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

57 customer reviews

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Hardcover, October, 2003
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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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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: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,611,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Arlen Schumer ( is the author/designer of the newly reissued The Silver Age of Comic Book Art Revised Edition (Archway Publishing); the original 2003 edition won the Independent Book Publishers Award for Best Popular Culture Book. He is also an award-winning comic book-style illustrator for the advertising and editorial markets, a member of The Society of Illustrators and a recognized expert on American popular culture-- ABC-TV's 2020 called him "one of the countryʼs preeminent authorities on comics and culture" after interviewing him in 2010 ( his VisuaLectures on those and other subjects (The Twilight Zone and the music of Bruce Springsteen) at universities and cultural institutions across the country.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 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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Format: Hardcover
This is much more than a coffee-table book. What we have here is a pretty darn definitive visual-verbal account of a historically significant period in 20th century American art that cries out for rediscovery and re-evaluation.

Unlike rigor-mortis-inducing tomes currently saturating the market with tedious "scholarly" verbosity, The Silver Age Of Comic Book Art achieves the rare feat of being a serious, sensitively conducted examination of masters of the medium within a social and historical context that effectively educates, entertains and inspires in equal measure. In many ways it is the equivalent of inviting long lost friends to a party and introducing them to a modern wider audience whilst your heart is swelling with pride. Arlen Schumer's authority of the subject and love for the medium are palpable throughout and the facts are presented with visual panache and unassailable conviction.

Your coffee-table will be infinitely enhanced by the inclusion of such a handsomely designed book. But it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that a copy of The Silver Age of Comic Book Art more than merits conspicuous pride of place in every educational establishment for the enrichment and artistic enlightenment of young and old for generations to come.

A towering achievement.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tobi L Miley on December 29, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I got my copy yesterday and finished it about 15 minutes ago. So now comes the review. First of all, this is a tremendously attractive book. Sublime artwork comes at you on every page. Even the under cover is a work of art. I had bought the softcover back when it came out but ended up having to include it in a trade. So it has been several years since I had first read it so it was almost like reading it again for the first time. Along with the artists chosen to be spotlighted, one of my favorite things is the size of the artwork it brings out details you can't see in the comics. Stunning. The comments made by the artists and the writing of Arlen do not distract one in the least. Using speech balloons and caption boxes for comments was a genius idea. With the writing, Arlen shows his love of the medium and the artists shown. This is a book I most certainly revisit several times to come...Maybe even tomorrow! All in All it's the great book I remember, plus some extra material.if you ar a fan of the silver age or any of the artists, you owe it to yourselves to get this book. You'll certainly be glad you did.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jon Abbott on March 14, 2014
Format: Paperback
As I can't get into my office right now, I've spent the last few days writing reviews for some of my favorite books to tip off others as to their excellence, something I don't always have time to do. Although I'm fortunate enough to have the hardback version, i'm putting this shout out for Arlen Schumer's spectacular tribute to the true (literal) golden age of comics on the softcover site as the hardcover one seems out of print for the foreseeable future (I certainly won't be getting rid of mine!). Although it seems this book hardly needs my two cents worth, and the negative reviews pretty much speak for themselves, here goes anyway...

This is the book to wave under the noses of those idiots (not so many these days, although there were plenty in the '60s) who will try to tell you that comic strip illustration is not "art". Schumer's dazzling collages, each section devoted to a different name artist, highlight beautifully the strengths and delights of a variety of masters of comic book art, including their uniqueness. Unlike any other decade of comics art, there was massive diversity and originality during the '60s, with every artist, and every title having its own unique style, whereas today Marvel and DC are virtually indistinguishable and everyone imitates everybody else.

Of the eight artists featured, Kirby and Ditko are particularly well served. Everything that made Kirby great gets a look in here (the book is worth it for the Kirby pages alone, and there's none of his later crap), and while it's always been fairly obvious that Stan Lee got a lot of his story ideas from late night television (Twilight Zone and Outer Limits frequently provided springboards for the fantasy titles, Fantastic Four no. 1 resembles Twilight Zone's Third From the Sun, Spider-Man no.
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