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Give Our Regards to the Atomsmashers!: Writers on Comics Hardcover – June 29, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As we always knew, 1950s scaremongers were wrong: not only does overindulgence in comic books not dissuade young readers from prose, but some very famous writers grew up addicted to comics. Howe has lined up a remarkable bunch of essayists, including Luc Sante, Greil Marcus, Jonathan Lethem and Brad Meltzer, to write about their favorite funny books. Many revisit the comics of their youth with amused distance—the Marvel vs. DC rivalry, the wonders of Jack Kirby's cosmology and Steve Ditko's crabbed mysticism. A few analyze specific series: Steve Erickson takes on Howard Chaykin's boundary-pushing '80s title American Flagg, and Gary Giddins traces how Classics Illustrated celebrated a part of the literary canon that was dying. Some of the most striking contributions, though, are very personal pieces by self-consciously comics-obsessed writers: Glen David Gold recounting his tormented attempts to buy original comics art from a dealer who'd have nothing to do with him; Sante explaining the power of the "clear-line" style of Tintin cartoonist Hergé on his boyhood self; and Meltzer (who's now a comics writer and novelist) discussing his near-sexual fascination with a mid-'80s New Teen Titans story line. The book includes some of today's most elegant writing on comics, a worthy companion to Lupoff and Thompson's All in Color for a Dime (1997), the previous standard in the field.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Introduced in the 1930s, ubiquitous by the 1950s, and still going strong, comic books and their larger offspring, graphic novels--with one exception, the inspirations of these pieces--have influenced three generations by now. Yet the gaffers in this gathering, though two of its most famous names, are only fiftysomethings: jazz critic Gary Giddins, who sets the record straight about Classics Illustrated, and rock critic Greil Marcus, who fluffs being hip about U.S.--Uncle Sam (1997) by analogizing between the graphic novel's Uncle Sam and Charlie Chaplin, and then misreading the end of City Lights. The 15 other, forty- to twentysomething contributors mostly meet Giddins and surpass Marcus by resorting to memoirs, meditations, and even fiction (Tom Piazza's mind-boggling "Kltpzyxm!"). The piece on using comics in creative writing classes is a snooze, but John Wray on Jim Woodring (creator of The Frank Book [BKL Ag 03]) and Glen David Gold on collecting are marvelously disquieting, and Lydia Millet on Little Nemo and the art of the novel is positively transcendental. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; First Edition edition (June 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375422560
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375422560
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,381,039 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sean Howe is a former editor at Entertainment Weekly and The Criterion Collection. His writing has appeared in New York, the Los Angeles Times, Spin, and the Village Voice. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ricky Hunter on July 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Sean Howe has done an exemplary job of collecting together a varied and interesting set of essays. Give Our Regards to the Atomsmashers includes many different writers examining their passion, both past and/or present, for comics, whether of the superhero or alternative variety, ranging from discussions of Chris Ware to Jack Kirby to Tintin. The most obvious joy for the reader will be in reading an essay in which a writer finds joy in the same memories you yourself possess but the slyer pleasure comes in reading an essay that will lead you into a new discovery, and, for me, there were many of these essays. Virtually every piece is touching as each one leads a writer to reveal something personal and, for many, so private a thing; a love of comics. It is a wonderful collection.
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