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1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die: The Ultimate Guide to Comic Books, Graphic Novels, and Manga

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Visually amazing, this critical history of comic books, manga, and graphic novels is a must-have for any comic buff or collector.  Over the centuries, comic books and their offshoots, such as graphic novels, manga, and bandes dessinées, have evolved into a phenomenally popular, influential, and unique art form with which we can express our opinions, our fantasies, our nigh Visually amazing, this critical history of comic books, manga, and graphic novels is a must-have for any comic buff or collector.  Over the centuries, comic books and their offshoots, such as graphic novels, manga, and bandes dessinées, have evolved into a phenomenally popular, influential, and unique art form with which we can express our opinions, our fantasies, our nightmares, and our dreams. In short: comics are emphatically no longer just for kids. This diverse, constantly evolving medium is truly coming into its own in the 21st century, from Hollywood's blockbuster adaptations of super-powered caped crusaders to the global spread of Japan's manga and its spinoffs, and from award-winning graphic novels such as Maus and Persepolis to new forms such as online webcomix. This volume is the perfect introduction to a dynamic and globally popular medium, embracing every graphic genre worldwide to assess the very best works of sequential art, graphic literature, comics, and comic strips, past and present. An international survey, this engaging volume is organized according to the year of first publication in the country of origin. An opening section acknowledges pioneering pre-1900 masterpieces, followed by sections divided by decade, creating a fascinating year-by-year chronicle of the graphic medium worldwide. The material includes the very earliest one-off albums to the latest in online comics and features some series and characters that have run for decades. Packed with fantastic reproductions of classic front covers and groundbreaking panels, this book is visually stunning as well as a trove of information--perfect for the passionate collector and casual fan alike.


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Visually amazing, this critical history of comic books, manga, and graphic novels is a must-have for any comic buff or collector.  Over the centuries, comic books and their offshoots, such as graphic novels, manga, and bandes dessinées, have evolved into a phenomenally popular, influential, and unique art form with which we can express our opinions, our fantasies, our nigh Visually amazing, this critical history of comic books, manga, and graphic novels is a must-have for any comic buff or collector.  Over the centuries, comic books and their offshoots, such as graphic novels, manga, and bandes dessinées, have evolved into a phenomenally popular, influential, and unique art form with which we can express our opinions, our fantasies, our nightmares, and our dreams. In short: comics are emphatically no longer just for kids. This diverse, constantly evolving medium is truly coming into its own in the 21st century, from Hollywood's blockbuster adaptations of super-powered caped crusaders to the global spread of Japan's manga and its spinoffs, and from award-winning graphic novels such as Maus and Persepolis to new forms such as online webcomix. This volume is the perfect introduction to a dynamic and globally popular medium, embracing every graphic genre worldwide to assess the very best works of sequential art, graphic literature, comics, and comic strips, past and present. An international survey, this engaging volume is organized according to the year of first publication in the country of origin. An opening section acknowledges pioneering pre-1900 masterpieces, followed by sections divided by decade, creating a fascinating year-by-year chronicle of the graphic medium worldwide. The material includes the very earliest one-off albums to the latest in online comics and features some series and characters that have run for decades. Packed with fantastic reproductions of classic front covers and groundbreaking panels, this book is visually stunning as well as a trove of information--perfect for the passionate collector and casual fan alike.

30 review for 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die: The Ultimate Guide to Comic Books, Graphic Novels, and Manga

