Who knew that the finest book about American comic books would be written by a French American Studies scholar? C'est vrai! Gabilliet tells the history of the American industry and explores the means by which comics are produced and distributed. For anyone seriously interested in comics as a medium, this book is a must have.
In response to the complaint that the book is not illustrated, that is not what this particular book is designed to be. Of Comics and Men is exactly what the subtitle calls it, a cultural history of American comic books. As such, it is fantastic. Every important point from the beginnings of the industry to the end of the twentieth century is touched upon, as well as examinations of the cultures of the creators and consumers of comic books.
To be fair, this is a work of academic or scholarly writing, and illustrations would have been nice to break up the density of the text. However, I must assume that the costs of licensing the appropriate images from the various media giants who now own them would have been more than a small university press could afford to do.
If you want pictures, buy the Comic Book History of Comics, it lacks the depth and rigor, but covers much the same territory as the first section of this book and does it in the medium it is telling you the history of.