There are a few rules you should live by: Never get less than 12 hours sleep, never play cards with a guy who’s got the same first name as a city, and never go near a lady who’s got a tattoo of a dagger on her body.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot: Punch Nazis.
Take That, Adolf!: The Fighting Comic Books Of The Second World War (Fantagraphics)
The book – Take That Adolf – is two things: First, it’s a history book about the origin of comic books and how there were plenty of people fighting and punching Nazis long before America got involved in World War II in four color panels. Second, it’s a collection of some of the cover art of those old books that ranges from the iconic:
To the terrible:
The majority of the book is image after image of comic book cover art, from many a company I’d never heard of and quite a few characters that I don’t think are getting the reboot treatment anytime soon.
There’s also a quick glossary and biography of some of the most prolific artists of the time period, which is a nice touch. Overall though, while this book over delivers on the graphical reproductions, it really doesn’t have enough in the way of the history. If you’re looking for a great read on the rise and fall of the Golden and Silver Ages of comics, there’s a great deal better resources available. One that I read recently, The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America, is a much deeper dive into a very complex business. It’s lacking the artwork though, something I consider an integral piece of seeing where comics came from.
Flipping through the covers, I was amazed at just how bad some of the pages are. Terrible perspective and horrible design show just how quickly these books were rushed out the door to the hands of eager G.I.s and kids.
So, while this book can stand alone, I suggest you treat it as a visual addendum to a more in depth non fiction work. It’s a fascinating subject, though I imagine I’m a bit biased, that could be expanded dramatically in coverage.