The Power of Comics: Review!

26 Dec

Today I finally finished reading one of the very few and scarce comic book textbooks out there.  I have been slowly working my way chapter by chapter to finish it since the summer.

First off, the book functions as an overview to the comic book medium.  Therefore, it is a very easy read for anyone who is remotely interested about comics – where they came from, how they work, or who reads them.  About half of the book is dedicated to the history of comics while the other is meant to highlight some of the techniques employed by comics and also the common themes and genres.  It’s split apart with chapters typically ranging from 20 to 30 pages each which can be a little cumbersome, but each chapter provides plenty of breaks between topics.

Frankly, the book is reader friendly.  Not too much time is spent on each topic and it reads fluidly.  Unfortunately, there were some things that I wished they had spent more time on like the representation of women and race.  Each of these topics – which I find to be very important – were given roughly two pages each, and the authors shrugged off the problem by stating something along the lines of “well, women or people of color would be better represented if women or people of color made comics.”  This is a very daunting statement because it does not take into account that women or people of color or any other out group may not want to participate in a medium that demeans their culture.  Therefore, the people who currently make comics now must better represent those out groups so that they may feel safe enough to enter into the field.  In that regard, the book does struggle to critically investigate some of the inner workings of representation and the comic book industry.

Nevertheless, the book is an overview that does provide a fair amount of detail.  Naturally, I’m inclined to criticize the authors on things because I’m specifically looking for issues of representation or other specific points so I’m not really a casual observer.  For the casual observer and someone who wishes to know the movements within comics the book works really well.

Overall, it was a very satisfying read and – if you were given a peek – it is filled with multiple shades of highlights.

Check out the site for the book: here.

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