For more than a century the comic book has been one of our most familiar, yet least appreciated popular art forms. As vehemently criticized as it is passionately defended, it has evolved from humble beginnings into a graphically sophisticated and culturally revealing medium.
At a time when vintage comics are fetching huge prices at auction, this book traces the history of the medium from comic papers for kids, through the underground ""comix"" movements of the 1960s and '70s, to the glossy book-format ""graphic novels"" of today.
Organized thematically, it investigates comic art's varied genres - including humour, adventure, underground and alternative - and charts the rise, fall and rise of the medium. In so doing, Roger Sabin highlights the careers of the creators behind some of the best-known characters in modern fiction - from Superman to Sid the Sexist, Tintin to Tank Girl.
He examines not only the stars and ""first wave"" of comic art but also the names who are currently providing comics with a new lease of life, taking such familiar material as the manic clowning of Leo Baxendate (""The Beano""), the observational adventure of Frank Hampson (""Eagle""), the bombastic power-plays of Jack Kirby (""The Incredible Hulk"") and the underground scatology of Robert Crumb (""Zap""), as well as less well-known themes and names: the surreal 1950s retro of Dan Cloves (""Eightball""), the gothic superheroics of Todd McFarlane (""Spawn""), the inspired lunacy of Chris Donald.