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The Complete Milt Gross Comic Books and Life Story Hardcover – March 23, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Toward the end of a long career spent writing cartoon-and-prose books, drawing a variety of newspaper strips, and in Hollywood, humorist Gross turned in the late 1940s to the relatively disreputable realm of comic books. He brought with him a number of his features from the funny pages, including That's My Pop, about a boastful layabout whose credulous son admires him nevertheless; Count Screwloose, about a resident of the Balmycrest Booby Hatch; and Banana Oil, in which frauds and braggarts are debunked with the titular rejoinder, which became a catchphrase. Gross augmented those with new creations, including ditsy Moronica and annoying canine Pete the Pooch. Such characters' outlandish behavior and breezy, loopy dialogue (which retains only a trace of the distinctive Yiddish-inflected patois characteristic of Gross' earlier work) were matched by the artist's wildly hyperbolic, screwball drawings. As if comics curator Yoe hadn't done enough service by unearthing these long-unseen stories, he prefaces them with a lengthy biographical essay illustrated with art from throughout Gross' career. --Gordon Flagg

Review

How do I love thee, let me count the ways: this isn't so much a book review, but a book RAVE. Craig Yoe's massive new tome reprinting the comic book art of Milt Gross (IDW/Yoe Books, 354 color pages, $39.99 or cheaper on Amazon) is an absolute must-have by everyone reading this blog. Buy it now. Gross was the dean of funny cartoonists, influencing everyone from Bob Clampett and Harvey Kurtzman to R. Crumb. He pioneered what we call today the graphic novel, worked in animation, wrote songs, coined slang, had a long running newspaper comic strip and directed two insane MGM cartoons in the 1930s (I've embedded one of them, Jitterbug Follies (1939), below). Yoe's new book reprints Gross rarely seen comic pages for Picture News magazine and for the American Comics Group (ACG) from the 1940s. He precedes this with a 38 page detailed history of Milt Gross, loaded with rare cartoons, advertisements, still photos and frame grabs that are worth the price of the book alone. A Foreword by Herb Gross (Milt's son) and a clever Fold-INtroduction by Mad's Al Jaffee set the zany tone. The Complete Milt Gross Comic Books and Life Story; To paraphrase both Jack Kirby and Milt Gross: Dun't Esk, just buy it! --cartoonbrew.com
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: IDW Publishing (March 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600105467
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600105463
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 1.5 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,840,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David Burd on March 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Writer/editor Craig Yoe seems to specialize in uncovering little-known cartoonists such as Boody Rogers and the many obscure artists he explored in the four Arf volumes (Modern Arf, Arf Museum, Arf Forum and Comic Arf). This time, Yoe focuses on one of the most famous and successful cartoonists of the last century, who sadly has faded into relative obscurity. It's about time somebody did a book on Milt Gross, the only artist to have his name in the title of a comic book (save for Walt Disney who never actually drew comics).

The book is wonderful, and Gross deserves most of the credit for that, since it includes all of his comic book work in one hefty volume comprising an impressive 354 pages. The comic book pages are nicely reproduced (and not re-colored or doctored) from the original comics and are predictably hilarious. Milt's work is just terrific which it makes it all the more mysterious why he isn't more popular today. (Maybe this book will change that situation.)

But we can't ignore Yoe's contribution to the book, not only as editor and archivist but as author of a fairly in-depth biography that's chock full of rare illustrations and photographs. There's lots to read in this fascinating tale of success in the first half of the 20th century.

For me, the most enjoyable aspect of Milt's life story is how, back in the day, cartoonists were genuine stars, not unknown scribblers chained to a drawing board. From his work on the four-color funny pages Milt went on to work with Charlie Chaplin as a gag writer, among other accomplishments. Gross was a comic celebrity who dabbled in animation, books and even fine art.

I also have to say something about this book as a book. Unlike a novel, it is not "Kindle-friendly.
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Format: Hardcover
Wow! There just aren't enough adjectives to describe the brilliant Milt Gross, one of the greatest American cartoonists of the 20th (or any other) Century. The last Gross reprint (HE DONE HER WRONG) came out in 2004. My review for that book contained the following: "A definitive, coffee table art book on Gross and his contributions to American comic strips and animated cartoons is long, long overdue..." Happily, that oversight has now been addressed with flying colors by groundbreaking editor/archivist Craig Yoe. An outstanding, milestone edition and a labor of love which I can sum up in two syllables: BUY IT!
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This is a massive book, and it is almost encyclopedic in it's content. The first 40 pages or so contain biographical information on Gross (often quite humorous) mixed in with various illustrations, photographs and personal letters, etc. It has the feel of having been taken from the family's scrapbook.

What follows next are close to 300 pages of nothing but colorful comic reproductions with no text other than in the comics themselves.

It is enough to keep you laughing for weeks! My only negative comment would be that I found the font in the biographical section to be very small and a little difficult to read.

They did a great job putting this book together. Very nicely done.

And a lot of fun!
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An excellent collection of hard to find rarities lovingly reproduced and worth buying, even if it falls in line with the unpleasant current "reprint the public domain and copyright it" craze. Also carries with it the burden of Yoe's unfortunate "My collection is cooler than yours" vibe, which fortunately most Gross aficionados can dismiss with a Yiddishkeit "Pffft!"
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A book dedicated entirely to Milt Gross, my favorite comic-book cartoonist. Joy of joys!

Here's a book I've actually had for a while, I'd say it arrived toward the end of June and I'm still not done with it! The book is massively thick and is hard-backed. 368 pages of Gross!

The book opens with a word from Herb Gross (Milts son) and a longer essay on Milts life in comics, cartoons and entertainment in general by the books editor and compiler Craig Yoe.

Both are interesting, thoughtful insights into this sweet and funny man, all illustrated by Milts various ads, cartoon strips and surprisingly, some of his paintings! Milt was a talented man to say the least.

From there, the whole book is nothing but full-page color reprints of Milt Gross' Comics!!!

Milt is known for his unabashedly cartoony style. He has strong lines-of-action, energetic poses, funny drawings, an unending supply of designs for his characters and of course, his biggest asset is his unmatched skill for composition.

Before I brought this book, I'd only ever seen random panels of Milts work, out of context, in various animation blogs explaining his many strengths.

But until I read the first story in this book, a comic strip called 'That's my Pop' I never knew how good Milt was at telling stories!

The story was hilarious and engaging, like something out of the Honeymooners or some classic sitcom, in the truest sense of the word, it was a situational comedy. The situations he came up with were ripe for comedy.

Milt had several recurring strips such as "That's My Pop!
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