176 classic covers unfurled in full-sized glory! 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 ...
176 classic covers unfurled in full-sized glory!
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 Action! Mystery! Thrills! 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.)
Nick Gazin - Vice
“This book is a f***ing mind blower for me since it's just full size reproductions of cover art of the most important comic book issues you never saw.... To appreciate the work in this book. . . open whatever part of yourself receives beauty. America's golden age comic books are some of the greatest art our country has produced.”
April Snellings - Knoxville Metro Pulse
“...Sadowski offers up an incredibly diverse gallery of forgotten superheroes, pistol toting gangsters, cartoonish Nazis, and talking animals. Each cover has been painstakingly restored . . . It’s as close to browsing the comics rack of a World War II era drugstore as most of us will ever get.... Sadowski... is one of the most adept chroniclers of comic book history working today.... At a perfectly reasonable $29.99, it’s a must for any comic book fan’s library.”
Golden Age Comic Book Stories
“...[Action! Mystery! Thrills!] is one the best books yet done on Golden Age Comics! Sadowski is by far my favorite editor of compilations/retrospectives on comic book art!... [An] important look at an exceptional period of American art! My highest recommendation to anyone interested in 20th Century illustration and of course the comics!”
Rick Klaw - The SF Site: Nexus Graphica
“Editor/designer Greg Sadowski returns to his tireless exploration of the comic book with [Action! Mystery! Thrills!].... As in his previous volumes..., Sadowski supplies copious end notes and annotations. . . an entertaining history of earlyc omics.... Sadowski once again delivers an essential book for anyone with an interest in comics history.”
Bud Plant - Bud's Art Books
“If you think you've seen all the best early comic covers . . . think again... Here you find the really cool and offbeat stuff... And Greg writes a concise bio of every cover and cover artist, putting each in perspective. . .it's a must have book. You have my word on it.”