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Action! Mystery! Thrills!: Comic Book Covers of the Golden Age 1933-45by Greg Sadowski
Synopses & Reviews
When we contemplate a memorable old comic book, the first thing that comes to mind is its cover, and that was no accident. Publishers realized fairly quickly that if they spent a little extra to hire a good cover artist, they could fill the insides with mediocrity and still make a sizable profit — that all it took was a striking cover to entice thousands of kids to fork over their dimes. Even today, covers drive the collectors' market. Apart from number-one issues and first appearances, the strength of a comic book's cover is the first consideration in determining its value. Indeed, it is now common practice to entomb the book between slabs of sealed plastic — with only the cover visible — as if the interior pages' sole purpose was to provide a place to secure the staples. In order to locate the best possible examples, collectors from around the world have been enlisted to share their rare and valuable comic books. The scores of cover artists represented include Carl Barks, Charles Biro, Dick Briefer, L.B. Cole, Jack Cole, Reed Crandall, Will Eisner, Bill Everett, Lou Fine, Walt Kelly, Jack Kirby, Mac Raboy, and Alex Schomburg. Every comic book genre will be explored, from superhero to detective to Western to funny animal. Majestic, iconic, chaotic, or downright weird, a classic comic book cover has an undeniable appeal, and celebrates in spades this unique cultural icon. The covers will be printed full-sized on glossy paper to most faithfully replicate the originals, and arranged chronologically to give the reader a sense of the sweeping trends and stylistic developments throughout the medium's first decade, as inexorable waves of dazzling imagery battled monthly for newsstand attention.
"From Jungle Comics to Jumbo Comics, and from Sheena, Queen of the Jungle to Captain Shadow, the golden age had a lot going for it despite its crude wartime rhetoric and its share of racist imagery. As yet uninhibited by the Comics Code Authority's censorship, an unprecedented slew of exceptional talent conferred its signature Art Deco style on the epoch, and amply justify its mythical standing. Artists like Lou Fine, Will Eisner, Edd Ashe, Alex Schomburg, and Jack Kirby gave the covers of the day a kind of atomic shelf life, and live they do in this magnificent compilation. Nearly every cover in this collection sizzles like a good slice of breakfast bacon. Pop art and the peculiar modernist aesthetic that defined postwar American culture really started here, with the liberation of comics from the funny pages and their metamorphosis into this most dynamic and demented of mediums. As a result, every deli and newsstand in America became its own peculiar gallery exhibit, a nexus of transient mass culture. This magical and immersive communion is now a thing of the past, but flipping through the gory, scary, and often beautiful pages of this discerning and honest anthology is an intoxicating experience. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
176 classic covers unfurled in full-sized glory!
About the Author
Greg Sadowski is a writer, editor and designer (B. Krigstein, Supermen!, Four Color Fear, Setting the Standard: Alex Toth; Action! Mystery! Thrills!) living in Washington State.
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