Alphabetical Index of Books About Comics

Marvel: The Avengers Vault

Review by KC Carlson Between the years of 2007 and 2011, a publisher named Running Press issued a series of beautifully written and produced Vault books on the histories of comics’ biggest companies (Marvel and DC Comics — both previously reviewed by me, here at CWR) and their top characters (Batman and Spider-Man). Despite the similar title, this new 2015 Avengers Vault book, from a different publisher, Thunder Bay Press, is not like those books. In fact, I think the […]

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Swampmen: Muck-Monsters and Their Makers

As laid out in editor Jon B. Cooke’s introduction, Swampmen: Muck-Monsters and Their Makers was originally supposed to come out over 12 years ago. Now, it’s here, labeled as Comic Book Creator #6, but it’s similar in length and content to other TwoMorrows volumes. Either way, it’s a specialized subject. The book focuses on the swamp monsters of the 1970s comics and in detail on the Alan Moore era of Swamp Thing. Two pages of justification lay out other characters […]

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Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels

Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels is a bit of a specialized book, focused on writing comics for businesses run by other people (instead of self-publishing or drawing your own work), but it’s full of great advice for those who want to go into that aspect of the industry. More importantly, the enthusiasm Brian Michael Bendis conveys for the job is infectious. Similarly, Joe Quesada’s foreword hits the “don’t give up, push through […]

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Kawaii Manga: Adorable!

Kawaii Manga: Adorable! is a colorful, heavy book that contains a selection of walk-throughs, showing how 22 different images (from 16 artists) were built digitally. They’re all loosely “kawaii”, or super-cute, and manga- or anime-influenced. (Seriously, the thick paper over 350 pages makes for a hefty tome. This isn’t a “carry it around with you” book.) The sections are “Cute Girls”, “Happy Time”, “Sweet Dessert”, “Super Adventure”, and “Magical World”. Each image begins with a short paragraph explaining the character. […]

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The Secret History of Wonder Woman

You’ve likely already heard of Jill Lepore’s The Secret History of Wonder Woman, since there was an impressive profile last month at The New Yorker that summarizes many of the key points. This book, though, goes into great depth with new discoveries about the life of William Moulton Marston, her creator. Early on, Lepore lays out her premise clearly. She traces Superman’s roots to science fiction, Batman to the hard-boiled detective, and Wonder Woman to “the feminist utopia and to […]

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A Curious Man

The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert “Believe It or Not!” Ripley I hadn’t thought about “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” in years. I remember reading it as a kid, before the internet made it much easier to find these kinds of weird factoids and information about different cultures. And that’s why Neal Thompson’s biography of Robert Ripley appealed to me — it reminded me of a long-ago time when the world was a much larger, more unusual place. Ripley […]

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Railway Ribaldry

If you have an older relative who loves either trains or old-fashioned cartoon art, then I have the perfect gift for you to give them. Railway Ribaldry was originally published in 1935 to mark the centenary of the (English) Great Western Railway. Now its 96 pages have been reprinted, which should delight those who enjoy pen-and-ink portraits of another way of life. Most of us will have no idea what the subjects refer to, since few of us take trains […]

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Diary of a Girl Next Door: Betty

written by Tania del Rio; art by Bill Galvan and Bob Smith Archie Comics is tackling the popular “illustrated diary” format (think Dork Diaries or Diary of a Wimpy Kid) with this hardcover starring the Riverdale girl next door, Betty. It’s aimed at kids 9-12 years old, which is obvious. Although the stories are supposedly about Betty’s fears and struggles entering high school, she seems much younger. It’s a well-known saying that kids like to read up from their age, […]

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