Magazine article Eye : The International Review of Graphic Design

Comic Sans the Grown-Ups

Magazine article Eye : The International Review of Graphic Design

Comic Sans the Grown-Ups

Article excerpt

Comic sans the grown-ups The Toon Treasury of Classic Children's Comics By Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly Abrams Comic Arts, £24.99 / $40

Reviewed by Steven Heller

There are two names responsible for bringing comics 'out of the trash and into a treasury'. One is Bill Blackbeard, the author of The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics and founder of the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art. The other is Art Spiegelman, coiner of the above quote, founder with Françoise Mouly of Raw Books and Graphics, and author of Maus: A Survivor's Tale. The former should not be forgotten and the latter needs little introduction.

Yet some casual comics readers may not know that Spiegelman and Mouly have been in the vanguard of the comics-for-kids movement (and maybe you didn't even know that there is such a movement). Together they operate the imprint Raw Junior, which publishes the Little Lit anthologies of contemporary and vintage cartoons, and Toon Books, a series of original comic stories by Jeff Smith, Geoffrey Hayes, Jay Lynch, Eleanor Davis, and Spiegelman, among others. To round out their niche art market the duo has recently published The Toon Treasury of Classic Children's Comics, a rich collection of yellowing newsprint pages from the most well known and lesser known artists and their respective stories in the comic book universe.

Anyone who grew up reading Dell Comics (which guaranteed that 'the comic magazine bearing [the Dell trademark] contains only clean and wholesome entertainment') or the DC Comics' line, including Fox and Crow and Sugar and Spike (each approved by the censorious Comics Code Authority), will have soothing pangs of nostalgia.

But the most enjoyable revelations, I'm sure, will come when you stumble on the freakish Foolish Faces by Basil Wolverton and pre- Spongebob Flip and Flopper by Don Arr from the chapter devoted to 'Weird and Wacky'. …

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