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Give Our Regards to the Atomsmashers!: Writers on Comics

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In Give Our Regards to the Atom-smashers!, some of our most intriguing and creative contemporary writers weigh in on the world of comics: the ones they love versus the ones they hate, the comics they devoured as kids and still can't live without, and the comics that have influenced them in their work and their lives. Here is Jonathan Lethem on childhood friendships, comic In Give Our Regards to the Atom-smashers!, some of our most intriguing and creative contemporary writers weigh in on the world of comics: the ones they love versus the ones they hate, the comics they devoured as kids and still can't live without, and the comics that have influenced them in their work and their lives. Here is Jonathan Lethem on childhood friendships, comic books, and the genius of artist Jack Kirby . . . Brad Meltzer on spending a summer vacation with the New Teen Titans. . . Glen David Gold on the obsessive nature of collecting . . . Myla Goldberg writing about the disturbed visions of Chris Ware and Renée French . . . Steve Erickson riffing on the perverse patriotism of American Flagg. Here, too, are Luc Sante on Tintin, Aimee Bender on Yummy Fur, Greil Marcus on Uncle Sam, Lydia Millet on Little Nemo in Slumberland, and many others. Give Our Regards to the Atomsmashers! is a quirky, thrilling, and compulsively readable celebration of the unique alchemy of words and drawings that forms the language of comic books. It is a book that will delight the seasoned comics reader and invite everyone else into a whole new world.


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In Give Our Regards to the Atom-smashers!, some of our most intriguing and creative contemporary writers weigh in on the world of comics: the ones they love versus the ones they hate, the comics they devoured as kids and still can't live without, and the comics that have influenced them in their work and their lives. Here is Jonathan Lethem on childhood friendships, comic In Give Our Regards to the Atom-smashers!, some of our most intriguing and creative contemporary writers weigh in on the world of comics: the ones they love versus the ones they hate, the comics they devoured as kids and still can't live without, and the comics that have influenced them in their work and their lives. Here is Jonathan Lethem on childhood friendships, comic books, and the genius of artist Jack Kirby . . . Brad Meltzer on spending a summer vacation with the New Teen Titans. . . Glen David Gold on the obsessive nature of collecting . . . Myla Goldberg writing about the disturbed visions of Chris Ware and Renée French . . . Steve Erickson riffing on the perverse patriotism of American Flagg. Here, too, are Luc Sante on Tintin, Aimee Bender on Yummy Fur, Greil Marcus on Uncle Sam, Lydia Millet on Little Nemo in Slumberland, and many others. Give Our Regards to the Atomsmashers! is a quirky, thrilling, and compulsively readable celebration of the unique alchemy of words and drawings that forms the language of comic books. It is a book that will delight the seasoned comics reader and invite everyone else into a whole new world.

