Wednesday, August 8, 2018

On the Coffee Table: Tony Isabella

Title: 1000 Comic Books You Must Read
Author: Tony Isabella
I have an inscribed copy of this book, gifted to me by Mock and Drama Guy for my birthday five years ago - just for a glimpse into how deep my TBR shelves run these days.  Isabella has been working in comics, mostly as writer and critic, for decades.  His proudest creation is the DC superhero Black Lightning, intended to address the lack of positive Black characters in the comics of the late '70s.  He was inspired, in part, by television's Welcome Back, Kotter, also a comic series for which Isabella had written.

I doubt this book will turn me into a collector.  Having dabbled in the genre for a few years now, I've got a pretty good idea of what I like.  That said, the history presented here is excellent and a lot of it new to me.  The titles are categorized by decade and each chapter begins with the historical context.  The first book listed is Action Comics #1, the first appearance of Superman, June 1938.  While Isabella acknowledges the existence of sequential art for millennia preceding, he submits Superman as the launch point of the industry as most American consumers know it.  The most recent publication featured is Bruce the Little Bruce Spruce, December 2008.

There's a decent variety on Isabella's list, though a more Squid-friendly selection would have featured more international titles, especially Japanese.  I have read several in his compilation and have a couple more on the shelves waiting for me.  I expect the book will be a good reference and will also be good for ideas should I decide to expand my horizons. 


  1. I started out on comic books up as a mature kid at my cousins ranch, I soaked words up absorbing the ink between the pages such fun. Then one day I'm out ranching with the heard strutting my manliness with the guys. I come back and the maid has chucked my entire box of comics into the trash - its gone. I went ballistic oh the lessons of life.

  2. I fell in love with comic books as a kid, but my parents didn't really know about it. I only read the comics I could bum off my friends. As an adult I have an extensive collection and I've gotten into indie comics.

    1. Anything in particular you're enjoying these days?