Essential Books About Manga

I’m covering here reference works, not how-to books, of which there are more than enough. I’ve previously reviewed two how-to books: Manga Secrets is straight-forward and includes the basics, while Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga is satiric. You’ll learn from it, but you’ll learn more what NOT to do. And you’ll laugh while doing it. Anyway, on to the books about manga. Manga! Manga! Frederik L. Schodt provided the first and still one of the best English-language books covering […]

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Reinventing Comics

I thought of Reinventing Comics as the ugly middle child of Scott McCloud’s trilogy of books about the medium. Understanding Comics was revolutionary; nothing like it had been done before in discussing the theory behind the art. Making Comics was needed; there aren’t enough good books about the practice of craft. But as I remembered it, Reinventing Comics was a bunch of outdated gee-whiz-aren’t-computers-cool bits and pieces. I was surprised, then, upon rereading it, to realize how current and up-to-date […]

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The Great Women Cartoonists and the Great Women Superheroes

The Great Women Superheroes Kitchen Sink Press, 1996 The Great Women Superheroes is pretty much what it sounds like. Trina Robbins’ author’s note provides some useful clarification: This book is called The Great Women Superheroes, rather than An Encyclopedia of Women Superheroes, so that I could include only those whom I felt to be the best, the worst, the silliest, or the most interesting. … I had to define superheroines as those comic book heroines who fit in at least […]

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A Century of Women Cartoonists

A Century of Women Cartoonists, from Kitchen Sink Press in 1993, seems like a revision of Women and the Comics, with a few major changes: 1) Trina Robbins has no co-writer this time, 2) the emphasis is on history, not present-day creators, and 3) a stated intent to focus only on cartoonists, not women who only write comics. On a flip-through, this volume seems to have more illustrations as well, which makes for a breezy read and gives more of […]

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Women and the Comics

Trina Robbins keeps writing books about the contributions of women to comics, filling in gaps in the more familiar history with lots of fascinating stories of under-appreciated creators. Yet these books keep going out of print. Male conspiracy? Or just bad luck with publishers? Her first book on the topic, Women and the Comics, was co-written with Cat Yronwode (Editor-in-Chief of Eclipse Comics, who published this volume in 1985) and intended in part as a response to Maurice Horn’s Women […]

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The Naked Artist: Comic Book Legends

The best conversations at comic conventions happen in the bars, after plenty of social lubricant has been flowing. Artist Bryan Talbot has collected many of the anecdotes and stories passed around in The Naked Artist: Comic Book Legends. Don’t be mistaken; this isn’t a graphic novel, but a book of text stories, perfect for pick-up-and-put-down sampling. (Given some of the subjects, one is immediately tempted to suggest bathroom reading.) They’re casually presented, as though sitting around swapping tales, with occasional […]

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Comic Foundry #2

Comic Foundry‘s second issue is now out, and (obnoxious as this sounds), I was right, it is much better in color. The design is excellent, welcoming and readable. There are plenty of short features covering a range of material, including webcomics, indy publishers, superheroes, and manga. With two or three items on most pages, none of them are terribly deep, but they’re entertaining enough introductions to the subjects. I did weary of them a little before the longer pieces started, […]

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Comics Now! Magazine

Comics Now! is a new quarterly magazine put together by some of the folks behind the Comic Geek Speak podcast. (Editor in Chief is Bryan Deemer; Editor is Kevin Freeman; and Peter Rios is the Assistant Editor.) It “striv[es] to provide fair and equal coverage to ALL segments of the comic book marketplace, mantaining a ‘FAN to FAN’ perspective, and by striving to promoting [sic] the readability of comic books over the collectibility.” Those are all great goals, and they […]

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