Speaking of the Comic Book History of Comics, a wise man once wrote, “In this dazzling overview of comic book history, the only thing that impresses as much as the palatable feeling of love for comics by Van Lente and Dunlavey is the painstaking research clearly put into this well-organized, insightful and brilliantly illustrated comic book collection.” You can find that quote on the back of the book. So…yeah, I definitely liked this collection.
Let’s examine it a bit further, though!
This collection puts together all six issues of Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey’s Comic Book Comics series. Each issue spotlighted different parts of comic book history, from the early days of comic book publishing to the birth of superheroes to the rise of crime and horror comics to the modern day of comic book downloads.
Van Lente did meticulous research in each area of comic book history and by now, Dunlavey is practically a genius when it comes to compressing details on to a page while still making the panels interesting and not just a series of talking head panels.
Here are samples from the beginnings of each of the chapters…
Don’t you love the way that Dunlavey mixes his styles up to match the genre that he’s talking about?
Meanwhile, a fascinating aspect of the series is the way that Van Lente does not just stop at a regurgitation of comic book history. Instead, the end of the book gets into debates about comics, particularly the current state of comics, vis a vis illegal downloading and the like. So not only is this is an interesting collection of comic book history, it is also raises a number of intriguing questions that lack easy answers but stimulate thinking.
This is the kind of book I hope we see being taught in schools for years to come and I’m proud to have a pull quote on the back of it.