Best Books On Comics
I’ve always been a secret comic book lover, but I find many titles a struggle now because I feel like I’ve read the stories before. Too many are over-worthy or in trying to be ‘edgy’ actually lack a genuinely original edge, so anything that can guide me through the choice is good. The UK is squeamish about reading comics, yet produces a huge amount of work for the US, where it seems nearly all of the comics are written by British authors. I’ve worked for DC Comics and every now and again they ask me for idea, but it’s difficult finding what might appeal.
Cinemas are saturated with comic book adaptations, a few good, many now increasingly repetitive and obscure. Watching the Superman VS Batman trailer filled me with boredom, but I’m not the target audience. And there’s a world of comics out there. Here are three good guides to choosing comics from the past and present, from the UK and around the globe…
1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die is a brilliant primer to the classic benchmark-raising volumes that changed the graphic novels game from something for kiddies to thoughtful and powerful adult pieces from Maus to Mobius to Moore. There are a lot of titles in it I’ve not heard of, but which look genuinely fascinating.
True Brit reveals why British writers are so popular in this field, with examples of mature art and muscular writing. And A Very Funny Business is a nostalgia-fest with classic funnies from Leo Baxendale, Ken Reid and others. Reid remains my favourite artist from childhood, and I wish someone would gather together all of his artwork in a book.
With the dominance of Marvel and DC in the cinematic version field, it’s a shame that more of these other innovative graphic novels and strips haven’t been considered from a lateral point of view and reinvented for new audiences in film versions.