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sebastien

    A nice survey of a range of comics across mostly US, Euro, and Asian comics. Indie and Euro comics may be overrepresented at the cost of the more mainstream US superhero comics. But it's actually hard for me to tell, my tastes skew towards Euro, indie, and manga, haven't read a ton of superhero work which is a gap for me. This potential underrepresentation of the US superhero comics may grate for some readers. The layout is done decade by decade, which is a good framework. Could also have split A nice survey of a range of comics across mostly US, Euro, and Asian comics. Indie and Euro comics may be overrepresented at the cost of the more mainstream US superhero comics. But it's actually hard for me to tell, my tastes skew towards Euro, indie, and manga, haven't read a ton of superhero work which is a gap for me. This potential underrepresentation of the US superhero comics may grate for some readers. The layout is done decade by decade, which is a good framework. Could also have split into sections based on region/style, but maybe that would've gotten too complicated. The short write-ups are generally pretty decent. In a book like this, many readers will feel like there are significant omissions. But all these type of lists and opinions are incredibly subjective, that is the nature of these things (1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die Based On Our Highly Subjective Viewpoints and Cultural Predilections doesn't quite have the same ring to it!). Anyways, for me some omissions based on my personal tastes: Esteban Maroto, Francois Walthery, Jose Gonzalez, Jeffrey Catherine Jones. The one major critique I have is that I wish there was an accompanying image with each book. It's harder to get a bead on each book's particular style without an accompanying image. In a survey book like this that is a pretty big issue, but my guess is this was not done because of space issues (the book is already very large, nevertheless, it hurts the purpose and effectiveness of such a book to have this problem). Overall, def recommend if you are looking to broaden your reading within the comics genre and need ideas for new avenues to explore.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Robert Wright

    If you think that Alan Moore is a genius that can do no wrong... If you think the Comics Journal is the ultimate reading guide to comics... If you only love indy/underground/foreign comics... If you're too cool for the mainstream... Then this is the comics guide for you. I'm not saying there's anything bad here, just that something that purports to be the "ultimate" guide should do a better job of representing the DC/Marvel mainstream and larger, popular independents. Some concessions are made to ti If you think that Alan Moore is a genius that can do no wrong... If you think the Comics Journal is the ultimate reading guide to comics... If you only love indy/underground/foreign comics... If you're too cool for the mainstream... Then this is the comics guide for you. I'm not saying there's anything bad here, just that something that purports to be the "ultimate" guide should do a better job of representing the DC/Marvel mainstream and larger, popular independents. Some concessions are made to titles and characters with too-obvious-to-be-denied pop culture impact. But the major omissions and "comics as literature" snob bias are evident and in play here. This is a useful guide to the interesting works to be found outside the mainstream and/or that may appeal to readers who wouldn't usually pick up a >gasp< comic book. It also makes the debatable decision to include (again selected) comic strips along with comic books, graphic novels, and manga well after the two related genres deviated enough to be considered in their own rights. I could go on at length about the omissions, but I'll just point out a conspicuous few: No John Byrne (as writer or artist) other than X-Men No George Perez No Mike Grell No Matt Wagner No post-70s Walt Simonson Like I said, I could go on & on. There are some goodies here, but it really is more the second 1000 you should read. It just seems like so much trying to justify comics as something "respectable" for "adults" to enjoy. Well, keep your hipster snobbery. I'm not ashamed to admit I like a wide array of comics, from classic 4-color adventures to complex, literary-philosophical tales. This tome undersells the former and over-represents the latter.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I skimmed through this book and found it interesting and informative. It's a bit heavy for light reading (and I think the pun is intended). By heavy, I mean literally heavy. There were some good ideas for some comics I'd like to read someday but I wasn't ambitious enough to take notes so I'll have to check it out again from the library one of these days. (Or perhaps the list is online somewhere.)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lestat

