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Brian Walker's two comprehensive guides to American comics, The Comics Before 1945 and The Comics Since 1945, are combined here in one beautifully designed omnibus edition, The Comics: The Complete Collection. Cartoon authority Brian Walker has amassed over a century of strips-more than 1,300 images-including rare examples provided by the artists themselves. Featured carto Brian Walker's two comprehensive guides to American comics, The Comics Before 1945 and The Comics Since 1945, are combined here in one beautifully designed omnibus edition, The Comics: The Complete Collection. Cartoon authority Brian Walker has amassed over a century of strips-more than 1,300 images-including rare examples provided by the artists themselves. Featured cartoonists include George Herriman (Krazy Kat), Walt Kelly (Pogo), Charles Schulz (Peanuts), Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes), Scott Adams (Dilbert), Patrick McDonnell (Mutts), and many more. Organized by decade, with biographical profiles and analysis of the different genres, The Comics is a graphically stunning, and terrifically priced survey of American newspaper comics. Praise for The Comics: "The strips . . . are beautifully reproduced and carefully annotated." -The New York Times "As a detailed and informed one-volume history of the newspaper comics, Walker's The Comics is the best book we have." -PW Comics Week


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Brian Walker's two comprehensive guides to American comics, The Comics Before 1945 and The Comics Since 1945, are combined here in one beautifully designed omnibus edition, The Comics: The Complete Collection. Cartoon authority Brian Walker has amassed over a century of strips-more than 1,300 images-including rare examples provided by the artists themselves. Featured carto Brian Walker's two comprehensive guides to American comics, The Comics Before 1945 and The Comics Since 1945, are combined here in one beautifully designed omnibus edition, The Comics: The Complete Collection. Cartoon authority Brian Walker has amassed over a century of strips-more than 1,300 images-including rare examples provided by the artists themselves. Featured cartoonists include George Herriman (Krazy Kat), Walt Kelly (Pogo), Charles Schulz (Peanuts), Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes), Scott Adams (Dilbert), Patrick McDonnell (Mutts), and many more. Organized by decade, with biographical profiles and analysis of the different genres, The Comics is a graphically stunning, and terrifically priced survey of American newspaper comics. Praise for The Comics: "The strips . . . are beautifully reproduced and carefully annotated." -The New York Times "As a detailed and informed one-volume history of the newspaper comics, Walker's The Comics is the best book we have." -PW Comics Week

30 review for The Comics: The Complete Collection

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bruce

    I've been told that you're supposed to review a book solely on its own merits, and not by contrast with your expectations or as against other, similar, works. Well, tough. This book sucks, and it sucks precisely because of the other, far superior books that have preceded it. Walker here attempts to summarize all of newspaper comics history by offering bland essays on each of twelve decades, handpicked one-page bios of leading artists, and a handful of (apparently randomly) selected comics. It mak I've been told that you're supposed to review a book solely on its own merits, and not by contrast with your expectations or as against other, similar, works. Well, tough. This book sucks, and it sucks precisely because of the other, far superior books that have preceded it. Walker here attempts to summarize all of newspaper comics history by offering bland essays on each of twelve decades, handpicked one-page bios of leading artists, and a handful of (apparently randomly) selected comics. It makes for a pretty hefty coffee-table book, but alas, since Walker has all the editorial depth of a dampened barroom coaster and seems to care more about Wikipedia-like promotional cards that show all of an artist's cartoon characters in a single box than providing any context or continuity from the works themselves that would allow an appreciation for the artistry, design, or storytelling, you'll be far, far better off hunting down either of the Smithsonian Collections (Bill & Martin Williams Blackbeard's Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics or J. Michael Barrier's and Martin T. Williams' A Smithsonian Book of Comic-Book Comics) and/or reading any of the leading works of comics criticism like Scott McCloud's (e.g., Understanding Comics) or Douglas Wolk's (e.g., Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean). It's just horribly aggravating to pick up a book in the hopes of discovering heretofore unknown works worthy of independent exploration only to find so shallow a presentation as to make one's whole taste appear questionable at best and bland at worst. Walker is supposed to be a fellow fan. Why would he do such a horrible thing?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Flora J

    I simply read the comics. not the descriptions, because they were not very interesting. If you want to read comics, you are better off getting an actual comic book. However, for people who want to know about the history of comics, this is a great book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    ΕιζΝιnΕ

