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1001: Comics You Must Read Before You Die Paperback – 3 Oct 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Cassell; 01 edition (3 Oct. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844036987
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844036981
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 5.7 x 20.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 127,341 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.


Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Relax - 'must read' means 'ought to have heard of'. We MUST read Winsor McCay's Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend AS WELL as Little Nemo, must we? How about Hergé's Quick et Flupke? If 1001 seems rather a large number it is because of this kind of double scoring (SEVEN Asterixes? I'd sooner die!) and because the editors sneak in things that aren't actually books or even comics like HM Bateman, cartoons of ('The Man Who..') and Rube Goldberg (machines of). Comics are normally understood to mean sequential art, not pictorial gags. The Penguin Book of Comics or Trina Robbins' recent Pretty in Ink did not have this problem of definition. Besides, to admit cartoons while leaving out the likes of Low (too serious for 'comics'? but the intent was always to raise a smile, or at the very least a wince of recognition) suggests a fundamental lack of focus. At least rival publication 500 Essential Graphic Novels sets out its stall fair and square. And so many contenders means people get squeezed; Blondie and Li'l Abner, icons both, are poorly served with half a page each and NO PIX! The page on the Fabulous Furry Freak Bros talks of Gilbert Shelton's 'consistently high level of cartooning craft' (page-filling waffle) without touching on the little matter of collaboration. In their wisdom Messrs Cassell decided to go with 'color' and 'humor' throughout. Why? And that doesn't excuse 'chauffer' for chauffeur or 'wrangle' a commission rather than wangle (both page 84). When Australian Barry Stone writes that the Franco-Belgian Buck Danny (an American airman) is 'unknown beyond the borders of the US' he must mean 'within'. There is meat here - the tragic stories of Percy 'Skippy' Crosby (clearer on Wikipedia), Ham 'Joe Pakooka' Fisher or EO Plauen - but you have to burrow for it. The sumptuously reproduced pictures are the thing. Feast on them awhile, then file this away, possibly in a loo
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Format: Paperback
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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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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By flo on 5 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
Generally a good book. Good reviews, good illustrations, pretty exhaustive re. time frame and geographical production. It is fascinating to realise that comics were already circulating during the 18th century, or to hear about works produced in such countries as Ghana, India or Korea. However it is still a bit too anglo-saxon biaised to me. The last part especially (2000-present) is pretty laughable: how can one justify the amount of UK comics ("that you must read before you die" remember, i.e. top de la creme!) mentioned there when you compare quantitatively (if only!) the continent's (France especially) and the UK's production??
There are also a few typos (I know, it is a huge book, however the Oxford dictionary is equally huge!) which is a bit distracting.
My comment above apart, good effort globally though. Hence these 4 stars.
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