Comic Book Comics #3 Written by Fred Van Lente, Art By Ryan Dunlavey
I love these guys. From the guys that brought you Action Philosophers (which at one point attempted the impossible, tried to make French post-modernist philosophy make sense) comes a series that tells the history of comics using comics! Okay, it sounds obvious but as far as I know no one else has thought of it. In this issue they tackle three great evils that assailed American comics in the post war decades, the comics-cause-juvenile-delinquency/racism/ fascism/illiteracy/homosexuality witch hunt inspired by Dr.Wertham, the demeaning exploitation of comics art by pop artists like Roy Liechtenstein as kitsch and comics fandom… comics fandom? Okay, as a comics elitist myself I look down on fannish types as much as the next comics nerd who was raised on the Comics Journal but even I acknowledge the part comics fandom had in preserving and promoting comics when not even the comics creators cared (I suspect that comics fandom was included in this issue somewhat tongue in cheek.) Did you know that legendary underground cartoonist Robert Crumb got his start in the fan press? That’s in here. This is stuff everyone who gives a damn about the comics art form should know about, Van Lente & Dunlavey strike an excellent balance between recounting the facts while entertaining the reader. Comic Book Comics #3 is not approved by the Comics Code Authority, but it is by me.*
Okay, that was a little cornball…
*Does the Comics Code Authority even exist anymore?
Colin (I’m so glad they didn’t go with their earlier plan to do a series on the US Presidents) Upton