Cover image for The comics : since 1945
The comics : since 1945
Walker, Brian.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : H.N. Abrams, [2002]

Physical Description:
336 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 33 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN6725 .W25 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



Organized by decade, with biographical profiles and desciptions of different genres and themes, The Comics forms a graphic survey of American culture since 1945.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Founder and former director of the International Cartoon Museum of Art, Walker here presents a survey of postwar strips that made it to the big time of daily syndication, as well as of their creators. Strip illustrations (210 in color, 776 in all) range from Little Orphan Annie collecting scrap metal to help the war effort, to Doonesbury's Zonker parodying interactive media by losing his punchline to a computer error. Walker, who since 1984 "has been part of the creative team that produces Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois," orients the book toward hugely popular strips like the still-running Peanuts, B.C. and Garfield and cubicle-based smash Dilbert, and thus ends up giving more of a history of American taste than of the entire form. Still, readers will be happy to rediscover the likes of '80s media tweaker John Darling; genre strips like the western Red Ryder (1938-64), '50s sci-fi Twin Earths and the adventure strip Steve Canyon; and Walt Kelly's ever-influential Pogo. Proceeding chronologically, Walker notes the effects of the invention of television, the politics of syndication, and the means of racial integration, and offers biographical profiles tracking the careers of all the names less familiar to us than the characters-the cartoonists. The whole feels a little too accepting of the dictates of syndication for a mass audience, but it is a solid account of the way various artists have worked within that system. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

This volume completes Walker's profusely illustrated two-volume history of American newspaper comic strips. Like its predecessor (The Comics before 1945, CH, Mar'05, 42-3869), this book benefits from Walker's facile writing style, familiarity with cartooning and its practitioners (he himself is a successful cartoonist), and access to a vault of rare original comics through the National Cartoon Museum (which he cofounded). Some 700 illustrations, many in brilliant color, are included. Particularly appealing among them are numerous strips spoofing societal foibles and personalities and others reminiscing about--or humorously reflecting on--their creators or cartooning itself. Walker organizes the content by decade. For each he provides an essay setting strips in historical context, a page each on two or three featured artists, and paragraph-long commentaries on other artists and on genres/themes--all interspersed with scores of images. This reviewer's only quibble is with the selection of the featured cartoonists (18 in all): in trying to balance sections and offer an equal number of key artists for each, Walker ends up downplaying some giants of the 1940s-60s and advancing lesser contemporary talents. Nevertheless, like its companion volume this is a rich pictorial resource, whether on the library shelf or the coffee table. ^BSumming Up: Essential. All readers; all levels. J. A. Lent Temple University