Feiffer, Jules. The Great Comic Book Heroes. 2nd ed. Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2003.
Added by: joachim (5/15/10, 1:42 AM)
|Resource type: Book
Language: en: English
ID no. (ISBN etc.): 1-56097-501-6
BibTeX citation key: Feiffer1965
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Keywords: Historical account, Superhero
Publisher: Fantagraphics (Seattle)
In 1965, Feiffer wrote what is arguably the first critical history of the comic book superheroes of the late 1930s and early 1940s, including Plastic Man, Batman, Superman, The Spirit and others. In the book, Feiffer writes about the unique place of comics in the space between high and low art and the power that this space offers both the creator and the reader. Out of print for over 30 years, The Great Comic Book Heroesis widely acknowledged to be the first book to analyze the juvenile medium of superhero comics in a critical manner, but without denying the iconic hold such works have over readers of all ages. Feiffer discusses the role that the patriotic superhero played during World War II in shaping the public spirit of civilians and soldiers, as well as the escapist power these stories held over the zeitgeist of America.
[Dust jacket text of the 1st ed.: “Here is the definitive book on the age of capes and masks—that time in the late thirties and early forties when American fantasy found its most popular expression in the graphic art of the comic book. Jules Feiffer, the brilliant satiric cartoonist who set the style for so much of the humor of the fifties and sixties, herein analyzes the origins and developments of this peculiarly indigenous art form. With wit and insight he discusses what The Great Comic Book Heroes meant to him as a child and later as an artist; in so doing he reveals a great deal about himself and all of us who haunted newsstands or drugstores, anxiously awaiting the next installment of our favorite hero’s adventures. Along with his trenchant and wryly written critique are 128 pages of accurate color reproductions of the most famous heroes of all. These carefully selected episodes are taken from comic books that have now become collector’s items and are cherished by the cognoscenti of the contemporary art world. Included are the origins and early exploits of Superman and Batman, the very first Green Lanternstory; as well as classic exploits of The Spirit, The Spectre, Sub-Mariner, Captain Marvel, Captain America, The Flash, Plastic Man, The Human Torch, Hawkman, and Wonder Woman—names to conjure with, performing feats fantastical, which even in this day of moon shots and space probes take one’s breath away in admiration. The heyday of the capes and masks returns as Jules Feiffer investigates among other things, “the chaste and schizoid menage a trois between Lois Lane, Clark Kent and Superman,” the half-truth behind the relationship of Batman and Robin, and the failure of “Shazam!” as a word that really changed anything.”]
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