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Comic Book Culture: An Illustrated History [Paperback]

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Item description for Comic Book Culture: An Illustrated History by Ron Goulart...

During the Golden Age of comic books, from the middle 1930s to the late 1940s, readers could choose from hundreds of titles colorfully displayed on America's newsstands -- from Action Comics to Zip Comics. Selecting from thousands of cover illustrations of the period, comics authority Ron Goulart has assembled more than 400 of the most entertaining and provocative for this book. All of which are comprehensively indexed for the first time. You'll see images of various characters, including Superman, Batman, Plastic Man, Captain Marvel, The Flame, Cat-Man, the Black Terror, the Blue Beetle and Sheena -- Queen of the Jungle. You'll encounter the most effective output of admired artists such as Will Eisner, Jack Kirby, Lou Fine, Jack Cole, Alex Schomburg and Bill Everett, plus lesser-know cartoonists such as Paul Gustavson, Matt Baker, Gus Ricca, L.B. Cole and Ramona Patenaude. Several covers in this collection have not been reprinted since their original publication. The text provides a concise history of the comic book business, from its shaky beginnings in the early 1930s to its multi-million dollar successes during the WWII years. Through informed copy and profuse images, Goulart offers an intimate look at one of the most popular forms of American popular art.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   206
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 10.8" Width: 10.2" Height: 1"
Weight:   2.2 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 30, 2007
Publisher   Collectors Press
ISBN  193311231X  
ISBN13  9781933112312  
UPC  826210000605  

Availability  0 units.

More About Ron Goulart

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ron Goulart is an award-winning mystery and science fiction writer who is also considered one of the leading experts on comics, both nationally and internationally. He has written numerous comics and published many books on the subject, including Great American Comic Books and Comic Book Culture. He lives in Connecticut with his wife.

Ron Goulart was born in 1933.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Art History
2Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > General
3Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Art Instruction & Reference > General
4Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Graphic Design > Cartooning
5Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Graphic Design > Pop Culture
6Books > Subjects > Comics & Graphic Novels > History & Price Guides
7Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Pop Culture > Collectibles

Reviews - What do customers think about Comic Book Culture: An Illustrated History?

I'm as much a fan of comic book history as I am of comic books themselves. The history is absolutely fascinating as one delves into just how the business started and some of the real-life unusual characters who are largely responsible for comic books as we know them today. Ron Goulart's "Comic Book Culture: An Illustrated History" has just been released again by Collector's Press and it should be required reading for comic fans, especially younger fans who are not familiar with over eighty year history of the business.

Most people associate the start of the comic book era with the release of Action Comics #1 in 1938 that featured the introduction of Superman in a thirteen-page story. But the fact is that comic books had been around for many years before Superman came along. Heck, Action Comics was not even the first title put out by National Comics/National Periodical Publications, which would later become DC. National's first book was New Fun Comics in 1935, which would later change its name to More Fun Comics, and introduce characters such as The Spectre and Doctor Fate.

Comic Book Culture takes fans back to the earliest days of the bound comic, which originally just collected popular newspaper strips of the day and reprinted them. Detective Comics #1 actually preceded Action Comics #1 by over a year, making its debut in March 1937. Detective Comics was heavily influenced by detective pulp magazines of the 30's which were among the most popular pulps of the day. Another early National title that would thrive for years would be Adventure Comics, also debuting in 1935.

One of the great pioneers of the Golden Age of Comics was M.C. Gaines. Gaines headed up All-American Publications, the sister company to National. All-American would introduce such characters as the Golden Age Green Lantern, The Flash, Wonder Woman, as well as the Justice Society of America.

But before you think this book is all about DC and marvel, think again. I was pleasantly surprised at how much coverage was given to companies, titles, and characters long lost to the sands of time. There was Mystic Comics featuring The Destroyer and Dynamo Man, Mystery Men Comics featuring the Blue Beetle, Wonder World Comics featuring The Flame, Hit Comics featuring Hercules, and countless others.

Of course, the other major players of the Golden Age are covered in full with sections devoted to Captain Marvel and the whole Marvel family, and Timely Comics. Goulart also devotes sections to the "Old Masters" of the day such as Jack Kirby and Alex Schomburg, presenting dozens of examples of their cover art. And in the end, the biggest attraction of Comic Book Culture is the hundreds of cover reprints from the most famous to the most obscure of the Golden Age. You'll feel like a kid browsing in a toy store exclaiming, "Oh! I want that! And I want that one, too!" The covers are beautifully reprinted and one has to imagine that it was no small task finding covers that were still in good enough shape to reprint.

This is a gorgeous book, filled with long-forgotten nostalgia and brimming over with a wealth of information about comic's Golden Age.

Reviewed by Tim Janson
The Golden Age in 100Magenta+100 Yellow  Sep 25, 2002
As the author says in his the Introduction `Comic Book Culture' is basically a picture book and as such I'm pleased to have a copy. Goulart's history of comics Golden Age, roughly mid Thirties to the late Forties, is adequate though you can read more in his previous book `Over 50 Years of American Comic Books' but it is the four hundred covers reproduced that I think will interest readers more. Page after page of superheroes battling crime and or evil in dazzling 100 Magenta plus 100 Yellow, that's the printers term for the vibrant red that the comics biz could not do without. All these covers had to compete on the newsstand and the more 100Y+100M the better it seems, page 130 has the cover of The Human Torch (1943) leaping off the page, it couldn't get any brighter.

I have always been rather critical of Collector Press books, they always seem a bit over designed but this one is great, each of the sixteen chapters starts on a spread one page of which is a huge color blow-up of part of a picture, many of the spreads just have covers and captions on them and the designers have resisted the temptation to angle or overlap the covers. The typography, layouts and printing are excellent. There are two chapters devoted to some of the great comic artists of the period, Everett, Fine, Patenaude, Kirby, Schomburg, Ricca and Cole. The last chapter has a (very) brief look at what is called "Good girl art", presenting heroines in as provocative a way as possible and you can't get more provocative than Matt Baker's April 1948 cover of Phantom Lady, sales must have soared!

If you want to see more covers have a look at the two volume `The Photo-Journal Guide to Comic Books' by Ernst and Mary Gerber, more than 21,000 beautifully printed on gloss paper (another two volumes covers 7,000 Marvel comics).

***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.
A superb historical survey of comic book heroes & writers.  Jul 3, 2000
Comic book collectors, researchers, and fans will appreciate this reflection on the rogues, heroes and creators of comics in Comic Book Culture, a visual celebration of the Golden Age of comic books from the 1930s to the 1940s. Goulart explains and traces the changes of the comic art form, using his extensive collection as a foundation for examples which are colorful and which celebrate the history of comics. The full-page comic book reproductions are striking and the history and commentary involving.
Nice illustrated history  Jun 15, 2000
A beautifully presented coffee table book showcasing the earliest days of a true american art form - the comic book! The grouping of comic covers by theme and by artist work well and highlight some truly great pieces! Popular culture at it's finest!

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