    Talk about a thorough compendium of the comic book industry! As one of the resident geeks at work, I received a copy of this book for review purposes, and I have to say, at first I was drawn in and gripped, but later on the choice of entries began to baffle and bewilder me. The book traces comics to its very origins - the alleged first comic book ever was by a French-speaking Swiss named Rodolphe Töpffer whose adventures of Mr. Vieux Bois was published in 1837, before being pirated across many o Talk about a thorough compendium of the comic book industry! As one of the resident geeks at work, I received a copy of this book for review purposes, and I have to say, at first I was drawn in and gripped, but later on the choice of entries began to baffle and bewilder me. The book traces comics to its very origins - the alleged first comic book ever was by a French-speaking Swiss named Rodolphe Töpffer whose adventures of Mr. Vieux Bois was published in 1837, before being pirated across many other countries. Early entries are dedicated to comics and comic strips published in the 1800s and early 1900s. The majority of these titles were unknown to me, though some remain iconic to this day, including Rube Goldberg inventions (1914), Felix the Cat by Otto Messmer (1923), Buck Rogers written by Philip Nowlan and art by Dick Calkins (1929), Popeye by Elzie Crisler Segar (1929), Blondie by Chic Young (1930), Dick Tracy by Chester Gould (1931) and Betty Boop (Bud Counihan, 1934). The golden age of comics feels like familiar territory, with several favourites in the list: Mandrake the Magician, Flash Gordon, The Phantom, Tintin, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk. Surprise entries during this period were Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., Nick Fury and Plastic Man - these were mega hits during their initial publishing runs, but bad luck saw them fall out of favour with the public - though Fury has now metamorphosed into something so much cooler. The segment of the book from the 70s onwards begins to drag a fair bit - this is because the choice of comics eluded me. There's a huge emphasis on adult comics with gratuitous violence, nudity, etc., the inclusion of which doesn't make sense to me. Even the contributors' essays seem a bit confused as to their addition to the book, as they are quick to point out the excessive nature of these comics. It makes one wonder why these were considered. After all, one has to ask themselves, would we REALLY be missing out on something integral were we to not read these particular comics? You could say that the contributors are, in a way, recommending that the readers of this book must go out and grab some x-rated books. You wouldn't find that kind of recommendation in a book about films or other art, so why the indelicate exception in comics? The Underground Comix scene allowed creators to delve into a number of questionable storylines - now while I'm all for artistic expression, the majority of the comics mentioned in this book are written from the male gaze, which feeds into the opinion that comics aren't welcoming to women or other non-conforming genders. It's problematic, and some of the essayists can't seem to see that their archaic views on why women don't read, or do read comics, don't stand because of the boys' club feel to most mainstream comics. This also leads to my complaint with the foreword for the book. Worst. Foreword. Ever. It brings to the fore everything wrong with comics, especially their misogyny and the exclusivity to straight, white, men. The humour by Terry Gilliam is tone deaf and not funny at all. Not all of us can work in comics, why can't you write about the good of the industry and the greatness of the people who support it? Editor Paul Gravett's introduction is better, more balanced and focused. However, having now finished the book, I feel a few disclaimers or perhaps a preface by a non-white, non-male writer could and should have pointed out some of the problems with many favourite classics. Some of the essayists do point out racial stereotypes in certain comics, yet the brevity of the essays doesn't allow them to study the pros and cons of the piece despite its inherent prejudice. A preface detailing the problematic evolution of comics as well as investigating how far it has come in progressive representation would have greatly benefited the reader. Especially given that, while racial prejudice is pointed out in essays, misogyny and poor representation of women in general is not. The book assumes that the de facto purchaser will be male - that's not okay. I read the book in one-go, which is not recommended. You begin to see patterns and it grates on you. For large segments, all you read about are memoirs, which all sound rather chilling. Then, you're stuck skimming through page after page of very NSFW stuff. It gets tedious and you begin to wonder what was in the air at the time that made everyone write on the same topic. The book does make an effort to include female creators, which is great, given that most people forget that women were part of the comics scene at all. The earliest entry, in fact, is of Marie Duval, the artist and co-creator of Ally Sloper. My biggest grouse against this book is that it doesn't provide as much detail as one would need to really get into the world of comics. As a casual reader, or as someone who has a passing knowledge of pop culture, names like Superman and Captain America are known to us - we know they're going to be mentioned in this book because they're iconic. However, these guys are almost 80 years old, that's a lot of comics none of us