Tuesday, April 12, 2011

E-Book of the Week: Demanding Respect

Lopes, Paul. Demanding Respect: The Evolution of the American Comic Book. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2009.

You might think an erudite text about comic book history is a bit oxymoronic. But you may be wrong. It’s not as if Paul Lopes uses a graphic presentation to tell this story.

The first age is referred to as the “industrial age,” later ages as “heroic,” from the 1930's till 2008. That was then and this is now. Today we live in an era of graphic novels, graphic education and still graphic entertainment, with great appeal to an ever widening audience. I recommend this E-book for anyone wishing to connect the dots between Marvel and DC comics, the works of Harvey Pekar, Robert Crumb (“American Splendor”) and Art Spiegelman. Just imagine movies today without all the metaphoric action heroes including: Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Cat Woman, Iron Man, Swamp Thing and the Incredible Hulk. Mainly but not exclusively male.

I then recommend going beyond American graphic novels to such artworks as “Maus,” “Persepolis” and “Stuck Rubber Baby.” The concluding chapter, “The Development of an Art Form” is particularly fascinating. The graphic publishing field is evolving at lightning speed now, quickly suggesting an update is in order, even with a historical treatment. And what about the graphic material now on the Web? So don't get me started.

Previewed by Philip Fryer, Digital Media Librarian. Click here to read this book.

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