- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd; 1st Edition.. edition (1 Oct. 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1845131703
- ISBN-13: 978-1845131708
- Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 1.4 x 27.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 585,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Great British Comics Paperback – 1 Oct 2006
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"Great British Comics" offers a feast of striking cartoon graphics, a celebration of Britain's perennially popular comic heroes and their acclaimed creators, and a guide to collecting for everyone who remembers fondly the comics they grew up with. British comics are truly world famous, as well as being read by millions across the UK. Since the 1980s, there has been a British invasion of writers and artists into American comic books, revitalizing everything from Batman to X-Men and originating uniquely British characters of their own, such as Modesty Blaise and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Divided into chapters by themes such as schooldays, animals and the future, the book will chart the careers of familiar favourites such as Dennis the Menace and Dan Dare across the decades from the 1920s to the 1990s. The lively, informative text will be richly illustrated with toys, badges, merchandise and collectables, as well as comic-book covers, pages and annuals.
About the Author
Paul Gravett is a freelance journalist, curator, lecturer and broadcaster who has worked in comics publishing and promotion for over 20 years. He has curated numerous exhibitions of comic art, from the history of British comics for France’s National Comics Centre to the annual Comica festival for the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. He is the author several books including the best-selling Manga, Great British Comics, The Leather Nun & Other Incredibly Strange Comics and Graphic Novels: Stories To Change Your Life.
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So who should buy this book? Just about anyone with an interest in British comics will get something out of it: the melange of visuals from a century and a half of comic strips will draw in the casual browser, while its authoritative blend of comics culture and history will appeal to the comics' cognoscenti.
Put simply, this is the best primer on British comics I've ever read. Put it on your shopping list now.
Perhaps the saddest failure, however, is the failure to bring out the neglected brilliance of several old strips. After all, Alan Moore and MODESTY BLAISE hardly need this book's promotion, and neither do ANDY CAPP or EAGLE magazine. But how is anyone to know that BUCK RYAN, of which we only see a single daily strip, was as good an adventure/detective strip as anything by Milton Caniff or Frank Robbins? Who will explain to the public that Dennis Collins of PERISHERS was one of the finest artists the artform has ever seen? And sadder still, if possible: there is a strip called JANE, which is remembered, if at all, as a particularly dumb piece of wartime nostalgia. In fact, the wartime JANE was a very mediocre and forgettable strip, with gimmicky humour always leading up to the protagonist losing her clothes, and uninspired drawing; but someone really ought to stand up and show comics fans, and the rest of the public, that, in the fifties, a man called Mike Hubbard took over JANE and made it an extraordinary achievement, with a light touch in the humour/adventure writing, and some of the most wonderful artwork I have ever seen. This is the work of a master, utterly forgotten in his own home country, while JANE's poor wartime pratfall live for ever in the dubious medium of WWII nostalgia.
Having said all that, this is still a worthwhile book. Its learning is fabulous, its enthusiasm for its subject is commendable, and the warmth of its guiding spirit can be felt in page after page. As an introduction to the field of British comics, it is well worth having.
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