30 review for Give Our Regards to the Atomsmashers!: Writers on Comics

  1. 5 out of 5

    John

    An collection and ode to the sentimentality and nostalgia of comics. The purpose of this book reminds of one of my favorite lines from Flex Mentallo; “I just wanted to talk about the comics, see? All those shitty, amazing comics…” The problem is....this list feels like a bunch of shitty and unknown writers (other than Lethem and a few others). This book takes a variety of angles why and which comics were imporant and formative. They helped us learn to read, you learned larger words and you read s An collection and ode to the sentimentality and nostalgia of comics. The purpose of this book reminds of one of my favorite lines from Flex Mentallo; “I just wanted to talk about the comics, see? All those shitty, amazing comics…” The problem is....this list feels like a bunch of shitty and unknown writers (other than Lethem and a few others). This book takes a variety of angles why and which comics were imporant and formative. They helped us learn to read, you learned larger words and you read some weirder ideas than most pop culture was on the wave length of--and learned to keep it underwraps... Or where you there in 1986 when comics "grew up" and gained some acceptance. Did you dig the indie scene? The hipster comics that let a counter-culture thrive. Where risks could be taken because it was "trash" culture? Did you develop a private ritual and meditate on why you spent too much time thinking about them? The best part of this work generally isn't the essays--but how I reflected on them, and how comics played a lesson in my early adult maturation. It played a role into my ideas of identity, culture, obsession, politics religion, sex etc. ALL THE THINGS YOU WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO TALK ABOUT IN POLITE PUBLIC. Instead, it was through bonding with works and an alleged fanbase I always didn't intimaltey know but felt an infinitiy with--the outsiders--who say "NERD" culture become the mainstream, or sadly become appropriated. Just sitting here, and I think about all the essays I wanted to write about comics--comparing each writer's "ultimate take" on the superhero concept. Or the best run on a character. About how I much preferred deconstruction and weirdness in superheroes than a regular straightforward story. I thought about the Multiverses, cosmology and alternate timelines trying to write a Grand Unified Theory or about the prismatic age. About creator-owned rights and if I was ever "brave" enough to totally boycott Big Two Comics. I loved playing coyly with the idea that the Fantastic Four wa the great American novel (similar to Tom McCarthy's Tintin and the Secret of Literature). Or looking at the grand corporate narrative--not as something to sell more toys, but as a sort of modern mythology. In some ways, superhero comics were the "hymns of my life" I came to comics late, so I often found the best stuff in the past...often feelings like I had missed the party (although just barely--my favorite stuff was the Wildstorm Universe and NuMarvel). Yet, listen to people like Joe Casey, it felt like he was pushing CDs to me--the weird stuff. The indie stuff that most people overlooked. Grant Morrison and Alan Moore were like my eras Ken Kesey. AS Geoff Dyer points out-- John Fowles talkes about film being his medium that infiltrated for imagination. For us--it was comics. Crisis of Infinite Earth was my Glorification of St. Ignatius. American Flagg was me cheat codes to reading Raymond Chandler and Philip K. Dick. It was a subversive comic that was hard to read--but started to explore the potential of the medium. On the other hand--Love and Rockets, Yummy Fur and Jim Woodring's Frank were deeply personal works. There were comics that had art tha couldn't be found in film or cartoons; i.e. Steranko, Starlin,

  2. 5 out of 5

    jonathan berger

    I kept this on my bedside table and read it in stints. A mixed bag, but worthwhile if you have any sort of sentimental love for comic books.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Scott Lewis

    Fun book that also gives an introduction to some very talented writers. Short stories/essays on comic and graphic novel memories and critiques. At times the stories are like short biographies. An enjoyable read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Daryl

    A collection of essays by "writers" about comics, their experience with them, their take on them, and generally why they enjoy comics (or some comics, at least). I loved some of these essays, while others didn't do much for me, so sadly, the book as a whole gets a medium rating. Jonathan Lethem's essay on Jack Kirby's art was enjoyable. I didn't appreciate Kirby much as a kid, though I've since realized not only how much he contributed to the field, but how well he was able to do so. The man was A collection of essays by "writers" about comics, their experience with them, their take on them, and generally why they enjoy comics (or some comics, at least). I loved some of these essays, while others didn't do much for me, so sadly, the book as a whole gets a medium rating. Jonathan Lethem's essay on Jack Kirby's art was enjoyable. I didn't appreciate Kirby much as a kid, though I've since realized not only how much he contributed to the field, but how well he was able to do so. The man was pretty much a genius. Andrew Hultkrans essay on Steve Ditko (these two bookend the collection) was equally enlightening. Interesting to learn a few things about Ditko's personal life, as well as his comic art contributions (Spider-man and Dr. Strange). Some of the essays focusing on comics/art I don't know much about basically left me cold (Tintin, Yummy Fur, and Jim Woodring come to mind), although others left me more interesting in their subject (Gary Giddins' essay on Classics Illustrated and Chris Offutt's take on the obscure super-hero character NoMan, for example). In much of the book I found things I could relate to: Lethem's friendship with other comic fans as a kid; Glen David Gold's focus on collecting and the "search"; Brad Meltzer's relationship with the characters on the printed page. The oddest chapter of the book -- and one that didn't fit -- was Tom Piazza's story of encountering Bizarro and Mr. Mxyzptlk (Superman characters, for those who don't know) at a comic convention-type event. This piece was fiction, and contained a bit more graphic language (usually something that wouldn't bother me, but I found it rather jarring within this context), an odd choice to include. Overall, I quite enjoyed reading through this collection, and recommend it to any serious fan or student of comic books.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dominick

