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Comics: A Global History, 1968 to the Present

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Comics, manga, bandes dessinees, fumetti, tebeo, historietas... no matter the name, they have been a powerful medium across four continents for decades. This is the history of comics around the world from the late 1960s to the dawn of the 21st century. Comics is a richly illustrated narrative of extraordinary scope. Examples from all over the world include everything from Comics, manga, bandes dessinees, fumetti, tebeo, historietas... no matter the name, they have been a powerful medium across four continents for decades. This is the history of comics around the world from the late 1960s to the dawn of the 21st century. Comics is a richly illustrated narrative of extraordinary scope. Examples from all over the world include everything from Crumb and Kirby to RAW; from Metal Hurlant to Marjane Satrapi to nouvelle manga; from both the American mainstream and underground to the evolving and influential British scene. The images here are bright and colorful, dark and brooding, arresting and pleasant, all at the same time. An unprecedented collection includes around 260 expertly chosen illustrations, many reproduced in full-page format for more sophisticated analysis.The authors, two uniquely positioned and knowledgeable authorities, are the first to write a broadly comprehensive history of this most accessible, democratic, and occasionally subversive modern popular art form, displaying an intimate familiarity with schools and styles, writers, artists, and companies across countries and generations. In showing us both post-apocalyptic dreamscapes and portraits of the everyday, Comics looks at this thirty-plus year period through a very unique lens.


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Comics, manga, bandes dessinees, fumetti, tebeo, historietas... no matter the name, they have been a powerful medium across four continents for decades. This is the history of comics around the world from the late 1960s to the dawn of the 21st century. Comics is a richly illustrated narrative of extraordinary scope. Examples from all over the world include everything from Comics, manga, bandes dessinees, fumetti, tebeo, historietas... no matter the name, they have been a powerful medium across four continents for decades. This is the history of comics around the world from the late 1960s to the dawn of the 21st century. Comics is a richly illustrated narrative of extraordinary scope. Examples from all over the world include everything from Crumb and Kirby to RAW; from Metal Hurlant to Marjane Satrapi to nouvelle manga; from both the American mainstream and underground to the evolving and influential British scene. The images here are bright and colorful, dark and brooding, arresting and pleasant, all at the same time. An unprecedented collection includes around 260 expertly chosen illustrations, many reproduced in full-page format for more sophisticated analysis.The authors, two uniquely positioned and knowledgeable authorities, are the first to write a broadly comprehensive history of this most accessible, democratic, and occasionally subversive modern popular art form, displaying an intimate familiarity with schools and styles, writers, artists, and companies across countries and generations. In showing us both post-apocalyptic dreamscapes and portraits of the everyday, Comics looks at this thirty-plus year period through a very unique lens.

30 review for Comics: A Global History, 1968 to the Present

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kevinjwoods

    This is one of those history of comics that completely misses the idea of what a history should be in favour of what can only be described as what the author feels should be studied. The chapters on American comics illustrate the main problem with the methodology behind the writing in that they concentrate almost entirely on the independent and alternative end of the comic industry while trying to pretend that the mainstream barely exists to the extent that it fails to mention to give one exampl This is one of those history of comics that completely misses the idea of what a history should be in favour of what can only be described as what the author feels should be studied. The chapters on American comics illustrate the main problem with the methodology behind the writing in that they concentrate almost entirely on the independent and alternative end of the comic industry while trying to pretend that the mainstream barely exists to the extent that it fails to mention to give one example Alternative comics like The Authority and American Splendour wound up being published by DC one of the big mainstream companies. Another problem is that many of the magazines touted as being highly influential wound up being cancelled because no one actually bought, in fact the authors seem to be under the impression that somehow being unable to draw makes you a better artist, many of the illustrations one suspects are used in the independant area solely because the mainstream requires notions of readability and understanding what you are seeing on the page to be basic requirements. This is not a Global History of Comics this is in fact merely a Global History of Footnotes to a Global History of Comics, anyone looking to understand how comics have developed over the last fifty years will have to look elsewhere I am afraid as any history that studiously avoids the majority of the medium it is purporting to study becomes useless to the average reader and will only be useful to the sort of person who considers themselves a fan of comics because they have read Maus and Watchmen but would be horrified at the thought of reading a Superman or Spiderman book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kate McCarthy

    Overall I thought this book was well done and pretty thorough, diving into the recent history of comics in the US, Japan, and Europe. Personally, the timing of reading this was great because of trips to Japan (recent) and the UK (soon), while reading lots of great graphic novels. My only complaint was the font size--the text was about 8pt, and many of the reproduced samples were reduced in size, making for much nose-to-page reading. Perhaps an edition with 12pt copy and full-sized reproductions Overall I thought this book was well done and pretty thorough, diving into the recent history of comics in the US, Japan, and Europe. Personally, the timing of reading this was great because of trips to Japan (recent) and the UK (soon), while reading lots of great graphic novels. My only complaint was the font size--the text was about 8pt, and many of the reproduced samples were reduced in size, making for much nose-to-page reading. Perhaps an edition with 12pt copy and full-sized reproductions would make it more accessible.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jeana Lawrence

