Comic Book Comics #4

Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey pack issues of Comic Book Comics full of history and humor. Even when you’ve heard these stories before, you’ll find a new perspective or detail you weren’t previously aware of.

And they don’t stick just with the obvious, well-known stories — this issue’s 40 pages covers

  • The creation of Crime Does Not Pay, a notoriously horrific comic, and what happened to Charles Biro and Bob Wood, its founders.
  • How Marvel Comics and Stan Lee started publishing superhero titles and developed the “Marvel method” of letting the artist tell the details of the story.
  • This story continues into an exploration of how Marvel treated Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby as Stan Lee took the credit and glory.
  • The Texas roots of underground comics by Jack Jackson and Gilbert Shelton.
  • Continuing that piece of history, key moments in the life and drugs of Robert Crumb.
  • A brief history of Tintin and other European comics.

The telling of Marvel’s history is particularly amusing, as many favorite images from their comics and Stan Lee’s familiar phrases are incorporated into the story of the corporation. It’s post-modern! Also in this tale is another of my favorite bits from the boys, when Dunlavey works himself and Van Lente in as commentary on artist/writer relationships. And I loved the Logan’s Run imagery when they discussed why French comics didn’t have the age restrictions that were established in the U.S.

Van Lente is accomplished at distilling histories into key moments, and Dunlavey’s crowded panels provide additional details or commentary. His figures usually appear on the edge of insanity, an apt portrayal for the demented world of comics. He also does a good job mimicking some of the art styles being discussed. Plus, all of the stories are annotated and referenced.

You can read 8 pages of the Marvel Comics story online, as well as a couple of other stories from this issue. Issue #5, variously referred to as the “all battle” or “all lawsuit” issue, is due in May.

Similar Posts: *The Comic Book History of Comics — Best of 2012 § Read a Comic Book Comics Story Online § Read About Osamu Tezuka in Comic Form § Comic Book Comics #6 § Comic Book Comics #5


8 Responses to “Comic Book Comics #4”

  1. Coming Up: Graphic Novels Due June 2010 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] not a graphic novel, but I must recommend the new issue of Comic Book Comics. There’s no other comic series like this, providing a factual yet funny overview of key [...]

  2. Three More Koontz Graphic Novels Announced » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] Is on Our Side will be the next graphic novel. It will be written by Fred Van Lente (Comic Book Comics, Action Philosophers, Hercules) and will be illustrated by Queenie Chan (The Dreaming), who drew [...]

  3. Odd Is On Our Side » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] story, written by Fred Van Lente (Comic Book Comics, Action Philosophers), is based on an outline by Dean Koontz, who created the character in a series [...]

  4. Coming Up: Good Comics Due February 2011 or Later » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] case, Dan DeCarlo trying to reclaim his Josie & the Pussycats, and much more. It’s a terrific series, making the industry history [...]

  5. Comic Book Comics #5 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] been almost a year and a half since the previous issue (Nov 2009), but when you see how much is packed into this “All-Lawsuit Issue”, [...]

  6. Read About Osamu Tezuka in Comic Form » Manga Worth Reading Says:

    [...] Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey — out from IDW, collecting the six-issue miniseries published as Comic Book Comics — they provided to Comics Alliance a preview of their story on the life of Osamu Tezuka, the [...]

  7. Crime Does Not Pay: The Complete Shorts Collection » DVDs Worth Watching Says:

    [...] familiar with “Crime Does Not Pay” as a classic comic (recently collected from Dark Horse), but it was also a series of movie [...]

  8. *The Comic Book History of Comics — Recommended » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] material in this book was previously published as six issues of Comic Book Comics; I reviewed issue #4, issue #5, and issue #6 individually. [...]

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