If you’re a regular reader of PopCult, you probably know I’m a big fan of comics historian Craig Yoe. In addition to about a million other comic and cartoon related things, Craig has released a steady stream of beautifully-assembled historical comic book archives. Today, we’re going to look at five of the niftier recent tomes of Craig’s that I haven’t previously plugged in PopCult. These books can be found almost anywhere books are sold and if they’re not in stock, you can probably order them from Taylor Books in time for Christmas.
First up, we have “The Carl Barks Big Book of Barney Bear.” Carl Barks is a comic book legend, known primarily as the creator of the very best Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics. While Barks made his reputation as “the good duck artist” for Walt Disney, he did lesser-known, but equally brilliant comic books starring the MGM cartoon character, Barney Bear. “The Carl Barks Big Book of Barney Bear” collects the extremely rare stories in a deluxe, full color hardcover for the very first time. It’s a fabulous collection of rarely seen work by a comic book legend.
“Bob Powell’s Terror” is our next Yoe book on today’s list. Powell is not nearly as well known as Carl Barks, but he was a master cartoonist whose work is highly sought after by the savvy comics connoisseur. “Bob Powell’s Terror” is volume two in the “Chilling Archives of Horror Comics” series. You may remember the first volume, “Dick Briefer’s Frankenstein“, which I slobbered all over in a review in this blog last year. “Bob Powell’s Terror” is a great collection of 1950’s horror comics drawn (with many of them also written by) Powell. The informative introduction by Craig Yoe details Powell’s career and quotes extensively from a recently discovered autobiographical manuscript written by Powell himself. “Bob Powell’s Terror” is the perfect gift for the horror fan on your list.
Among the joyful and innocent work in this volume, you will find stories by Walt Kelly (“Pogo”), John Stanley (“Little Lulu”), and many others. If part of your Christmas tradition is cozying up with a big stack of holiday themed comics, this is the book for you.
Next up, we have “Amazing 3-D Comics.” This is a really fun volume, collecting some of the best stories published in the mid-1950’s 3-D comic book craze. A pair of classic red and blue 3-D glasses is included and in this book, you will find work by comic book legends Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Joe Kubert, Bob Powell, Al Jaffee, Russ Heath, Alex Toth, and many more. The stories have been remastered and are reproduced in a large format that shows every detail of the artwork. Just about every comics genre is represented here. You’ll find superheroes, jungle adventures, horror, science fiction, funny animals, and more. The book sports an introduction by Joe Kubert, the original mastermind behind 3-D comics. Another nice touch is the brand new lenticular 3-D cover, also by Joe Kubert.
Finally, we have “Archie: A Celebration of America’s Favorite Teenagers.” For the person on your list who’s still in touch with their inner teen, this oversized collection showcases the entire history of Archie Publications. You’ll get the behind-the-scenes dirt on the creation of Archie, his girlfriends Betty and Veronica, and his pals Jughead and Reggie. Artists and writers from the entire history of Archie’s eight decades are represented, from legends like Bob Montana and Dan DeCarlo to current creators like Fernando Ruiz and Dan Parent. The book is loaded with rare and unpublished art and quotes extensively from an unpublished autobiography by John Goldwater, creator of Archie and co-founder of the company that became Archie Publications. “Archie: A Celebration of America’s Favorite Teenagers” is a slice of real American pop culture history.