• American Comics

  • A History
  • By: Jeremy Dauber
  • Narrated by: Jeremy Dauber
  • Length: 17 hrs and 50 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (97 ratings)

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American Comics  By  cover art

American Comics

By: Jeremy Dauber
Narrated by: Jeremy Dauber
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Publisher's Summary

This is the sweeping story of cartoons, comic strips, and graphic novels and their century-long hold on the American imagination.

Starting with the Civil War and cartoonist Thomas Nast, creator of the lasting images of Uncle Sam and Santa Claus, author Jeremy Dauber whizzes listeners through the progress of comics in the 20th century and beyond. Follow the history from the golden age of newspaper comic strips - Krazy Kat, Yellow Kid, Dick Tracy - to the midcentury superhero boom - Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman - and from the moral panic of the Eisenhower era to the underground comix movement; from the grim and gritty Dark Knights and Watchmen to the graphic novel’s brilliant rise - Art Spiegelman, Alison Bechdel, Joe Sacco.

Dauber’s story shows not only how comics have changed, but also how American politics and history have changed them. Throughout, he describes the origins of beloved comics, champions neglected masterpieces, and argues that we can understand how America sees itself through whose stories comics tell.

©2022 by Jeremy Dauber (P)2021 by Blackstone Publishing

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What listeners say about American Comics

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Shockingly Thorough

Where else do you get a history on comics that mentions both Jhonen Vasquez, Harold Gray, Wendy Pini and Carla Speed McNeil? A few movements glossed over during its telling, but perhaps the most thorough history of comics collected in a single volume in its attempt to hit every major movement. It falls apart when it gets to the present, but that story is still being told and its final shape yet to be seen. A high recommend on this one.

3 people found this helpful

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Refreshing take on the history

of comics but falls into name checking at the end of some of the latter chapters.

1 person found this helpful

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I wanted it to be better

I love comics. I love comics history. This started super strong then faded after the first 2 chapters. Dauber made the story somewhat confusing my going back and forth on the timeline vs going in chronological order. His love for Art Spiegelman is very apparent which isn't bad but is slightly distracting. My biggest complaint is the end of the book. His focus on Obama (and almost accusatory ) feels so bizarre compared to the rest of the book. We've had 22 presidents since 1895 and he mentions only 4. 2 is passing (and normal circumstances) and 2 he focuses on and almost blames for shaping comics history I feel more than needed. I did learn somethings I'm very happy about but the jumping around in history vs chronological really diminishes the book for me.

1 person found this helpful

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Starts out strong then turns into a dull muddle

I made it through 8 hours then just gave up. Lost interest as he began to drone on. There is some good information but not enough to hold my interest.

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Started Out - Then went woke for the second half

Entire second half of the book is woke garbage. Returned it.

Side Note: The author doesn’t pronounce the T in the middle of words. Ex: Mutant - he says Mudant or Important- he says Impordant. It gets really annoying after 17 hours.

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Wonderful history

I’m not sure anyone was beating down author Jeremy Dauber’s door begging him to write a history of comic books, but he did it! Plus, he did it wonderfully!

Starting from the very beginning of their publishing all the way to mid-Covid era, not a character or subject was left untouched. There are some fascinating eras of the comic industry and how they change and grow with the world around them.

Will this have a wide audience? No, absolutely not. However, this listener is very appreciative of his work.

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Truly excellent history of comics

Having been manager of one of the oldest comic book stores in the mid 80s, I was delighted to hear so much research and effort going into this book. It continually amazed me at how deep and obscure some of the comics referred to were. The author really does know comic history!

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Excellent history!

This history covers major companies as well as aspects that usually don't get as much attention (comix, independents) and gives an excellent synopsis of the industry. Highly recommended

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Less politics more comics

The author routinely goes beyond discussing comic books into discussing contentious, complex political issues that he is apparently woefully ignorant about.

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A must listen

Books about comics can fall victim to being short sighted feeding into the worst of what comics culture has to offer. That is not a problem here. A detailed look at all sides of comics: from strips to books, the rise of the superheroes and the big two, underground comics, and graphic novels, the author gets into the changing nature and interconnectedness of these different forms of the same art. You can tell Dauber is a a scholar, with a detail to his research and a real consideration for literary content and the cultural context. But it isn't a dry, scholarly text. And it is read by the other with a real feeling.

One of the best books I've read in a while. I am so happy to have heard it. I listened through the plus catalogue, but I'm thinking of buying it for myself, even also maybe everyone I know.