have any time or inclination to go through. It would have been better for the editor to have included a breakdown of recommended runs or issues - a nice teaser of what it is that makes these characters so enduring. While some of the best issues and series are mentioned for a number of heroes (The Adventures of Tintin and The Castafiore Emerald, All Star Superman, Superman of All Seasons, Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns), most others are not extended that courtesy. Wonder Woman debuted in 1941, but isn't mentioned after that (surprising, given people's high praise for Gail Simone's run on the comics a few years ago), nor is Captain America (a shock really, I would have thought Ed Brubaker's Winter Soldier/ Captain America Reborn runs would have been perfect shoo-ins). One mainstream series I could not believe made it onto the list was Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Strikes Again. Un-freaking-believable that it was in this book; that was the most nonsensical trollop I have ever come across. No one should read it. Ever. There are several notable omissions in the book, which puts an unsettling lens on the editor and contributors. For one, I can't understand why the book stops at 2011. Yes, it was first published in 2011, but reprinted in 2014. Reprinted? It should have been updated. Heck, I would be very surprised if the editors weren't scrabbling to get a new issue out this year itself, given some superb stuff that's been released in the past two years. Notable omissions: Tinkle - This series of comics was mostly educational, but also fun. They were practically prescribed reading for most school children in India, and should really have made it to this list. Amar Chitra Katha - Another Indian series, by the same creators of Tinkle. ACK focused on retelling epic stories and legends in readable and fun formats. They were excellent at introducing readers to world history. Again, I'm astounded that this didn't make it into the book. I'm happy that other Indian comics, which I wasn't too familiar with, were included, but these two were popular nationwide. Deadpool - This was a real shocker. Deadpool is iconic being he's over the top. The book is filled with other disgusting-sounding gratuitous novels, but this guy they decided not to include. How does that work? Not one Deadpool comic is in here. Commando Comics - My mum was astounded to hear this series wasn't in the book. A favourite of hers and all youngsters when she was growing up, this was a British war comic that was jam-packed with action and adventure. Sounds pretty influential to me. Dilbert - While discussing this book with the family, I belatedly realised that Dilbert was missing. How can Diblert be missing? It's Dilbert - every working person's alter ego making it through life three or four begrudging panels at a time. We're still reading this poor guy's travails and moping at how true it all is. Classics Illustrated - Another mainstay of the past, these were retellings of classic stories in enjoyable, colourful comic book formats. Ideal to coax any unwilling reader into become a lifetime fan of books. X-Men: Days of Future Past - How? Just how? It's feels a little like the editor and contributors were trying to 'stick it to the man' by not including mainstream comics that received acclaim. Instead, the essays are about erotic comics that literally no one wants to read or will ever care about. Days of Future Past, like any form of true art, is accessible while sending a message. It's a heart-rending tale of loss and want. It's wish-fulfillment to the max and an excellent comic that deserved to be in here. The 99 - Maybe not as widely known as most of the others I've mentioned, but considering I knew only a fraction of the comics mentioned in this book, I believe The 99 should have got a mention. Created by Naif Al-Mutawa in 2007, this is a superhero series based on the 99 names of Allah. It's not a religious comic (not overtly anyway), with characters from all around the world featured. It's got more diversity than Marvel's entire portfolio! Instead of including an Arabian tale written by an American dude, it would have been nice to have one rare entry from the Arab World. Gotham Central - Top 10 made it, why not GC? An utterly superb series, barring one dip, this one prodded at the realities of a cruel world gone crazy - because that's Gotham for you. Since we're all 'the little guys', it's nice to read a series about the average humans caught in the crossfire of bad guys like the Joker and his ilk. It's a detective series, but with more crazies. An absolute joy for any mystery fan, it definitely is one to be read by all. Astonishing X-Men #51 - The Astonishing X-Men are mentioned, but the legendary issue with Northstar's wedding is not. Look, it's not action-packed, but it's a realistic and kinda cute story, and at the time of publishing (2012) a very brave move by Marvel. They had the wedding plastered on the front cover with the who's who of Marvel's X-Men universe in attendance; that's got to count for a lot. All-New X-Men No. 40 - Iceman is outed as gay. It's 2016, and we don't have any LGBTQ superheroes headlining anything mainstream. So, for the writers to change Iceman's orientation to gay in their new reboot was something big. Icey was part of the first class of X-Men, he's a stalwart! That's an insane move, but a great one that we need more of. Why is that not in here? Notable character omissions: Black Panther, Luke Cage, Oracle, Nightwing, Gambit, Batwoman - Explain how these people aren't in here? How? Black characters headlining comics was unheard of when these