Men of Tomorrow
This history of the birth of superhero comics highlights three pivotal figures. The story begins early in the last century, on the Lower East Side, where Harry Donenfeld rises from the streets to become king of the “smooshes”—soft-core magazines with titles like French Humor and Hot Tales. Later, two high-school friends in Cleveland, Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, become avid fans of “scientifiction,” the new kind of literature promoted by their favorite pulp magazines. The disparate worlds of the wise guy and the geeks collide in 1938, and the result is Action Comics 1, the debut of Superman.
The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier & Clay
It is New York City in 1939. Joe Kavalier, a young artist who has also been trained in the art of Houdiniesque escape, has just pulled off his greatest feat to date: smuggling himself out of Nazi-occupied Prague. He is looking to make big money, fast, so that he can bring his family to freedom. His cousin, Brooklyn’s own Sammy Clay, is looking for a collaborator to create the heroes, stories, and art for the latest novelty to hit the American dreamscape: the comic book. Out of their fantasies, fears, and dreams, Joe and Sammy weave the legend of that unforgettable champion the Escapist. As the shadow of Hitler falls across Europe and the world, the Golden Age of comic books has begun.
Basically comics are a sequence of images based on space that have a narrative-like quality and visual direction to them. McCloud compares comics to film and film strips, although film is based more on time and the amount allotted when viewing each image.
It also goes into what we see in comics, and how images translate an understanding to a viewer. McCloud also talks about two realms that we experience: the realm of concept and the realm of the senses. The more simplistic a comic, the more personality it has because if a comic is drawn too similarly to actual reality, realism plays a part in taking away from the narrative itself.
The Ten-Cent Plague
After World War II, the squeaky-clean comic book superheroes of the 1940s were joined on newsstand shelves by darker, edgier anti-heroes and -heroines. Inspired by the same influences driving pulp fiction and film noir, comic books took on grittier, more adult narratives — and naturally were a hit with young readers.
It wasn’t long before parents took notice. The heated controversy over comics included book burnings and congressional hearings and were about much more than cartoons. Ten-Cent Plague details how the controversy nearly killed the comic business but also played a key role in defining postwar pop culture.
Marvel Comics: The Untold Story
Tells the story of Marvel from its beginnings in 1939, with the publication of Marvel Comics No. 1, up until 2012. Its pages are filled with anecdotes and reminiscences and insider gossip.
Due to the work-for-hire policy that governed Marvel, those who, like Kirby, created best-selling characters were solely dependent on company largesse if they hoped to receive any financial rewards other than their base salary. And Marvel’s management had no qualms about behaving nastily towards former employees;
It also reveals how unprofitable the comic book industry was, until the direct sales market matured ca. 1979 – 1980. Prior to that time, Marvel was resigned to selling only one of every three comic books it produced. The company was often at the mercy of distributors, some of whom would simply let stacks of comics lie fallow in their warehouses, before tearing off the covers, submitting them for credit, and then selling the cover-less comics for a 100 % profit.
Comic book heroes are powerful archetypes whose ongoing, decades-spanning story arcs reflect and predict the course of human existence: Through them we tell the story of ourselves, our troubled history, and our starry aspirations. In this exhilarating work of a lifetime, Morrison draws on art, science, mythology, and his own astonishing journeys through this shadow universe to provide the first true history of the superhero – why they matter, why they will always be with us, and what they tell us about who we are… and what we may yet become.