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Reading Comics

Douglas Wolk

Reviewed by Lorenzo Princi
Reading Comics by Douglas Wolk
Cover Concept by Lorenzo Princi, 3 January 2012

Wolk is a comic book fanatic, avid reader and collector. What makes this book suprising and refreshing as well as a huge relief was that this is a critical book. This isn't a fan boy 'comics are cool' rant but a concise and relevant celebration of the comic medium (not genre, as Wolk explains).

The first part of the book explains the comic book style, culture and history from an American perspective, not because Wolk believes there are no other cultures producing important comics but because they aren't in scope from this book. The first half of this book breezes through in a flash, absorbing the words oozing off the page. Wolk hits hard, fast and heavy with good examples from the the comics he mentions.

The second part of the book is traversed a little differently, with an almost chronological biography detailing the approach and works of the big names in American comics. His who's who of comics runs a little slower that the first part of the book but still very interesting.

Highly enjoyable, illuminating for the uninitiated and very apt. It is a sign of the times that a critical essay on comics can be published at all. I'd recommend it to enthusiasts, dabblers (like myself) or perhaps even the doubters.

Tags: Comics