbins (1954 - 31 pages); The Court - Neil Gaiman & Warren Pleece (1996); The Sewer - Johnny Craig (1951); I Keep Coming Back - Alan Moore & Oscar Zarate (1996).

With 479 b&w pages, the average length of each story (except where indicated above) is about 10-12 pages. Each story is preceded by brief comments on the author/artist, and a synopsis of, and a quotation from, the story - e.g., for 87th Precinct: Blind Man's Bluff "It was as if the body of the person appeared on the canvas itself. And all I had to do was lay on the paint."

Clearly, from the list above, this is NOT all about comics/strips originating in the U.S. Thoroughly enjoyable.
A must buy for anyone that loves crtime comics 2 Sept. 2012
By Double T the legally blind referee - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I can remember after Sin City first hit the comics scene in the mid 90s and it seemed like every indy company was putting out their rip off/homage to Sin City. This trade collects lots of great golden,silver,bronze and modern age Crime comics. It is a great value for how much you get for such a low price.
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