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Heroes Of The Comics: Portraits Of The Pioneering Legends Of Comic Books (Heroes of the Comic Books) Hardcover – September 7, 2014


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Heroes Of The Comics: Portraits Of The Pioneering Legends Of Comic Books (Heroes of the Comic Books) + Masterful Marks: Cartoonists Who Changed the World
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Product Details

  • Series: Heroes of the Comic Books
  • Hardcover: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics; 1 edition (September 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606997319
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606997314
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 0.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #498,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“...[T]his collection of 85 mostly unknown faces is as exciting to my eye as most comics are -- and the short biographies are nice to have, too. Friedman is known for adroitly capturing gesture, mood, and psychological nuance in vivid portraits somehow combining elements of caricature and realism. ... Each of his portraits feels so alive, it is like being welcomed into each artist’s private world.” (Steven Heller - The Atlantic)

“The portraits are a genuine insight and reflection of the person and their contribution. Special kudos to Drew for his careful research so that the bios are accurate and help to add to the ongoing study of how it all began in comics.” (Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson - The Beat)

“What's remarkable about so many of the portraits is that Friedman manages to capture something essential about each artist or writer -- especially those who met grim fates.” (Rob Clough - High-Low)

Heroes of the Comics by Drew Friedman is one of the best books of the year! If you love comic books and the people who created them -- this is a must-have!” (Jerry Beck - Cartoon Research)

“…[Heroes of the Comics] is not merely a display of Friedman's particular prowess, but a significant work of comics history.” (R. Fiore - The Comics Journal)

...Heroes of the Comics... is an invaluable treasure trove of comic book history... packed full of incredible art and insight, and in addition to Drew's wonderful artwork, the brilliantly researched biographical information is also fascinating.” (Bob Leeper - Nerdvana)

“...Brilliant... it's pretty cool to be able to put a face on these names that you’ve seen in the history of comics, and with Friedman's exaggerated, friendly art, it works really well.” (Chris Sims - ComicsAlliance)

About the Author

Drew Friedman's work has appeared in Raw, Weirdo, SPY, The New York Times, MAD, The New Yorker, BLAB!, The New York Observer, Rolling Stone, Field & Stream, appears regularly in Entertainment Weekly and many other magazines. His collection of portraits Drew Friedman’s Sideshow Freaks was published by Blast books in 2011. He resides in Pennsylvania with his wife and collaborator, Kathy Bidus and their two beagles.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Even one who attempted to shut down the industry and failed.
Joe Frank
Drew captures each and every one in his unmatched style of illustration.
Gary S VandenBergh
You think it's going to be great going in, then it gets better.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dennis M. Roy on August 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover
What a great book. Something like this is long overdue. If you've done a lot of reading of comics history books and articles in fanzines, you're not going to learn much of anything new, because the biographical synopses are pretty basic. They don't exactly dig too deep. But it's a nice primer, with the list of "heroes" well-chosen. You could almost have edited the text down here slightly and published this as a set of trading cards, but it's really much nicer to appreciate the portraits here with the detail revealed by the generous page size. Text-wise, the introduction by Drew is far more revealing about himself. You might infer from some of his satirical comics work that he's something of a wise-guy, but here he comes off as very much the "fanboy", very human and relatable.

The main thing here are the portraits of Drew's comic art heroes, which I found to be very respectful of their subjects (as a caricaturist, Friedman's drawings can sometimes be barbed and pointedly unflattering -- that's certainly not the case here). Looking down the contents page, this certainly seems to be a who's who list of those who've contributed iconic and landmark works in American comics (mostly comic books, but this isn't limited to those), with perhaps just a few less-obvious choices. Everyone profiled here made their mark upon the medium in the 1930s through 1950s (or like Otto Messmer, even earlier)... and just for contrast, one "Villain of the Comics" is included (Dr. Fredrick Wertham), along with a few important non-creative types like Martin Goodman. Much less familiar than the names will be the faces, even for those who've read prodigiously their comics histories and fanzine interviews.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Beck on August 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I don't usually write these reviews on Amazon - but this is Drew Friedman's best book (or at least the best one without Shemp on the cover). It is an affectionate look at the men who made the comics what they were and created characters that will endure beyond their pulp paper origins. He even includes some folks who were just as significant in animation. His portraits are brilliant (sometimes funny, sometimes sad, all times wonderful). His writing, which accompanies each painting, is important and heartfelt - and overall this book could (and should) be an assigned text book for classes in media studies, comic book history and art caricature. Highly recommended. If you love comics - this is a must-have.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sridhar Pappu on August 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Drew Friedman's portraits of the men and women who helped create and build the modern comics industry are more than just illustrations. They show the depths of the heroes--and in some cases villains--behind these characters who grew to be much larger than the writers and artists themselves. At times, as with the case with his portraits with Jack Kirby and Bill Finger, one is haunted by men who found themselves displaced from the iconic worlds they created. We see the slyness in Bob Kane, and the showmanship of Stan Lee. Accompanied by comprehensive text for each person, this is a must for anyone interested in the history of sequential art.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mimi Pond on August 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover
The essentially, uniquely American, and often-derided art form- the comic book- has been a powerful force in influencing EVERYTHING: from the art world, to the world of literature, to the highest echelons of movie-making. Its Andy Warhols, its Michael Chabons, its Stephen Spielbergs, have never gotten the respect or recognition they so richly deserve. Drew Friedman, my fellow toiler in the trenches of cartooning, is here to remedy that. He has created a brilliant homage to these artists, writers, editors and publishers with his incisive portraits and fascinating, well-researched biographies.He has shined a much-needed light on a very neglected part of our history. ALL HAIL DREW FRIEDMAN!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Trumbo123 on August 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Drew Friedman is a master. All his books are brilliant -- combining a wicked sense of humor, consummate artistry, and a fan's pure love of his subjects -- but this one is also an education. This time, his subjects are not old Jewish comedians, but the heroes of comics, the genius pioneers who laid the foundation to make comic books the worldwide phenomenon that they are today. The book is suffused with nostalgia and reverence. But the star is not the wonderful text. As always, it's the drawings -- the living embodiment of the influence that Mr. Friedman's heroes had on his life and art and sensibility....
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Val B on August 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I've been a fan of Drew Friedman's brilliant work for years. He had me hooked well before Old Jewish Comedians, but that one sent me over the edge. The detail. The absurdity. The poignance. The liver spots. And now he's gone and done THIS. Heroes of the Comics is a mind blowing tribute to the people who started it all and without whom there would be no Comic Con! Okay, I could live without Comic Con, but Superman??? If you want to learn more about the history of comics than you already know, this is your bible. It's beautifully illustrated, funny and hugely educational. I loved every page!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By kevin dougherty on August 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover
The best book about comic books since Jules Feiffer's "The Great Comic Book Heroes." Friedman's portraits jump off the page and the accompanying text creates a colorful and concise history of 20th century comic book creators. If you liked David Hadju's "The Ten-Cent Plague" or Sean Howe's "Marvel Comics: The Untold Story" -- Friedman's book is like seeing the Sistine Chapel after reading bible stories.
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