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1,000 Comic Books You Must Read Hardcover – November 12, 2009

3.6 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Isabella knows comics, and, more importantly, loves them. His appreciation for the format is evident in this tribute to seven decades of cartoons. Excellent full-color reproductions of each cover accompanied by bibliographic information, and a short paragraph explaining why the title was selected for inclusion, are organized chronologically by decade. This sequence allows readers to witness the evolution of comics over time. Opening with a tribute to Superman and the important role that he played in the creation of early comics, the book features titles published through 2008. Beginning with the 1940s, each decade is introduced with a synopsis of comics produced during that period. This arrangement makes for excellent casual browsing, for an interesting lesson in the history of the format, and for an enjoyable trip down memory lane for adults. The diversity of selections provides treats for all. Offerings include everything from Donald Duck, Our Gang, Patsy Walker, Archie, and Captain America to Mousegard, Civil War, The Simpsons, and Usagi Yojimbo. The author's writing is clever and concise. In the acknowledgements, he credits a long list of individuals who provided suggestions and input for the final product. Color-coded pages and side margins facilitate ease in locating specific decades. Even readers who know little about graphic format will be captivated by Isabella's vivid synopsis of the world of comic books.—Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Krause Publications (November 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0896899217
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896899216
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.9 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #627,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Barry Pearl on November 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
To this day, I feel that comics should be fun, and the first thing about this book is that it is fun. What a great eclectic list.

What surprised me most, however, is the wave of nostalgia that hit me. I lived through so much of this and it was great to see old friends back: Little Dot, Lulu, Dennis the Menace, Jerry Lewis and some that I had forgotten Sugar and Spike (Four entries!). Not just at comics from Marvel and DC this book gave a change to look back, but also a chance to catch up.

Tony still has the heart of a fan. I was concerned that this would be another one of those list where some "lectures" about what was good and bad. Instead Tony takes us on a personal journey through a life in comics, his life, and remembers the fun stops. He does in so brief, thoughtful and even funny references. These are observations, not notes to a thesis. For example:

On Iron Man in TOS #39, "His origin will be changed periodically to accommodate new wars."
Sadly true. (ery true. I fear we will not run out of wars for the new generations.)

Wonder Woman #108 "I bought the issue when no one was looking!"

And while he might have thought "Little Archie peaked too early" it is interesting that his comic is placed next to the Atom! Who was also little.

Yes, there is Fin Fang Foom, Konga, Menace, the Fantastic Four, Uncle Scrooge (who has a barroom brawl described as "Jack Kirby with Ducks!") But Tony takes his time to remember some of the most important comics that can be forgotten because their publishers are no longer around, like Dick Briefer's Frankenstein.

I thought this would be a book to read in a day, but it has stretched to a week.
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Format: Hardcover
You can see the evolution of the comics industry through these pages, brought to you courtesy of Tony Isabella, "America's most beloved comics writer and columnist," who writes and reviews for Comics Buyer's Guide. Isabella has been writing comics for four decades now, and he's perhaps best known as the creator of DC Comics' Black Lightning, the first African-American superhero to get his own title at DC.

But it's Isabella's perspective as a fan, not a creator, that feeds the joys of reading 1,000 Comic Books You Must Read. You can see the growth of the industry in the book, but also the changing of the readership. As we travel from a time where comic books regularly sold millions of copies every month to the present, where the numbers are much, much smaller, we see the transformation of our culture's tastes and habits unfold before our very eyes.

The original Superman comics from the late 1930s kick off the collection, a nice tribute to the man of steel, without whom the format of comics would be vastly different, if it existed at all. From there, we move on to the 1940s, where the Golden Age of superheroes really began. All the classics are here: Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Archie, plus the wild military and adventure comics of the day (and even wacky things like Daredevil Battles Hitler). Each two-page spread is a trip to a distant past that seems not so far away through comics. Although excerpts from the comics are not included here (Isabella does give a brief synopsis of each story inside to show why they're being picked), just the covers themselves tell an interesting story.
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Format: Hardcover
Longtime comic book writer and reviewer Tony Isabella presents a gift for comic book fans...his picks for the 1000 comic books you must read. Now note that this isn't necessarily meant to be the greatest comics although certainly many would fall into that category, or perhaps most important might even be more appropriate. Isabella has segmented his book by decade beginning with the hero who started it all, Superman, an continuing with a look at each decade leading off with the 1940s and continuing to new Millennium.

A picture of each and everyone of the thousand comics is included along with the issue #, artist and writer credits, publisher, and date. Isabella then gives a one paragraph note about why the issue was included in the book. The diversity of titles is extraordinary! As comic fans we sometimes get wrapped up too much into superhero titles. Comics, especially back in the 1940s and 1950s were an incredible mixed bag: action, war, horror, humor, detective, science fiction, romance, and westerns all enjoyed their eras of popularity and they are well-represented in the book.

Yes the major issues are hit upon: .Marvel Comics #1. Flash Comics #1, More Fun Comics #52 (the First Spectre), Detective Comics #27, All-Star Comics #3...the key titles of the Golden Age are all included. But what's also included is the lesser known books like Quality's Police Comics #1; Jumbo Comics #48 with its fabulous Sheena cover; Frankenstein Comics #1; and Santa Claus Funnies in Four Color #128. I was especially pleased to see Isabella did not overlook many of the great 50s and 60s humor comics like The Adventures of Jerry Lewis and Bob Hope. Disney Comics are well represented as well.

Could I argue on a few things with Isabella? Sure..
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