Monday, December 08, 2008

The Pick of 2008: Comics Reference

The History of the Beano: The Story So Far
Waverley Books ISBN 978-1902407739, 25 September 2008

"A big, sumptuous, heavy coffee table book, which treats the Beano archive with care and respect and documents the awsome talent which has gone into its creation over the past 70 years. The reproduction of numerous, full page, vintage and modern strips is crisp and clear - often taken from original artwork - and printed at a size which is suitable for ageing, nostalgic eyes. For too long Comics have been treated as trivial things; kids swopped them, teachers confiscated them and mothers gave them away to jumble sales. The material on display in this book, however, shows that the Beano, and its ilk, deserves to be re-assesed as a national treasure. It not only reflects the culture of the last 70 years, but can now be seen as having strongly influenced it. More from the vaults of D C Thomson please."--Amazon review.

Masters of Fun & Thrills: The British Comic Artists
By Norman Wright & David Ashford. Norman Wright [no ISBN], September 2008.

"The 216 page softcover book covers a wide variety of British artists from the humour art of Dudley Watkins to the futuristic art of Ron Turner, from the colour work of Sep Scott to the action work of Ron Embleton. The articles has been reworked for inclusion in the book and all include black and white imagery of the particular artist's work, a list of their work and most have a photograph of the artist themselves. In addition to the colour images on the front and back covers there is an eight page colour section with art taken from the a multitude of publications and some directly from the original artwork. In addition to those artists mentioned above there chapters on Geoff Campion, Roland Davies, Derek C Eyles, David Law, Hugh McNeill, John Millar Watt, Patrick Nicolle, Eric Parker, Reg Perrott and Ken Reid."--Jeremy Briggs, Down the Tubes.

Comic Art Now: The Very Best in Contemporary Comic Art and Illustration
By Dez Skinn. Ilex ISBN 978-1905814251, 1 May 2008

"Over 100 artists are featured in Comic Art Now -- a great selection of sample art from artists from the US, UK, Brazil, Sweden, Manila, Tokyo, Singapore, Bulgaria and more -- as well as their contact details. Some genres such as humour are under represented but what has been included is the cream of the crop, with some stunning samples from the likes of Sam Hart, Neill Cameron, John Higgins, John Hayward and other top artists. It's definitely a useful product but I hope the publishers expand on the title in future editions."--Amazon review.

The Best of Punch Cartoons
Edited by Helen Walasek. Carlton Books ISBN 978-1853756795, 1 September 2008

"I started laughing at the first page I opened in this wonderful book - the cartoons are just as funny today as they were when first published in Punch. And if you're like me you could do with a laugh right now. There are 600 pages and 3 or 4 cartoons per page, spanning the decades from the mid-19th century to the end of the twentieth. The early cartoons are drawn with exquisite skill which we're perhaps not used to today, and are no less funny for that, but it's the more recent ones that I love most, with classics from Honeysett, Husband and Heath keeping company with names that are less familiar to us but whose work is still funny enough to have my father in stitches. I miss Punch but if you want a Christmas present for someone who could do with some cheering up, this mght be the answer."--Amazon review.

(* If any readers have further titles they'd like to recommend, drop me a line.)


  1. Steve,
    a little disappointed that our book Studio Space didn't make it on the list…

  2. Joel,

    I've not seen a copy of the book. I'd probably have included Dave Gibbons' Watching the Watchmen, too, but the promised review copy hasn't turned up. I can only base the selection on titles I've seen and, in these penny-pinching days, it's getting harder to get review copies out of publishers.



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