    I had to read this for a class project and out of the whole semester it’s been one of the more interesting books I’ve read. People who know comics and comic book history might like the global part and are probably pretty aware of the history of certain comic book creators. However this does a great job of connecting influences from different countries and going over the more popular comic books so you’re never lost as to who they’re talking about.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Very cool

  5. 5 out of 5

    Renaud Germain

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfRB3... ( Vidéo de Dan Mazur)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Eric Mesa

    Disclosure: I received this book as part of the Goodreads.com First Reads program in which the winner recieves a copy of the book in exchange for a review. (It’s slightly more complicated than that, see the Goodreads First Reads terms for all the details) I love reading these types of histories about culture. I have read similar books about photography and animation published by Taschen. This isn’t my first time reading about the history of comics, I also read 10 Cent Scare and Grant Morrison’s S Disclosure: I received this book as part of the Goodreads.com First Reads program in which the winner recieves a copy of the book in exchange for a review. (It’s slightly more complicated than that, see the Goodreads First Reads terms for all the details) I love reading these types of histories about culture. I have read similar books about photography and animation published by Taschen. This isn’t my first time reading about the history of comics, I also read 10 Cent Scare and Grant Morrison’s Supergods. Anyone who’s been reading my reviews for a while knows that I love comics and actually run a comics analysis site, www.comicpow.com. The best thing about this book is that it starts from the 1960s. So far everything I’d read about comics can be compared to the way I learned US history growing up. Every year we’d start with Christopher Columbus. We’d learn about the Pilgrims and Jamestown and so on. Every year, when February rolled around we’d learn about the Civil War. We rarely made it past World War I. As a result I barely know anything but the pop history version of events from the 60s to now. I know more about America’s founding than I do about the decade in which I was born. The same often happens with comics. We start off learning about newspaper comics and The Yellow Kid. We learn about the 1930s and how revolutionary Superman and Batman were. Then there’s the creation of Marvel. Then some Brits came over and things got edgy in the 80s. What this book does, by starting at the 1960s, is to give a lot more weight to the silver and bronze age as well as giving some nice, important perspective into the 80s and 90s. Perhaps more importantly, the book explores each decade by looking at America, Europe, and Asia. Every history I’ve read until now has operated as if only America and England mattered when it comes to comics. Until reading this book I had no idea that Europe had such a rich comics history. (Other than hearing about Tin Tin and The Smurfs) This also allows the authors to explore how each region influenced the other. It is true that Europe hasn’t had as much of an influence in this direction as England and Japan, but it has had some influences and that was nice to see. Overall, I think the biggest weakness of this book is that it’s a physical book. As such it was limited in many ways and, as even as someone who didn’t have regular internet access until about age 14, I just kept thinking the book had so much more potential. This book is amazing, but it really brings into relief the power of the Internet over a book when it comes to a huge tome just like this one. The text is amazing, but the images leave me wishing for more examples. Also, I’d like the images to be closer to where the artist and/or writer is being discussed. But this is much more easily done online than in a book. Also, I think links between related topics would be awesome in this book. Finally, links to buy the awesome works I’m reading about. This book crossed with wikia would be a dream come true for any true fan of the medium who wants to know about the creators, not just the characters. It’s the ultimate irony that the breadth could easily be surpassed by a wiki, but what makes this book worth buying is that the authors use their research to draw a through-line of trends that would be lacking from the anyone-can-edit environment of a wiki. Perhaps the growth of the Internet and technology will eventually lead to a situation where people can provide a wiki-like experience but gain the money needed to pay for the research. And while my main complaint was with the images, there were some glaring omissions in the text for space reasons. In the 60s the Kirby and Adams text was pretty sparse for such important titans in the industry. The chapter on manga through the 80s clearly proves my point about how, while the research is phenomenal, it suffers from being a book (rather than a website) as many landmark manga are left unillustrated in the book. Another limitation of the book format, the following only get one sentence: 100 Bullets, Y: The Last Man, and Fables. One last complaint - it focused a LOT on art trends and less on storyline trends. The line had to be drawn somewhere (no pun intended), but I’d love a companion book that looks more closely into that aspect of comics history. For examples of what I found neat within each chapter, check the status updates which (at the time of this writing) are included at the bottom of the review page on Goodreads.com. I would recommend doing as I did and reading it sequentially at least once because that gives the reader the best chance of understanding how the trends evolved through the decades. After that, I’d use it as a reference to look up certain periods and I would definitely recommend using it as a recommendation engine equivalent to those lists of movies or books that you MUST read. Despite the limitations of its form factor, I would heartily recommend this book to anyone who’s interested in the history of comics and how we got here.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dario Malic

