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Classics Illustrated: A Cultural History, with Illustrations Hardcover – Illustrated, November 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 287 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company; 1st edition edition (November 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786410779
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786410774
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8.6 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,270,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...a massive research project... His source material is rigorously annotated with identification." -- Comics Buyer's Guide # 1457 (October 19, 2001)

"A comprehensive review of the art and careers of the creators... well researched, documented, and analyzed…important... interesting... highly recommended" -- ARBA

"Fabulous... wonderful... wealth of information... layout is breathtaking... lavish... exceptional quality, clear and crisp... excellent introduction... extremely well researched, entertaining" -- Classic Images

"Influence is immeasurable...wonderfully illustrated" -- Hitch

"Information is endless... this book... encompasses all... an excellent addition to any library... entertaining... in-depth information" -- Public Library Quarterly

"Remarkably well researched...meticulously detail...a beautiful volume...defines the series’ unique place in comic book and cultural history" -- Neighbor News

"Represents the best memory book in a long time...a work of outstanding achievement" -- Film & History

About the Author

William B. Jones, Jr. lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. He is also the author of Robert Louis Stevenson Reconsidered: New Critical Perspectives (2003). He has written on twentieth-century American popular culture and has co-produced an archival CD compilation of regional garage-band music.

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Customer Reviews

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Truly, the best works of fandom itself can be so endearing, so contagious with admiration and awe.
Renee Thorpe
It has articles (lengthy and well written articles) about the history of the comic and essays on the major contributing artists and editors.
M. Dog
As a kid, I read a great deal--mostly book books, not comics--but CI comics were my main love, regardless.
Lee Hartsfeld

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Renee Thorpe on July 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Ever said that line? Then you'll love this beautifully written and lovingly researched book about the history of Classics Illustrated.

Jones manages to evoke the characters of the men and women who contributed to this fascinating niche of Americana: illustrators, editors, publishers, and even its detractors. Interviews were obviously thorough, chapters are meticulously footnoted, and yet it reads like ...well, like an engrossing classic tale of adventure! Pick a chapter at random or read from cover-to-cover... it's consistently a winner.

While occasionally too ready with a disavowal of nostalgia, Jones does not hesitate to reveal his personal lifelong love of the comic book series. Truly, the best works of fandom itself can be so endearing, so contagious with admiration and awe. This book is no exception. Like myself, Jones loved the comics when he was a kid. Just as publisher Albert Kanter intended, as an adult I've managed to read every word of the real Count of Montecristo and War of the Worlds and The Moonstone, but I first learned these vivid and amazing tales by reading the Classics versions. Jones augments my personal appreciation and gratitude in this excellent book.

His work was in-depth and, while certainly using a critic's eye, relatively even-handed when it comes to the series' contributors. Now, reading the book, Jones has even made me appreciate the work of Classics artists whose pages I'd previously disliked.

Excellent illustrations, particularly of rare pages and covers, fill the book. Nice personal photos of the artists and editors are a great touch, seeing as this is a book of both down-to-earth and scholarly sensibilities.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Iconophoric on March 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The thing I appreciate most about this book is the soberness (with no lapses into pretentiousness or portentousness) the author brings to his subject. A survey of Classics Illustrated, to be sure, could have very easily elicited yet another visually engaging pretty-picture book saddled with a stridently jokey, throwaway text --ala Chronicle Books. We can be thankful that the tone here is intelligent, the level of detail scholarly, and very few, if any, stones are left unturned. The author has done all his homework, giving all known writers, editors, artists of the series coverage commensurate with their contribution.
This is a thoughtful, caring volume that is so much more than a tribute to a long-gone comic series, although it could be read as that too. One can't help but feel this is a primer on the way more books about popular culture really ought to be written.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Raymond S. True on March 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
About every five or ten years, when the nay sayers are about to bury Classics Illustrated again, they bloom from the earth like the Phoenix rising from the flames. And now, Willian B. Jones Jr has taken the baton for this decade, for this century, and brought new and exiciting joy to the legion of Classics Illustrated collectors. How much more new information is there to be found on the wonderful illustrated stories that Al Kanter first brought to us in Octover of 1941? The answer is that we will never know but we keep on finding more and more. We can speculate about Red Majic, Action Play Books, Red Projectors, Tatoos, Classics Boxes, Pen and Pencil sets and many other yet to be explored items of the Classics Illustreated lore. But here, Bill Jones has filled in a tremendous gap for all of the ages to enjoy. What a tremendous effort! What an overwhelmingly comprehensive peeling away of the darkness to open the lives and tribulations of anyone who ever picked up a pen, pencil or brush to bring us Classics Illustrated. As the acknowledged Father of Classics Illustrated collecting it brings unbrided joy to my heart to read and reread the wonderful stories that Bill weaves on every page about the men and women behind the comics we came to love as Classics Illustrated. His effort is now in a second printing and deserves many, many more. My Classics Illustrated collectors friends are buying this book whenever they can. It is a joyful six hour read to be then put aside and opened randomly again and again with refreshing illumination with every new opening. Buy this now! You will not see the likes of this ever again. Raymond S. True, Classic Comics Library
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Hames Ware on December 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a SUPERB book, which covers probably the least known of all the comic book genre...and yet a comic book product that
people who might never have purchased another type of comic, are
aware of...Classics Illustrated.
Since I know the author personally, I am in the position of knowing the tremendous amount of research that went into the making of this marvelous book...all the interviews with people who were vitally involved with the production of these amazing
long lived comics. And as co-editor of the 4 volume Who's Who of American Comic Books, I am delighted to say much new information
about the artists and adapters is brought to life by author Jones
Interviews with Lou Cameron, Rudy Palais, the widow of Louis Zansky, the recently departed and wonderful George Evans and many other artists of the 40's and 50's make for wonderful reading . And the tributes to lesser known ones like Alex Blum,
Henry Kiefer, Robert Hayward Webb, plus giants like Matt Baker
Reed Crandall and many more, make this wonderful book a must for all who love to read the real story behind the one comic book product that almost everybody knew about. And even though the "text was the thing" this book shows in great and interesting detail why the artists who worked on the Classics Illustrateds helped to make that true for readers of all ages!
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