    Essays (and one mediocre short story) on the way comics have impacted on the lives of the writers, most of whom are unfamiliar to me, which I suppose is telling. Not that knowing their work matters much, I guess, except insofar as with such familiarity I might be better able to judge what they have to say in some sort of context. The range is actually surprising, with many essays (unsurprisingly) on mainstream Marvel and DC stuff, but several addressing alternate stuff (though, surprisingly, nob Essays (and one mediocre short story) on the way comics have impacted on the lives of the writers, most of whom are unfamiliar to me, which I suppose is telling. Not that knowing their work matters much, I guess, except insofar as with such familiarity I might be better able to judge what they have to say in some sort of context. The range is actually surprising, with many essays (unsurprisingly) on mainstream Marvel and DC stuff, but several addressing alternate stuff (though, surprisingly, nobody touches the undergrounds except in passing). Anyway, some of the essays are very good, such as Jonathan Lethem's piece on Kirby, or the essay on Classics Illustrated. However, more than a few (notably those on Chester Brown and Howard Chaykin) are underdeveloped and superficial, and at least one (Greil Marcus's on a forgettable DC miniseries about their Uncle Sam character) is pretty much pointless. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that the vast majority of them begin with some sort of variation on how comics were important to the writer's childhood, but I was a bit depressed by that sameness. Several of the essays also seem to carry at least a whiff of embarrassment about them, as if, even though these writers are acknowledging the importance of comics to their lives, they still find something vaguely unseemly or at least juvenile about doing so. Of mild interest to comics enthusiasts and/or to fans of the writers included.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    I loved the idea of this book - a collection of personal essays by authors about the role that comic books have played in their personal and professional development. The main roadblock I had with this book is that I wasn't familiar with a lot of the authors, so their anecdotes lack any strong connection for me. I love hearing people talk about why they love the works of art they do, though, so it was very interesting on that level. It also made me nostalgic for 70s cosmic superheroes - I want to I loved the idea of this book - a collection of personal essays by authors about the role that comic books have played in their personal and professional development. The main roadblock I had with this book is that I wasn't familiar with a lot of the authors, so their anecdotes lack any strong connection for me. I love hearing people talk about why they love the works of art they do, though, so it was very interesting on that level. It also made me nostalgic for 70s cosmic superheroes - I want to go read some of Starlin's Warlock and Kirby's New Gods.

  7. 4 out of 5

    David Allen

    There's some slumming, and some overreaching, but most of these essays convey the writers' obsession with the comics in question, which is leavened with self-mockery before they plunge back in. Marvel gets more ink than DC, but a few oddball choices sneak in, and it's refreshing to read real writing about comics. There's some slumming, and some overreaching, but most of these essays convey the writers' obsession with the comics in question, which is leavened with self-mockery before they plunge back in. Marvel gets more ink than DC, but a few oddball choices sneak in, and it's refreshing to read real writing about comics.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Scott Gillespie

    A collection of often insightful and humorous short essays by contemporary "legitimate" published writers reflecting fondly on comic books past and present. Some of them are a bit pretentious but most are fun. Recommended to my fellow comic geeks. A collection of often insightful and humorous short essays by contemporary "legitimate" published writers reflecting fondly on comic books past and present. Some of them are a bit pretentious but most are fun. Recommended to my fellow comic geeks.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mike Aragona

    I'm sorry to say, I'm sad to report... I really didn't enjoy this anywhere as much as I had hoped (and thought) I would. Sure, a couple of the reflections and recollections were interesting. But in the majority... no. :( I'm sorry to say, I'm sad to report... I really didn't enjoy this anywhere as much as I had hoped (and thought) I would. Sure, a couple of the reflections and recollections were interesting. But in the majority... no. :(

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jon Holt

    Uneven. Nice range of comics discussed, but what you're getting here are voices -- people hanging around the comic shop or coffee shop regaling you with their favorite issue of comic X. For me, the essay on collector mania and the one about Thunder agents stand out. Uneven. Nice range of comics discussed, but what you're getting here are voices -- people hanging around the comic shop or coffee shop regaling you with their favorite issue of comic X. For me, the essay on collector mania and the one about Thunder agents stand out.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Melinda

    Purchased for only 1 buck at the Elgin Fortress of Literacy.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Leonard Pierce

    A collection of deep reads on comics and comics writers, this is too inconsistent to be e a great book, but it's definitely a good one with some great stuff in it. A collection of deep reads on comics and comics writers, this is too inconsistent to be e a great book, but it's definitely a good one with some great stuff in it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

  14. 5 out of 5

    Axel Matfin

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alan Quirke

  16. 5 out of 5

    Reggiem

  17. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dara Naraghi

  19. 4 out of 5

    John Michlig

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jason Mock

  21. 5 out of 5

    Grant

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jon Gorga

  23. 4 out of 5

    Frank Byrns

  24. 5 out of 5

    Marla Smith

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mikhael Zeph

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

  30. 4 out of 5

    Troy Sweet

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