    Posljednjih nekoliko tjedana sam polako iščitavao ovu knjigu i moram reći da sam jako zadovoljan. Da, to nije kompletna povijest stripa i naslov je pretenciozan, ali mislim da je bitniji sadržaj od naslova, a sadržaj je jako dobar. Svidjelo mi se što autori zapravo veći naglasak stavljaju na alternativne/underground/umjetničke stripove i posvećuju podjednaku pozornost američkom, europskom i japanskom stripu. Naravno da je mnogo toga ostalo izostavljeno, no ja sam ovim putem otkrio mnoštvo zaniml Posljednjih nekoliko tjedana sam polako iščitavao ovu knjigu i moram reći da sam jako zadovoljan. Da, to nije kompletna povijest stripa i naslov je pretenciozan, ali mislim da je bitniji sadržaj od naslova, a sadržaj je jako dobar. Svidjelo mi se što autori zapravo veći naglasak stavljaju na alternativne/underground/umjetničke stripove i posvećuju podjednaku pozornost američkom, europskom i japanskom stripu. Naravno da je mnogo toga ostalo izostavljeno, no ja sam ovim putem otkrio mnoštvo zanimljivih autora i to kroz vrlo pitak i dobro složen tekst koji se ne zadovoljava pukim nabrajanjem već stavlja stvari u kontekst (koliko je to već moguće za tako dugačak period na tako malom broju stranica). Po meni je ovo nezaobilazno štivo.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tim Pendry

    A solid account of a minor art form but a great contributor to the popular imagination even if the book does sometimes come to sound like a catalogue. It is very well illustrated and clearly written. It has the standard artistic prejudice towards the auteur and so probably over-privileges the jottings of the tormented autobiographer and the intense intellectual but that rather goes with Thames & Hudson territory. The judgments on the better known (in the UK) American mainstream tradition seem A solid account of a minor art form but a great contributor to the popular imagination even if the book does sometimes come to sound like a catalogue. It is very well illustrated and clearly written. It has the standard artistic prejudice towards the auteur and so probably over-privileges the jottings of the tormented autobiographer and the intense intellectual but that rather goes with Thames & Hudson territory. The judgments on the better known (in the UK) American mainstream tradition seem fair and it is good on the general development and creativity of Japanese manga. It also brings us right up to date with the web comic. The book has its gaps and it admits these from the beginning but where it is valuable is in showing something of the detail of achievement in the francophone tradition which has been sustainedly good over the whole period. Britain looks increasingly like a colonial backwater despite 2000AD with its serious talent being drawn quickly into the American commercial maw - British talent is the talent of Britons and British education but not Britain. Indeed, the dystopian, literary, political and magical elements that were such a revelation to optimistic Americans were simply a reflection of a very strange and confused culture with very many fantasies and no money. There are also creative bursts of energy in Italy, Spain, the German-speaking world and Argentina but the real creative powerhouses in terms of sustained production remain the US, France and Japan, each feeding off the other. Comic books can be story (the real strength of the Brits) or they can be art (the strength of the Europeans) or both and the variations within the form is what comes out most forcibly in the text. Not definitive perhaps about the genre - the auteur approach is a little too strong though the authors do give decent commercial and thematic background throughout - but highly recommended to anyone interested in the subject.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Derek Royal

