Here’s a brief look at a handful of recent comics-oriented history books (or should that be history-oriented comics books) that you may have missed. These aren’t specifically recommendations as I missed them, too! Just pointing them out to those of you who might be interested. Check your local comic shops or the usual places (Amazon, et al) online.
AL WILLIAMSON’S FLASH GORDON: A LIFELONG VISION OF THE HEROIC collects nearly all of the FLASH GORDON related stories, posters, comics, album covers and ads done by the legendary EC artist who seems to have been a logical successor to Alex Raymond and yet who, as far as I know, never actually drew the newspaper strip!
SCORCHY SMITH AND THE ART OF NOEL SICKLES–IDW is a publisher that’s doing justice to the great original strips and this book looks to be a gem! Sickles is widely recognized as an influence on Milton Caniff who, of course, influenced countless others in comic strips and books–Ray Bailey, Frank Robbins, Lee Elias, etc. This volume reprints for the first time Sickles’ entire run on the thirties adventure strip, SCORCHY SMITH.
HUMBUG–This double volume box set is one of several Harvey Kurtzman treats currently available. It collects the entire run of HUMBUG, the ill-fated tiny humor mag that Harvey and his usual gang (Davis, Jaffee, Roth and, of course, Villie Elder) did between the equally ill-fated TRUMP (also just collected) and the only slightly more successful (although definitely more important in pop culture history!) HELP. The material is a bit dated but much of it is prime satire from the creators of MAD!
THE WOLVERTON BIBLE collects the oft-mentioned but little-seen religious art of famed screwball cartoonist Basil Wolverton. For many years, Wolverton did highly detailed illustrations for his somewhat unconventional church group, particularly including some genuinely horrific scenes from the Book of Revelations. Finally, here is all that work in one volume!
MASTERPIECE COMICS–I saw this one at Borders recently! Artist R. Sikoryak does a splendid job of aping classic comics styles to retell classic literature. Thus we have, for example, the Golden Age Superman as Albert Camus’ THE STRANGER and Blondie and Dagwood in the Garden of Eden. Other works familiar from high school lit classes are adapted in the styles of Little Nemo, Little Lulu, Batman and Garfield.
APES AND BABES! THE ART OF FRANK CHO VOLUME 1–this title is pretty self-explanatory. Brandy in Frank Cho’s amusing LIBERTY MEADOWS is one of the sexiest and yet most natural female characters in recent comic strip history. Quite frankly, that should be enough to make you want this book right there. (Okay so there isn’t much history in this one, it still caught my eye.)
Oh and in case you somehow aren’t aware of it, Craig Yoe also has a number of great recent books on comics and art with more coming soon! Check out the ads all over this site for those!