Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Comics through Time: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Comics through Time: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas

Article excerpt

Comics Through Time: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas. Edited by M. Keith Booker. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2015. 4 vols. Acid free $415 (ISBN: 978-0-313-39750-9). Ebook available (978-0-313-39751-6), call for pricing.

Comics Through Time: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas is an ambitious, four-volume title that "seeks to capture some of the richness" of comics history and "provide information on this history for a wide range of users, from casual fans of comics to professional scholars of the form" (xxiii). Each of the four volumes covers a specific time period, beginning in the 1900s with comic strips and continuing to the present. Just as the volumes cover a broad expanse of time, they also deal with a diverse array of subjects, including comic strips, comic books, comics creators both well-known and obscure (often accompanied by large photographs), comics publishers, and genres such as science fiction and horror. Articles on topics such as the Cold War and religion provide insight into how comics depicted the societal landscape of the time. Comics through Time even provides information on the more obscure aspects of comics history such as Tijuana Bibles, which depicted well-known comics characters in bawdy stories.

Each volume has an extensive and incisive introduction and chronology covering the landscape of comics during the period covered by that volume. While the individual entries provide information on specific topics, the introductions give the reader a broader picture of the ups and downs of the comics industry as well as how comics influenced (and were influenced by) the broader culture. …

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