    Dan Nazur and Alexander Danner have created a wonderful history of comics since 1968. One of the challenges of any historical overview is knowing how to balance detailed accounts with broad categorizing strokes, and in the case of Comics: A Global History, this challenge is particularly acute. Given the global focus of this text, there was the danger of the authors getting lost in their bigger picture at the expense of closer readings. But for the most part, they avoid this pitfall. As with any Dan Nazur and Alexander Danner have created a wonderful history of comics since 1968. One of the challenges of any historical overview is knowing how to balance detailed accounts with broad categorizing strokes, and in the case of Comics: A Global History, this challenge is particularly acute. Given the global focus of this text, there was the danger of the authors getting lost in their bigger picture at the expense of closer readings. But for the most part, they avoid this pitfall. As with any historical text, you won't get the kind of detailed textual analysis as you would in a more targeted literary reading. But the information that you do get in this particular work is meant to complement those pointed assessments. What's, Nazur and Danner's scope is quite ambitious. It's a rarity that any comics historian will take on such a large geographic canvas. The authors do discuss comics worldwide, for the most part, but by their own admission, the focus primarily on three distinct regions: North America, Western Europe, and Japan. They bring in comics from other lands, but the gist of their history is on those three areas, and the book is more or less structured in this manner. Each of the book's three parts -- from 1968-1978, from 1978-1990, and from 1990 to the present -- include one or more chapters on each of these world regions. Much of their geographic division comes to a head in the final chapters of the book, as the authors make clear that cross-cultural pollination and the proliferation of the Internet have made distinct national comics, if not a thing of the past, then something that is less easy to define. This should be a necessary read for every scholar and fan of comics history.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    An extensive overview of the artistic history of graphica with a focus on the roots, underground, and alternative titles, rather than the commercial, from across the world. Particular attention is given to American comic books, French bande designee, and Japanese manga. The author almost exclusively talks about graphica aimed at adults and the transformations it has gone through; the magazines, birth of the graphic novel, censorship, stylistic growth, and more are spoken about at length with ple An extensive overview of the artistic history of graphica with a focus on the roots, underground, and alternative titles, rather than the commercial, from across the world. Particular attention is given to American comic books, French bande designee, and Japanese manga. The author almost exclusively talks about graphica aimed at adults and the transformations it has gone through; the magazines, birth of the graphic novel, censorship, stylistic growth, and more are spoken about at length with plenty of examples. Between the general history of graphica and all the images, this book is fairly large, hence the decision to limit the scope in the above-mentioned ways. There is also the sense that the author wanted to focus on the "lesser known" forms. There are plenty of books on superhero books, but little on all those artists who have helped to define, alter, and broaden the horizons of graphica. Autobiographies, visual and literary masterpieces, and titles on previously prohibited subjects, are just some of the things we now have available to us, thanks to these pioneers.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    I received this book for free as a Goodreads First Read. This book is a bit too haughty for my liking. There are a lot of gaps & "breezing overs" in this book--which is perhaps why it has taken me so long to read & write a review concerning it. The author tends to focus almost completely on the alternative section of the comics industry & doesn't provide a great deal in regards to the influence of popular, mainstream titles. In some circumstances, this is not a bad things. However, f I received this book for free as a Goodreads First Read. This book is a bit too haughty for my liking. There are a lot of gaps & "breezing overs" in this book--which is perhaps why it has taken me so long to read & write a review concerning it. The author tends to focus almost completely on the alternative section of the comics industry & doesn't provide a great deal in regards to the influence of popular, mainstream titles. In some circumstances, this is not a bad things. However, for someone to call a work a "Global History", a book has to include all sections & subsections of the field & not just provide margin notes that gloss over the influences of other trends. As a comic fan, it feels like the author is thumbing his nose at the mainstream influence of comics in a general.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Des

    It's a pretty comprehensive history. It was obviously an ambitious project (cataloguing any form of art over a span of several decades surely isn't easy) but I wish there had been the addition of historical analysis/context. It was weird to read about American comics in the 1960s and not read about the Civil Rights Movement. Maybe that's just the history major in me talking, but I like to hear how different facets of pop culture interact with the ongoing world. The progression of artistic style It's a pretty comprehensive history. It was obviously an ambitious project (cataloguing any form of art over a span of several decades surely isn't easy) but I wish there had been the addition of historical analysis/context. It was weird to read about American comics in the 1960s and not read about the Civil Rights Movement. Maybe that's just the history major in me talking, but I like to hear how different facets of pop culture interact with the ongoing world. The progression of artistic style and storytelling devices is conveyed very well, but again I feel as though if historical context had been provided, it would have strengthened the book overall.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    More academic than expected, Mazur's history of comics spans from the San Francisco and New York to Japan, Belgium, Germany and Argentina and all points between. While some of the writing is a bit dense and dry, the generous use of (untranslated) examples breaks up the storytelling and gives life to what would otherwise be a difficult read. Informative and expansive, this would be a great readalong to McCloud's Understanding Comics, especially for gaining historical perspective.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joey

    The best history of the medium I've ever read. The attention paid to international comics is particularly valuable (and frustrating as it has shown me how many great works have never been translates).

  15. 5 out of 5

    Adan

    So great! Not perfect, but still pretty amazing!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jazzy

    interesting thurough look at contemporary history of comics. very in depth. including many female artists and creators not other wise featured.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Beth

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mar

  19. 4 out of 5

    Francisco

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dfvj

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gavin Chapman-Woods

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marie-Claude Taillon

  23. 4 out of 5

    John

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tomislav Škrljac

  25. 4 out of 5

    PJ Ebbrell

    Introduces a whole new set of world to comic creators and fans.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dnxn

  27. 5 out of 5

    Veronika

  28. 5 out of 5

    Conor Tynan

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mark Bradley

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

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