Gr 9 Up-Comics get explained for the social, cultural, and intellectual phenomenon that they are. Each chapter is essentially an excerpted piece from a larger, university-press book, so the writing and commentary provided are consistently first-rate. The engrossing essays cover myriad topics including the universal elements of a comic-book story, the historical changes that comics have undergone, and the splintering of the genre into underground comix, graphic novels, and manga. Further, the self-censorship that comic artists imposed on themselves in the postwar era, the surprisingly common antihero, and the sexist drawings so widely known are all sensitively and finely addressed. The text-only format may discourage some, but other readers will enjoy the serious treatment of the topic. A reliable title covering many needs, Comic Books should be picked up wherever possible.-John Leighton, Brooklyn Public Library, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.