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Smithsonian Book of Comic-Book Comics Hardcover – April, 1982

4.4 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Hardcover, April, 1982
$54.52 $0.78

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N Abrams (April 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810906961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810906969
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,502,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is nothing more or less than a series of reprints of what the author deems "important" comics. Each comic story faithfully reprinted, with the page emulating newsprint. (The entire comic is not reproduced, only the highlighted strip.) There is a little one or two page introduction giving a little history about each comic.
What makes this book such a standout, is that the author's taste is singular, and not limited by a single company or genre. Characters from several different companies happily exist side-by-side in this excellent hardcover. The author has a confessed predisposition for "funny" comics, and these take up a large percentage of the book.
This predisposition allows for several comics to be reprinted that are not normally available. There are numerous reprints of Action Comics #1 (The first Superman comic) and Detective Comics #27 (The first Bat-man Comic) but how many other collections include All-American Comics #20 with the first appearence of Ma Hunkle, the original Red Tornado?
A list of comics included: Action Comics #1 (First appearance of Superman); Detective Comics #29 (Origin of Bat-man); All-American Comics #20-#14 (First appearance of the Red Tornado, and other Red Tornado stories); Police Comics #1 and #13 (First appearance of Plastic Man, and Woozy Winks); Captain Marvel Adventures #100 (Captain Marvel Battles the Plot Against the Universe); Sub-Mariner #4 (Dr.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is nothing more or less than a series of reprints of what the author deems "important" comics. Each comic story faithfully reprinted, with the page emulating newsprint. (The entire comic is not reproduced, only the highlighted strip.) There is a little one or two page introduction giving a little history about each comic.
What makes this book such a standout, is that the author's taste is singular, and not limited by a single company or genre. Characters from several different companies happily exist side-by-side in this excellent hardcover. The author has a confessed predisposition for "funny" comics, and these take up a large percentage of the book.
This predisposition allows for several comics to be reprinted that are not normally available. There are numerous reprints of Action Comics #1 (The first Superman comic) and Detective Comics #27 (The first Bat-man Comic) but how many other collections include All-American Comics #20 with the first appearence of Ma Hunkle, the original Red Tornado?
A list of comics included: Action Comics #1 (First appearance of Superman); Detective Comics #29 (Origin of Bat-man); All-American Comics #20-#14 (First appearance of the Red Tornado, and other Red Tornado stories); Police Comics #1 and #13 (First appearance of Plastic Man, and Woozy Winks); Captain Marvel Adventures #100 (Captain Marvel Battles the Plot Against the Universe); Sub-Mariner #4 (Dr.
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Format: Hardcover
A SMITHSONIAN BOOK OF COMIC BOOK COMICS is a delightful book, emphasizing the vitality and creativity of the form. After a brief introduction giving a short history of the American comic book, the book is organized into a dozen sections composed of a short essay followed by representative stories. The first section is about the creation of Superman and includes the very first appearance of Superman. Superman inspired a host of "superheroes," including Batman and Captain Marvel, who each get a section. The book also covers the comic books aimed at young children (The Pie-Faced Prince"), war stories, comics for adult readers ("Master Race") and satirical ("Mad"). The part I enjoyed most was the section titled "Little Lulu and John Stanley." Lulu was my favorite comic as a child. I found those comics hilarious and even as a kid I appreciated the witty language. I had been giving all the credit to "Marge." As it turns out, Marge Buell created Lulu in 1935. A man named John Stanley inherited the job of writing Lulu comics in the late 1940s and was creating them when I was a child in the mid-50s. I think John Stanley was a genius. There are four Little Lulu stories included. "The Little Rich Boy" is especially impressive. The satirical Mad Comics is very well represented by the Superman parody "Superduper Man" and "Howdy Dooit," a rather scathing spoof of children's TV. This is a very entertaining book that I think offers much to think about regarding American popular culture. Four stars.
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Format: Hardcover
I first came across this collection at my local library not long after it was published, and at that time, I sat down and read it from cover to cover. I've been an on again, off again collecter of comics for over 30 years, and back then, poring over these reprints made me drool with the thought of owning the originals. (Not that I wouldn't mind owning the originals now, either.)

I found it again a few years ago, and even though my collection has grown substantially since my first introduction to this book, I still don't own any of the originals, and am not likely to either. So the real charm for me is the relatively obscure books that are included - I'm pretty familiar with the golden age origins of Batman and Superman, but many of the others included are on the verge of extinction. Which is shame - there are several selections that are laugh out loud funny to me, and I very rarely find that in a book. Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge, Little Lulu, Pogo, and the excerpts from Mad are just marvelous examples of what the best creators had to offer from that era. There really are no bad choices in this collection, though as with any compilation, there are bound to be some who would have looked for other selections over what was included.

What the Smithsonian editors have wisely done is get out the way and let the story speak for themselves - and we get the complete story, instead of only sample pages. Except for a short introduction to each story and an overall introduction, equally short, the vast majority of the book is the reprinted material from the first editions of the comics themselves. Printed on solid stock, this collection is a convenient resource for the serious collector, and a highly enjoyable compilation for any casual fan.
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