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The Silver Age of Comic Book Art Hardcover – October, 2003

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Hardcover, October, 2003
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Collectors Press; 1St Edition edition (October 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888054867
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888054866
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 9.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,219,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Schumer constructed the book to look like the world's biggest, most lavish comic book of all...the results are revelatory." -- The New York Times, December 14, 2003

"This is the perfect gift for the older superhero lover in the family." -- The Washington Times, December 20, 2003

(Arlen Schumer is) "one of the more articulate and enthusiastic advocates of comic book art in America." -- Comic Book Artist Magazine, 1998

About the Author

Arlen Schumer is one of the foremost historians of comic book art. His articles have appeared in Print Magazine, Comic Book Marketplace, and Comic Book Artist. He has given multimedia presentations for the New York Art Directors Club and designed exhibits for the Words and Pictures Museum in Northampton, Massachusetts. As a co-founder and partner of The Dynamic Duo studio, Schumer is one of comic book art's most idiosyncratic practitioners. He lives in Connecticut.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By marilyn j welch on January 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
Take heed. The softcover omits 16 or so pages from the hardcover, so you don't get the mini-features on Wallace Wood, Curt Swan, Nick Cardy, Murphy Anderson, and John Buscema which I really wanted to see. I think it's a really cheap move on Collectors Press' part. Why couldn't they have included those 16 extra pages? If they are trying to entice people to buy the hardcover, why bother making a softcover edition at all? Otherwise, a beautiful book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Reader from the North on October 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Some of the reviews praise this compliation, and others attack it. If you know what this book is, it can be very interesting and a spur to seek out more information on Silver Age artists.

First of all, what this book is: a visually interesting collage of artists from the 60s. Each page is designed differently and, with my untrained eye, I'd say visually engaging. Along the way you're given samples of the most famous covers and images that the various artists produced. He does reproduce (and enlarge) the original art which I liked (if I want enhanced art I'll check out the Marvel Masterpieces or DC Archives).

What this book is not: an indepth look at the artists or their influence on other artists. There are a number of intriguing quotations from the various artists--excellent sound bites--but not enough to let us know what made/makes them tick. Also a few figures (i.e. Doc Strange), when "blown up" became large pixels that--yes, visually interesting--but not as interesting as they would've been a bit smaller with more space for another graphic. What irritated me the most about the book was (in the interest of "design"??) some text was unreadable (see the bibliography for the worst example), and some art was unviewable (see Kirby's "self-portrait" that is totally obliterated by gray background and text.) Was the publisher so hard up on pages that we couldn't have a page of text as well as the Kirby (and Colon) self-portraits?

Overall, if you know what you're getting with the book, it's a nice addition to other 60s comic collections. I wouldn't pay for it in hardcover: it's too expensive for what you get--personally, I found it at an outlet bookstore at a fraction of the cost and felt it was a good buy.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John Workman on December 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I recently acquired the excellent book The Silver Age of Comic Book Art by Arlen Schumer, and have been joyfully looking it over ever since.
The timing is interesting, since I just finished incorporating several thousand newer comics into my main comics collection, something that gave me the opportunity to revisit comics from the 1930s to the present time, with a lot of the material being from that same 1950s/1960s era that is covered so well in Arlen Schumer's book.
I've tried to stay away from the type of thinking that elevates the things of the past and denigrates current works, and I do realize that great things exist in all time periods. Still, I've found that the comic books of that time period (and especially the examples that are covered in Schumer's book) have an honesty and a lack of pretension about them that exemplify true artistry and offer a timeless quality, while contemporary examples of the same type of stuff seem cold and calculated and so blatant in their attempts to be "on the cutting edge" that they are often hopelessly dated by the time they see print. A lot of current comics material seems to be a more cut-throat version of the lesser works of the latter 1960s wherein misguided and inept ... but straightforwardly innocent ... attempts were made by forty-year old comics creators to speak to their assumed young readership in what they mistakenly took to be those readers' own "fab" and "groovy" language.
It's wonderful to contrast that artificiality with the examples that Schumer offers in The Silver Age of Comic Book Art. He introduces the uninitiated to ... and not-too-subtly reminds the long-time devotees of ...
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41 of 55 people found the following review helpful By n0s4a2 on January 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading the gushing reviews here, I bought this book sight unseen (a personal rule I resolve never to break again, as returning these books to Amazon is a royal hassle). The beauty of the so-called "Silver Age" of comics (mainly, the 1960s) is the elegance and harmony of the art and story. This book is another one of that endless invasion of in-your-face, sliced-and-diced compilation pieces that seek to razzle-dazzle the viewer who doesn't think. Everything is piecemeal, with montages overlapping other montages, fragments of recognizable works blown up to Roy Lichtenstein proportions and overlaid with small, cluttered, unrelated tidbits. It reduces the work to Pop Art, like printing comic book panels as wall paper, or on kid's bedsheets, for a "campy" effect. I expected an insightful presentation of what made that decade's comics so meaningful; something coherent, at least. This book is for people with no attention span (maybe people addicted to video games), who don't even try to understand a story or appreciate a composition, they just want frenzied details flying everywhere so you can't sort it out, like a kaleidoscopic segment of "Entertainment Tonight" compiled by a "hot" editor. I especially hate magnified images that go off the page with no border, trying to give a "hip" look to the layout. The value of Marvel comics, especially, was their accessibility, their clarity, their visual solidity. The comics industry went into a tailspin in the '80s when it was overrun by immature artists who tried to confuse the viewer by losing the center of interest and get by on pyrotechnics.Read more ›
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