Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Buy Used
$7.34
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: FREE Super Saver and 2nd day shipping (for Prime members) direct from Amazon, backed by Amazon's famous customer service guarantee. Previously shipped item.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Masters of American Comics Hardcover – November 11, 2005

3.9 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$7.95 $3.00

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This ambitious new book from Yale accompanies an exhibition of the same title debuting this fall at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Both focus on the 15 "Masters" of American comics, including George Herriman, Jack Kirby and R. Crumb. Well known figure like Jules Feiffer, Pete Hamill and Matt Groening, among others, contribute essays on each of the artists. These are complemented by a 175-page essay by Carlin, "Art History of 20th Century American Comics." Unfortunately, this essay is a disorganized and overly academic attempt to tell the story of comics through just these 15 artists, with little context for their achievements, thus failing to elucidate what makes them so special. Going too far the other way, the individual essays vary wildly in depth and intent. Jonathan Safran Foer's piece is little more than a memory of his friendship with Art Spiegelman, while Brian Walker casts much needed light on Lyonel Feininger's little known cartooning career. If the book is an uneven example of scholarship, it will still deserve a place on the comics reference table for the lavish number of full-color pages celebrating the glorious achievements of the cartoonists profiled. They show what the text sometimes doesn't: the vital impact these artists have had on the form. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

In 1906, a group of newspaper executives attended a talk entitled "Is the Comic Supplement a Desirable Feature?," which charged that "crude coloring, slapdash drawing, and very cheap and obvious funniness" would numb people to "the finer forms of art." By contrast, the cultural prestige that comics currently enjoy is exemplified by this book, which features appreciations of a familiar canon—from George Herriman to Chris Ware—by a starry list of contributors, such as Dave Eggers and Jules Feiffer. Not all the contributions are equally valuable. Raymond Pettibon's appreciation of Will Eisner turns into a free-associative rant about the editorial pages of the Times. But an essay on Lyonel Feininger, who eventually abandoned comics for a high-art career, and taught at the Bauhaus for several years, is illuminating. Hundreds of color reproductions allow the ingenuity of the artists' work to speak for itself.
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; First Edition edition (November 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030011317X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300113174
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 9.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,367,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
If 'art' can be defined as a view of the world or reaction or politicizing or representational through the many guises of that term as perceived by one who paints, sculpts, photographs, or draws, then the premise that 'comics' or 'cartoons' deserve the stature of an art form is certainly a viable decision. This large and generously illustrated volume, produced to accompany a museum exhibition, is probably as fine a treatise as is currently available, and if the book is representative of the exhibition to soon follow at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, then expectations can be justifiably high.

Editors/curators John Carlin, Paul Karasik, and Brian Walker have complied a group of 15 comic artists, those whose works have been significantly before the public since the 1940's. By limiting the number of cartoonists presented, the writing contributors of this large volume have concentrated more on issues as defined by comics, the effect of comics on the reading American public, the viability of comics as a forum for public statement and parody, and as a means of entertainment. While many of the artists' names will not be familiar (Chris Ware, Winsor McCay, Lyonel Feininger, EC Segar, Chester Gould, Charles Schultz, Will Eisner, Harvey Kurtzman, Ari Spiegelman, Gary Painter, George Herriman, Jack Kirby and R. Crumb) certainly their comic strips, comic books, and individual drawings will strike chords of acknowledgement with the public. And the proliferation of comic book character driven films has already paved the way for the public's interest in a comics survey.
Read more ›
1 Comment 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sometimes, books like these are so caught up in "clever" graphic design they aren't clear and useful to actually read and look through. This book gets the balance JUST RIGHT. Really impressive.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
The newspaper comic strip has been around for a little over a century and the earliest comic books are around eighty years old themselves. That's a reasonably long time, and there have been a lot of people who've worked in the field. Many have been pretty mediocre, a small group have been good, and there are an elite few who've been truly great. Although you may not agree with the complete list (I don't), Masters of American Comics does a pretty good job selecting the artists who belong in this elite group.

This coffee table book is divided into two parts. In the first section, we get a history of the comics in general, with a particular focus on the contributions of the elite artists. The second section is a collection of essays by various writers both inside and outside the comic industry; each essay deals with one of the fifteen featured artists.

Who are these artists (who also often wrote their material)? The first (both chronologically and within the book) is Windsor McCay whose Little Nemo in Slumberland remains one of the most wildly imaginative comic strips ever. McCay, incidentally, was also one of the very earliest animators. Lyonel Feininger's career was pretty brief, but his Kinder-Kids strips offer some more mind-bending art. George Herriman was the creator of arguably the greatest comic strip ever, Krazy Kat. E.C. Segar brought Popeye to the world in a comic strip that was far more clever than any of the cartoons.

Frank King's Gasoline Alley dealt with more of the mundane aspects of life, but did so brilliantly; it is the longest active comic, though King's successors have made it a pale shadow of its former self.
Read more ›
1 Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
MASTERS OF AMERICAN COMICS strives to be an overview of this interesting group of artists, but suffers from the fatal flaw of examining comic strips and comic books in the same work. These two very different types of storytelling don't really belong together and it gives the book a split personality. While beautifully illustrated and well-researched, this would have proven to be more valuable had it focused on one genre or the other. Despite my affection for both of these men and their creations; Charles Schulz and Jack Kirby are just not natural companions in any book. Also missing were any number of comic strip artists. Al Capp, Noel Sickles, Walt Kelly, and Alex Raymond are all mentioned but are given the short end of the stick here. Their presence would have been preferable to Crumb or Panter's; not because these men are not talented, but rather it would have made this work more cohesive. I understand this is a companion book to a joint exhibition of Hammer Museum and The Museum of Contemporary Art, but as such the exhibition suffered from the same flaw. If you are interested in the history of the comic strip in America this will be a nice sampler, but it obviously could have been much more.
2 Comments 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jam-packed with examples of comics from the very early 20th century
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
I loved the idea of reproducing much of the art from the original work, with editor's notes, erasures, pencil lines all showing. However, the mixture of the work of hugely popular mass-market artists like Schultz and (in the underground, Crumb) with more recent avante-guarde artists like Panter seemed odd to me. Peanuts was a cultural phenomenon, but has anyone actually ever read "Jimbo". I didn't, even when I bought "Raw" years ago. I appreciate boomer artists raised on the pulps would want to do something more "high-brow", but for me, the very nature of the medium mitigates against the sophisticated existentialism of, say, Chris Ware. Sure, I guess that has it's place, but what makes comics great is how the artists develop ways of making it easier for anyone to read and understand, not harder.
Comment 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Pages with Related Products. See and discover other items: comic strips