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In this definitive study of one of popular culture's favorite genres Robert C. Harvey, a cartoonist and comics critic, traces the evolution of the comic book as a potent form of narrative art. He takes it from its beginnings in the 1930s through the most contemporary of productions in the mid-1990s.
In defining comic book aesthetics Harvey establishes both a critical perspective and a vocabulary for evaluating the art. Because he is an able practitioner himself, his insights are especially valuable. As he demonstrates how words and pictures function together to tell stories in ways unique to the medium, he explains the processes of narrative breakdown, page layout, and panel composition, and shows how these aspects of the art form can be manipulated for dramatic effects.
Enhanced by many illustrations, this detailed examination of comic book art includes work from both the mainstream and the counterculture, both veteran and newcomer. Whether traditional or iconoclastic, their cartoon art continues to uphold the aesthetic that Harvey finds to be the basis of cartooning.
|A Word to the Fore Beats a Pair of Anything|
|Ch. 1||Slouching toward an Aesthetic: The Beginning of a Critical Vocabulary||3|
|Ch. 2||Legions in Long Underwear: The Advent of the Comic Book and the Reign of the Superhero||16|
|Ch. 3||The Search for Art and Meaning: Westerns and the American Spirit||50|
|Ch. 4||But Is It Art?: The Spirit of Will Eisner||66|
|Ch. 5||The Heroic Avenue to Art: Experimentation and the Mark of Kane||100|
|Ch. 6||The Comic Book as Individual Expression: Harvey Kurtzman and the Revolution||126|
|Ch. 7||Style and Flash and Filigree: Manipulating Breakdowns, Composition, and Layout for Effect||152|
|Ch. 8||Only in the Comics: Why Cartooning Is Not the Same as Filmmaking||173|
|Ch. 9||The Lonely Hearts Club Band: Autobiographical Angst and Other Adventures in Topics and Treatments||192|
|Ch. 10||All Together Now||263|
Posted March 5, 2013
Robert C. Harvey's telling of the history of comic books is quite boring to say the least. It is roughly 270 pages of monotone words mixed with a few comic book strips from various series. Actually, the only thing not bland about this book was the various comic book examples that he put into them. Despite the boring tone in which it was written, it is filled with fascinating information. It discusses the entire of history of comic books starting from the 1930's all the way to modern times. It gives you insight on how and why the comic books we know today became so popular and the meaning behind some of America's most iconic characters such as Captain American and Superman. It also discusses how the comic book was and still is an entirely unique and different medium of entertainment from any other. It was a way for authors to express their feelings about particular issue including Harvy Kurtzman who was famous for creating patriotic heroes. The use of pictures for storytelling was a revolutionary idea that has turned into one of the most successful industries in history. However, despite the interesting things this book has to offer, because it is told in such a boring and monotone manner, it makes it difficult to read. It requires being a rather large fan of comic books and/or history. Of which I am the former. If you don't fit into either of these categories, unfortunately i must suggest that you steer clear of this book and all of its insightful facts. -Francisco PadillaWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.