New Smithsonian Book of Comic Book Stories: From Crumb to Clowes

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A panorama of some of the most creative and subversive art of our times, this one-of-a-kind anthology celebrates the artistry and insight of comic book art, graphic novels, and graphic journalism from the 1960s to the present. Classics such as R. Crumb's I Remember the Sixties, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's Spider-Man saga “The Final Chapter,” and Dan Clowes's Caricature are featured, plus new sequences of work by Chris Ware and Ben Katchor created exclusively for this volume.

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Overview

A panorama of some of the most creative and subversive art of our times, this one-of-a-kind anthology celebrates the artistry and insight of comic book art, graphic novels, and graphic journalism from the 1960s to the present. Classics such as R. Crumb's I Remember the Sixties, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's Spider-Man saga “The Final Chapter,” and Dan Clowes's Caricature are featured, plus new sequences of work by Chris Ware and Ben Katchor created exclusively for this volume.

The book is divided into four main galleries: Underground Comics, Silver Age Super Heroes, A Raw Generation, and Dark Fiction and Deep Fantasy, and includes a special supplement of four-color work by Lynda Barry and others as well. In his lively introduction, Bob Callahan celebrates the achievements of American comic book art from the late 1930s to the present. An indispensable collection.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Bob Callahan's book brilliantly records comics' coming of age. A necessary introduction to the maturity of the medium.”—Will Eisner
Publishers Weekly
The first Smithsonian Book of Comic-Book Comics was and remains an invaluable resource for comics readers, collecting excellent and rare works with precision and wit. This new volume is neither precise nor witty, and actually performs a disservice to comics readers and historians. Under the aegis of collecting both mainstream and "alternative" comics from the mid-1960s to the present, Callahan has included such artists as Ben Katchor, Frank Miller, Joe Kubert and Chris Ware. With a book like this, insiders will inevitably make "how come so-and-so wasn't included" arguments. In this case, though, absences and inclusions will cause readers to question the core value of this volume. Callahan purports to cover the scope of comics from the last 40 or so years, but leaves out hugely influential figures in contemporary comics, including Mark Beyer, Aline Kominsky, Julie Doucet, Phoebe Gloeckner (there's a severe dearth of female cartoonists), Howard Chaykin, Chester Brown, Todd McFarlane, S. Clay Wilson, Dave Sim and many, many others. Instead, there are minor works by minor cartoonists like Rick Geary, Melinda Gebbie and Frank Stack, and jumbled or inconsequential work from great cartoonists like Gilbert Hernandez, Kaz, Joe Sacco, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. Neither a definitive anthology nor a helpful resource, this is a haphazard grab bag of some good comics, numerous dubious achievements and some downright mysteries. (Dec. 1) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
A sequel to the 1981 Smithsonian Book of Comic-Book Comics, this anthology surveys American comics from the 1960s to the present. From the cover and subtitle, readers might expect a collection of purely underground and alternative material. Where there is a large sample of such work, including stories by Robert Crumb, Daniel Clowes, Harvey Pekar, Joe Sacco, Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, and many others, as well as an excerpt from Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer-winning Maus, mainstream comics are also featured, including 1960s Fantastic Four and Spider-Man stories written by Stan Lee (with art by Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko respectively) and excerpts from Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Alan Moore's Watchmen, and Neil Gaiman's Sandman. Unfortunately, the book fails to do the mainstream material justice, presenting it in black-and-white instead of its original color. (The only color section is devoted to recent work by Chris Ware, Lynda Barry, Jim Woodring, and Ben Katchor.) Also, the book's brief text is poorly edited and contains errors. Large libraries will still want this for its widely varied selection of strong stories. But the Smithsonian name should have ensured a more definitive presentation. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781588341839
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 397
  • Product dimensions: 8.58 (w) x 11.26 (h) x 1.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Bob Callahan is editor of The New Comics Anthology, the original Kollected Krazy Kat (with Bill Blackbeard), and, with Art Spiegelman, the Neon Lit Graphic Novel Library. The author of The Dark Hotel, he lives in Berkely, CA.
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