    Taking the reader back to the now largely-forgotten talents behind the earliest newspaper strips, Walker does an excellent job of selecting the best and most influential names and explaining just how popular, or revolutionary, or artistically brilliant they were. Using hundreds of reproduced dailies and full-color Sunday pages, I found myself going back to this book over and over to peruse the artwork: lesser-known artists like V.T.Hamlin (Alley Oop) and Lionel Feininger, who is much better know Taking the reader back to the now largely-forgotten talents behind the earliest newspaper strips, Walker does an excellent job of selecting the best and most influential names and explaining just how popular, or revolutionary, or artistically brilliant they were. Using hundreds of reproduced dailies and full-color Sunday pages, I found myself going back to this book over and over to peruse the artwork: lesser-known artists like V.T.Hamlin (Alley Oop) and Lionel Feininger, who is much better known today as a painter whose canvases hang in galleries across the globe (as a founding member of 'Orphism', alongside Robert Delaunay and his wife, he pioneered not just in the comics medium, responding to Cubism, Futurism and Constructivism with a dynamic and colorful form of abstraction that would have a powerful impact on modern art), as well as the giants of comics' history: Winsor McCay, George Herriman, Harold Foster, Alex Raymond, Chester Gould, and Milton Caniff. This massive 10" x 13" 700-page book collects what was once two volumes: the first focused on comic strips before 1950, the second on strips produced from 1950 to today. The second half charts a steady decline in quality and prestige, as the comic book took off through the late thirties to thrive in the forties and early fifties, effectively saturating market demand for longer comic narratives and killing many of the newspaper adventure, SF, and drama strips that had once been so popular. When comic books were attacked and vilified by Dr. Frederic Werthams' 'Seduction of the Innocents' and the ensuing Kefauver senate subcommittee hearings, the entire medium was hurt, though newspaper strips had not employed the same kinds of violent gore and titillation that got comic book publishers like EC and its' many imitators in trouble, Americans were essentially brainwashed to a point that it would take generations to escape the clouds of smoke from the public comic book burnings to finally dissipate. The second half then, is a kind of sad downward trajectory. With the exception of one or two strips like Bill Wattersons' 'Calvin and Hobbes', the mainstream newspaper is a graveyard for good comic strips. Nevertheless, the richness of the material produced from 1900 to 1965 is well worth the price. When factoring in the size of this book, printed on a thick, glossy, archival stock, the price is surprisingly reasonable; similar books I've purchased are all over $100.00, so even paying the MSRP of $50.00 is a good deal. After this book was released, the current Golden Age of Classic Comic Reprints kicked into high gear, and I was able to acquire excellent, high-quality editions released by IDW - The Library of American Comics (Milt Caniffs' 'The Complete Terry and the Pirates' in six 370 page HC volumes, for example), Fantagraphics Books (Hal Fosters' 'Prince Valiant', volumes 1 - 7, and still ongoing), and Sunday Press (whose 16" x 21" full-scale reproduction of Winsor McCays' 'Little Nemo in Slumberland' as a hand-bound 128 page hardcover was a surprising success, spawning a series of like-sized classic Sunday-page reprints). Despite the fact that this beautiful book may lead to many other purchases (it's a gateway book), I highly recommend it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stven

    The title of this book is Just Wrong. This is obviously not a complete collection of "the comics." The complete collection of a single daily comic strip, Peanuts for example, takes volumes and volumes all by itself. This is a big fat book but the title is maddeningly misleading and unyielding. Here is the information you will gather upon opening the book. This is a history of comic strips. The author rightly points out in his opening chapter that the roots of the comic strip are many and deep. He The title of this book is Just Wrong. This is obviously not a complete collection of "the comics." The complete collection of a single daily comic strip, Peanuts for example, takes volumes and volumes all by itself. This is a big fat book but the title is maddeningly misleading and unyielding. Here is the information you will gather upon opening the book. This is a history of comic strips. The author rightly points out in his opening chapter that the roots of the comic strip are many and deep. He covers the famous "Yellow Kid" and supplies not only the reasons it was pivotal but also how its legend is bigger than the facts. His research and presentation are apparently excellent. He continues with solid information on many, many important comic strips and comic strip creators. When finally, after much investigation, it is vouchsafed to the reader that Mr. Walker has published two previous volumes on the history of the comic strip, one called something like "Comics before 1945" and the other something like "Comics after 1945," and that those two volumes are here published under a single cover, and that THIS is the rationale for this terrible title "The Comics: The Complete Collection," it is too late to make amends. I am willing to come back to this book when I want the information in it. I am not quite willing to cozy up to it on first acquaintance when it has begun by being so irritating.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Germain

    This book is a fantastic book to keep on a coffee table (I don't have one) or in your bathroom (except it weighs like 15 pounds) and provides a fantastic, if somewhat shallow and cursory overview on the world of newspaper comics from their inception to today. This book is a fantastic book to keep on a coffee table (I don't have one) or in your bathroom (except it weighs like 15 pounds) and provides a fantastic, if somewhat shallow and cursory overview on the world of newspaper comics from their inception to today.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

    Public Library copy, huge book about the history of comic strips.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rachael Graham

    History of the Sunday funnies, not a complete collection. I liked it though!

  8. 5 out of 5

    julia bruckbauer

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ezra Raez

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rob

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alison

  12. 4 out of 5

    Otto

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dave Russell

  14. 5 out of 5

    Julie

  15. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nick

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kayla McDonell

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

  19. 5 out of 5

    john aaron

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cheng

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marcus

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sharanya

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

  24. 4 out of 5

    Astroboy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Zach Ayers

  26. 5 out of 5

    Budhaditya Mazumdar

  27. 4 out of 5

    Colin

  28. 4 out of 5

    Frank Jenkins

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ricardo

  30. 5 out of 5

    Philip

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