guys debuted. But they did; and they endured. We've got them on screen finally and they're so awesome! But their importance and influence on black kids growing up without heroes wasn't enough to make it into this book? Talk about blinkered. Same can be said about Oracle - she was, for the longest time, the only recurring disabled character in superhero comics. How she got there was tragic and out of her hands (and, it would never happen to a male character), but the folks at DC ran with it and gave a lot of disabled kids a hero to look up to. So why would any of her comics be in here? Why wouldn't they, more like. Kate Kane, Batwoman, is part of the Bat-family and she's gay. That's a big freaking deal (especially given DC's inability to be diverse). Her series being omitted from this book makes little sense to me. Most people love it and her and the fact that she is out and proud. The reason I mention Nightwing and Gambit is because they are the only two male characters who were ever drawn in a slightly sexualised way. They are the ONLY ones. I think specifying a couple of issues where readers had the tables turned with some subversive drawings of these character would have been a welcome addition in a book that otherwise seemed to wallow in the perverse joys of some pretty offensive comics. I read mostly mainstream comics (as you can tell from above), but I'm sure there's a lot more that should still be in here. I'm pretty sure when the next edition comes out, they will, or rather MUST, include Ms Marvel (Kamala Khan is the best thing ever), Faith season 1 (season 2 was disappointing, but season 1 was pure, unfiltered joy) and Tom King's The Vision (melancholic, philosophical angst has never felt so real). I'd go as far as to say, they should include the first episode of Ta-Nehisi Coates' Black Panther (if not the entire series, as I'm a bit iffy on that) - the art is beautiful, and the Hamlet-esque T'Challa is very relatable. At the outset the editor informs us that all our favourites will not wind up in this book. Yet, it felt, more often than not, that other people's favourites had been shoe-horned in here. I just don't see how erotic comics can constitute essential reading (I mean, there's a few comics mentioned that were influenced by de Sade's work, and I'm pretty sure we can all die happily without knowing what goes on in those pages). And what irks me more is how far too many of these comics edged out some actually brilliant ones. I also feel like diversity was missing in this book. No African comics, barring one Egyptian and one South African, and only token pieces by other Asian countries. The Arab World, as mentioned, is virtually ignored, and Australia/New Zealand together got maybe one mention. Granted, western countries were more into comics than others, but I'm sure, if researched properly, more countries had influential comics that could have made it onto the list.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    Mmmmm...I dunno that I'd agree this compilation of abstracts is really a MUST READ BEFORE YOU DIE bucket list as much as it is a shopping list of things to read so you can talk to other people at parties who read these things. I've maybe read 20 of the titles listed? I was pleased to see my favorite (Yotsuba&!, Vol. 01) right after karen's beloved Fluffy and my interest was piqued over some titles I'd previously overlooked because they didn't sound interesting at the time, but as a READ THESE BE Mmmmm...I dunno that I'd agree this compilation of abstracts is really a MUST READ BEFORE YOU DIE bucket list as much as it is a shopping list of things to read so you can talk to other people at parties who read these things. I've maybe read 20 of the titles listed? I was pleased to see my favorite (Yotsuba&!, Vol. 01) right after karen's beloved Fluffy and my interest was piqued over some titles I'd previously overlooked because they didn't sound interesting at the time, but as a READ THESE BECAUSE THEY ARE THE BEST GRAPHIC NOVELS OF THE CENTURY...not so much. This is good reference material for those who are not familiar with comics, manga, graphic novels, and the like or for those who would like to understand what it is those kids with comics are reading.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Of course I'm glad this joins the "1001" series, and the chronological order is fun, and the international scope interesting... but but but. But what? I kept being bothered by the typeface of the titles (which are meant to look like they are filled with tiny lines but only look like their printer ribbon was low) -- which can't really be the problem, but may indicate the somewhat sloppy approach to editing this admittedly big beast. Perhaps this book is doomed to be unsatisfying -- not because we Of course I'm glad this joins the "1001" series, and the chronological order is fun, and the international scope interesting... but but but. But what? I kept being bothered by the typeface of the titles (which are meant to look like they are filled with tiny lines but only look like their printer ribbon was low) -- which can't really be the problem, but may indicate the somewhat sloppy approach to editing this admittedly big beast. Perhaps this book is doomed to be unsatisfying -- not because we'd all choose a different set of 1001, but because not every comic is shown (some are just described), and because the prose is uneven (as it is drawn from a host of reviewers). Still, a fun thing to flip through with a friend, seeing who remembers what and noticing the dominance of Belgians.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bryson Kopf

