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Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection: 1987-1991 Paperback – July 22, 2008

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Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection: 1987-1991 + The Sculptor + Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Understanding Comics' McCloud spent the first six years of his career on this lesser-known Astro Boy–inspired comic. This mammoth volume collects issues 11–36, along with lots of commentary from McCloud. The series stars Zot, a teenager from an alternate Earth where rocket-powered boots and laser guns are commonplace, and Jenny, a girl from our Earth who just wants to escape her humdrum high school existence. The zippy, pulpy stories feature Zot facing off against a multitude of villains, from robots run amok to thwarted, steampunk-style inventors. Looking through the comics peers through a window at the development of a comic writer's talents; as the art morphs slowly into McCloud's recognizable style, the stories take on more sophisticated subject matter—one later issue features Zot and Jenny discussing sex, like a scene from a soapy teen drama. McCloud's love of classic superhero comics is clear, even as he consciously contrasts it with the problems of the real world. The collection only suffers from the absence of the first 10 issues, leaving new readers confused at some unexplained plot twists, but it is sure to be a treasure trove for McCloud fans or lovers of intelligent retro comics action. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Before the brilliant Understanding Comics, cartoonist McCloud created the much-loved Zot! starring an eternally optimistic, supremely self-confident, and genuinely decent teen superhero from a bright, advanced alternate Earth. This wonderful collection reprints all of McCloud's black-and-white Zot! work—not included is the series' initial ten-issue, full-color story, in which Zot first meets future girlfriend Jenny, a resident of our Earth. High-spirited, humor-laced heroics predominate in some early tales here; others are more dramatic, including Zot's disheartening first encounters with crime and disaster on our imperfect planet, and his battle against 9-Jack-9, the phantom assassin who killed his parents. Later stories present finely wrought character studies of Jenny's circle of friends, and here McCloud breaks down some barriers for superhero comics, dealing sensitively with issues of homosexuality and teen sex. As McCloud laments (rather too self-critically) in new commentary inserted between stories, his art style was still developing—but some work here, especially in stories involving the mad artist Dekko and his abstract visions, presages the style, invention, and concerns of Understanding Comics. Nominated for 12 Eisner and Harvey Awards in its initial serialization, this is highly recommended for teens and adults.—S.R.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; First Edition edition (July 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061537276
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061537271
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #661,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Scott McCloud has been writing, drawing, and examining comics since 1984. Winner of the Eisner and Harvey awards, his works have been translated into more than sixteen languages. Frank Miller (Sin City, 300) called him "just about the smartest guy in comics." He lives with his family in southern California. His online comics and inventions can be found at scottmccloud.com.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By H. Bala TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 12, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dudes, hearken back. The 1980s gave rise to a slew of classic independent comic books. And it's been slow going, but, in recent years, we're finally seeing their collected reprints come to light. Case in point, this: Before Scott McCloud authored the critically acclaimed Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, he created the terrific little comic book ZOT! ZOT! holds a special something something in my heart, even though this title's been so ridiculously hard to find, even during its initial run. But it was always worth hunting this down for McCloud's wonderfully offbeat storytelling and subtly simple yet evocative artwork. I am so stoked that ZOT! THE COMPLETE BLACK & WHITE COLLECTION is finally out!

So what exactly is ZOT!? Zot is Zachary T. Paleozogt, a cheerful teenaged superhero (or techno-hero) who hails from a utopian alternate Earth, gleaming and rife with futuristic technological marvels. He meets Jenny Weaver, a disillusioned 14-year-old, when he goes thru a dimensional portal and crosses over into her much darker (read: more real) Earth. Zot soars thru the skies on gravity boots, wields a laser pistol and tussles with a gallery of weird villains. But, really, what made the comic book so special was Zot's sweet, sensitive relationship with Jenny. Jenny peers at the world thru morbid eyes, and she yearns for the clean-cut simplicity of Zot's idealized Earth. Zot, time and again, attempts to counteract Jenny's pessimism with his unwavering enthusiasm and optimism. He happens to find Jenny's Earth unendingly fascinating.

This is a lighthearted yet character-driven take on the superhero, and graced with a breezy innocence and whimsy.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mike Stop Continues on July 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you've read Scott McCloud's theoretical books, you'd know that he is one smart, awesome, dedicated comic writer/illustrator. He's got a faith in the medium that seems to inspire all of his readers to explore the vastly underused medium and to explore all the wonders it contains.

Happily, we can now finally read the largest example of his own use of the medium. Despite his self-criticism at the beginning of the book, Zot! reads like some of the best that American comics has to offer. I highly suggest it to anyone interested in superhero books OR, more importantly, experimental works in the world of comics.

Also, check out his website, scottmccloud.com, for some very cool webcomics. I personally can't wait to see what this comic master's next masterpiece will be. I'm willing to bet that whatever he makes at this point in his career will take the entire industry by storm.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By mrliteral VINE VOICE on August 31, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The old quip is that those who can't do, teach. It's a witty enough remark, but does it really hold true? The case I want to look at is Scott McCloud. He is best known for writing the classic Understanding Comics, which goes into the nuts and bolts of what makes comics work (along with the near classic Making Comics and the less memorable Reinventing Comics). But can he actually write comics? Zot! shows he can.

Zot! covers issues 11 to 36, all written and drawn by McCloud (an earlier ten issue run (in color) is not included, but #11 pretty much is a reboot in black-and-white). The principal characters are Jenny Weaver, a teenage girl in the "real" world and her friend (boyfriend?) from an idealized Earth, Zachary T. Paleozogt, also known as Zot. Zot, also a teenage, is a superhero in his world, but in a land where crime is minimal and the villains tend to be more silly than dangerous, Zot has developed into a pure idealist. Jenny, having to deal with family issues and the usual teenage pressures of school and peers, has a more jaded view of her own world.

The book is divided into two parts. In Part One - Heroes and Villains - we get somewhat standard superhero fare, with Zot contending with various bad guys. Some, as mentioned above, are silly, while others are far more dangerous. Part Two - The Earth Stories - take a radical turn. As these issues begin, Zot is stranded in Jenny's reality; it doesn't bother the eternally optimistic superhero, but it does shift the focus. Zot is almost pushed to the side as stories focus on Jenny and her friends as they deal with the mundane (but still significant) problems in their own lives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael R. Brown on September 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
(H. Bala gives a good detailed review, so won't repeat what he says).

I first encountered Zot! back when it was published by Eclipse during its color phase and got all the color issues (was initially put off by the comic until I really checked it out and liked what I saw).

When it went into hiatus and came back in black & white, I got it. Great stuff.

Then Kitchen Sink started to collect the comic in trade paperbacks (I think Eclipse had gone under by then). I got all the trades: #1 (first 10 issues in color), then the 2nd and 3rd (all black and white). We were just missing the 4th collection (covering the 'Planet Earth' storyline) when Kitchen Sink went under!! Arggh. For many years, we Zot fans awaited this to come out from SOMEONE.

McCloud, mean while, moved on to other things, like "Understand Comics" and the follow ups to that. Pretty much the only new fiction stuff he's done was the 'new adventures of Lincoln' and a new Zot webcomic.

Now, finally, ALL the black and white issues (except for the 2 parter done with Austen and the 1/2 issues by Frezel) are collected. I'll still keep my old KSP collections, especially the one of the first 10 color issues. (McCloud really shouldn't put down those issues. While they might not be as good as the later b/w, they are still pretty good.)

Now, if only McCloud would come out with more Zot comics...
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Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection: 1987-1991
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