Sunday, October 28, 2012

On the Coffee Table: Comic Books 101

Title: Comic Books 101
Authors: Chris Ryall and Scott Tipton

Image via RyallTime Blog

This book is much as the title advertises, an overview of the basics of the American comic book industry.  While it's not quite as clever and engaging as Scott McCloud's books, Comic Books 101 covers a lot of ground - even explaining the effects of various colors of kryptonite.  Ryall and Tipton offer profiles of publishers, major characters and influential creators as well as a history of the business.  Most helpful to me are the recommended reading lists, of which there are several.  Interspersed are the reflections of various industry insiders.  The introduction is written by Stan Lee himself.

The book's tone is very light and also highly reverent as the authors recount the triumphs of their various heroes.  My favorite section is the last, Part VII: Hooray for Hollywood, in which the many comic book screen adaptations are reviewed - both movies and televisions.  Here the authors get a lot more snarky.  I like snarky!

Comic Books 101 was definitely a fun read.  I feel much better equipped for my own explorations of the medium.  In particular, I find myself extremely curious about pre-code comics of the 1950s and earlier.  A good book makes you want to read other books - mission accomplished here.  As with McCloud's books, I expect I will be referring back to Comic Books 101 often.

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