    As a librarian, I approached this book mainly as a collection development tool and in that mindset, this book is solid. The entries are encyclopedic, encompassing a selection of works from all over the world, and over a vast period of time reaching back into the 19th century! Each entry is well written containing alternative titles (titles in the original language), occasional read-a-likes, creator, publisher, and a blurb on basic plot and impact on the form. Now some of the weakness of the book As a librarian, I approached this book mainly as a collection development tool and in that mindset, this book is solid. The entries are encyclopedic, encompassing a selection of works from all over the world, and over a vast period of time reaching back into the 19th century! Each entry is well written containing alternative titles (titles in the original language), occasional read-a-likes, creator, publisher, and a blurb on basic plot and impact on the form. Now some of the weakness of the book (as selection tool)is the entries really do not go into detail on how certain titles are in print. To make things even more confusing, sometimes individual tales or short stories are cited rather than a standalone issue or book. Many times it is very hard to tell if a story is even printed in a book at all; many titles are newspaper strips, which can have very eclectic publishing history. This book can also be frustrating in its entries for long running series, particularly for the superhero titles that are cited, which little context to names of specific story arcs, collections or just general places to start. I'm also not crazy about organizing the book by publication date, as it makes it a little trickier to skim through the book to find interesting titles. Even though it had its flaws too, I liked how Gene Kannenberg, Jr's 500 Essential Graphic Novels sorted titles by genre, which at least helped with the flow and organization of the book. I know genre-fying titles is tricky and clumsy, but I still liked this better than the decision here. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend this volume to folks trying to get their head around the format. It is especially strong in its selection of international titles, and the sheer volume of content it covers is impressive. Just expect to do more leg work if you are using this as a selection tool.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tamahome

    I can't really claim to have 'read' all 960 pages, but it seems like a very good reference. I don't know how you can buy a lot of these older comics.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Nogales

    This book is *terrible*! It is making me want to read obscure comic books that I'm sure I'll never be able to find!! Help!!!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kenny

    Waiting for the new edition. Otherwise! It's a good starting point with lots of surprises and bon mots.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Clint

    I intermittently read this in chronological order over a 6 month timespan and loved the brief hooks it offered for titles covering a huge breadth of styles in its doorstopper width: mainstream US comics of all sorts, Japanese manga, Korean manhwa, Franco-Belgian bandes-dessines/“BD” (which I’d recognized as a distinctly European style before but didn’t know had a name/equally long parallel tradition to US comics), and tons of smaller indie comics from all over the world (though admittedly US-cen I intermittently read this in chronological order over a 6 month timespan and loved the brief hooks it offered for titles covering a huge breadth of styles in its doorstopper width: mainstream US comics of all sorts, Japanese manga, Korean manhwa, Franco-Belgian bandes-dessines/“BD” (which I’d recognized as a distinctly European style before but didn’t know had a name/equally long parallel tradition to US comics), and tons of smaller indie comics from all over the world (though admittedly US-centric). I’d guess single-book graphic novels account for a slight majority of the entries, but there’s also a ton of long-running series covered in each of the above categories. It begins as early as 1830 and stops at the 2011 publish date, with more extensive coverage closer to the current day. Everything pre-1930 is covered in a brief 50 page section and then it swaps to 20 year periods (1930-50, 50-70, 70-90) that each get slightly more pages than the previous one, before giving the 90s and 00s each as many pages as the previous two decade periods. With such a wide scope, it’s likely to frustrate anyone more narrowly interested in just one of the above categories, but I loved that the 10s of contributing writers weren’t limited to any strict POV and introduced me to a ton of interesting sounding comics I want to read, in addition to the satisfying feeling of seeing a lot of comics I already knew I loved or wanted to read. My only real complaint was I wish each entry offered at least one small image (its a visual medium after all!) instead of maybe 1/3 of them getting much larger images, but I imagine logistical/licensing difficulties prevented that more than intent did.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Susan Morton

    From the 1940s to today, there is certainly something to appeal to all ages in this book. I recommend it to grandparents and kids alike.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Al Capwned

    The dominance of some creators and countries are obvious but still, it's a good guide but not the ultimate guide to comic books.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Am Y

    This is more a compendium of famous or ground-breaking comics through the ages, than it is a "must-read" list. I thought only English-language comics would be showcased, but there are foreign language comics from Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Czech Republic, former Yugoslavia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, Australia and several African countries as well... but absolutely nothing from China. This is This is more a compendium of famous or ground-breaking comics through the ages, than it is a "must-read" list. I thought only English-language comics would be showcased, but there are foreign language comics from Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Czech Republic, former Yugoslavia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, Australia and several African countries as well... but absolutely nothing from China. This is particularly mind-boggling as even comics from some very obscure and less culturally/historically-rich countries are featured. It is disappointing and puzzling that "Old Master Q" (老夫子 [Lao Fu Zi]) by Alfonso Wong (王家禧) did not even warrant a mention. This is possibly the most famous (and humorous) Chinese comic ever (as any Chinese person above the age of 30 can tell you), and most of the time, it does not even require a knowledge of the Chinese language to read it, as most panels are wordless. Instead, we get multiple entries (for different issues) of stuff like "Batman", "Asterix", "Tintin", "Spiderman" and so on.

  15. 4 out of 5

    George Marshall

    Comic compilations tend to be rather sectarian - either disregarding the experimental and introspective end, or completely ignoring the superhero mainstream (sometimes with an apology that comics are much more than just men in tights). But this book gets it just right- it recognises all genres as contributing to the overall art form and pulls out the exceptional examples across the field. It also has an appropriately global perspective with entries from all cultures- though I fear that many of t Comic compilations tend to be rather sectarian - either disregarding the experimental and introspective end, or completely ignoring the superhero mainstream (sometimes with an apology that comics are much more than just men in tights). But this book gets it just right- it recognises all genres as contributing to the overall art form and pulls out the exceptional examples across the field. It also has an appropriately global perspective with entries from all cultures- though I fear that many of them will be impossible to obtain in translation. My only gripe is that the illustrations are almost all of covers- the least informative part of any comic- when there was no reason why there could not have been pages or panels. Comics are not like other books- you really can't tell any comic by its cover. So an excellent guide to comics- it's intelligent and well written,

  16. 5 out of 5

    Harris

    While I did not get to study this book as long as I would have wished, I would have to say that this was among my favorite of the 1001 blah blah blah series so far. As I flipped through it, I noted a variety of interesting titles I had not heard of, some favorites, as well as a few I might find a bit questionable (which is, I feel, part of the appeal of the series). I mean, the Wizard of Id and Hagar the Horrible, but no Far Side? What gives? This being said, I was impressed by the extensive gen While I did not get to study this book as long as I would have wished, I would have to say that this was among my favorite of the 1001 blah blah blah series so far. As I flipped through it, I noted a variety of interesting titles I had not heard of, some favorites, as well as a few I might find a bit questionable (which is, I feel, part of the appeal of the series). I mean, the Wizard of Id and Hagar the Horrible, but no Far Side? What gives? This being said, I was impressed by the extensive genres of comics represented, from the mid 1800s all the way to 2011 and from every continent (save Antarctica, of course).

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chris Tinniswood

    This is no mere 'favourite comics I've read' book. This is both an all-encompassing history of the medium and a knowledgable tome to refer to when you're looking for a new challenge. Full of interesting anecdotes about the artists and writers, and also the countries they have hailed from and their attitude to this much-maligned medium that is only now, after over 100 years of existence, (if you discount cave paintings and the bayeux tapestry!) coming into its own. Well worth a read for enthusiasts This is no mere 'favourite comics I've read' book. This is both an all-encompassing history of the medium and a knowledgable tome to refer to when you're looking for a new challenge. Full of interesting anecdotes about the artists and writers, and also the countries they have hailed from and their attitude to this much-maligned medium that is only now, after over 100 years of existence, (if you discount cave paintings and the bayeux tapestry!) coming into its own. Well worth a read for enthusiasts, and a must-read for those new to this literary artform.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    Massive book detailing, yes, 1001 comic books starting with Rudolph Töpffer's The Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck and going right up to Craig Thompson's Habibi, published in 2011. Running in chronological order (but with useful indexes at front and back), the book gives on average a page to each title. Well-researched, extensive and clearly affectionate - this thing is a joy. Massive book detailing, yes, 1001 comic books starting with Rudolph Töpffer's The Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck and going right up to Craig Thompson's Habibi, published in 2011. Running in chronological order (but with useful indexes at front and back), the book gives on average a page to each title. Well-researched, extensive and clearly affectionate - this thing is a joy.

  19. 4 out of 5

    J. Christopher

    Personally, I enjoyed looking through this for ideas on what to read. It is probably different from my top 1000 but that is to be expected. Btw, Alan Moore did do some great comics as did several non-american/indie creators. I enjoy mainstream comic but maybe 1/10 is really well written and drawn. It is what the title says. If you want yo find comics/ graphic novels you may not have heard of from the last 50+ years check it out at your local library.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    I'm surprised by how many I had read, and the wealth of unknown ones is helpful too. Would have hoped for a bit more visuals, but then it probably would have spread over two volumes. Lots of omissions to quibble about (no George Metzger? no P. Craig Russell?) but that's what it's all about I'm sure.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Being new to readings in the comic/graphic novel genre I was happy to see such a comprehensive guide. My initial exploration of the book has already given me many months worth of reading! This is clearly a book that one must buy since it will be a great reference as I read my way through the pantheon of comic creations.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ty Keith

    This was an entertaining and enlightening read. My only problem was that the books that intrigued me, but I had not read were generally now not of print. Any sellers of these books on eBay also thought highly enough of these books that they priced in the 100 dollar neighborhood. No, digital does not seem to be a viable option for acquiring these books either.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tommaso Querini

    1001 is really too much and the fact that half of the comics don't have an image that describes them makes this book a poor reading. But it's good to take note of the comics you should read. I took pictures of all the pages I was interested in and I will slowly read through all the titles.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This was an interesting list (with images) of comics and some graphic novels organized chronologically. It is more of a reference work than a read per se, but it helped me generate a list of materials I want to read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Subu

    Must read if you love comics...at the same time you cannot read it in one go...start becoming a bit dry...better used as reference...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Briana

    Great book! So much fun to look back and almost count all the books you have actually read. Perfect for total nerds and bookworms like me.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lucas

    An excellent reference to some well known graphic novels and also some obscure ones.

  28. 5 out of 5

    to'c

    Any guide that contains the Katzenjammmer Kids and Watchmen knows what it's about.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Regina Hunter

    That will be one weird to-read list.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Keyshia Dorsey

    i thought there'd be more comic and less guidelines lol

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