If you’re a librarian who works with young people and don’t know publisher TwoMorrows, I invite to discover its impressive range of titles on pop culture and, specifically, comics history. A great place to start is the history-of-the-medium American Comic Book Chronicles series. Earlier this year the first volume on the 1960’s was released, and it provides a detailed, authoritative, well-written text that takes readers not just through the stories of famous characters and creators, but delivers a thorough analysis of the business itself.
Well, the just-published volume on the 1980’s continues in this vein, and is equally terrific. Wonderfully designed, this is the kind of book that’s difficult to put down. You start reading a given section because a particular visual captures your attention, and then, twenty minutes later you look up trying to figure where the time went. Along the way, though, you learned something—maybe lots of things. For example, I didn’t know that while running Marvel, Jim Shooter actually moved forward with the idea of publishing DC’s characters in a standard licensing deal. And fascinating stuff like that is presented on nearly every page. Creators’ rights issues surface, as do copyright challenges, marketing campaigns, and PSA-style propaganda-lite titles—in short, reading what Keith Dallas has put together here means reading about comics, yes, but it’s also really media literacy in stealth mode.
So does this sound like something that could get the teen and tween comics fans you know into nonfiction? Sure it does. Moreover, although sources are consistently cited, the overall tone is completely accessible. Timelines and a clear organization also add to the book’s value as informational text. If you want to check out a preview to see what I’m talking about, here you go. If you’re interested in getting a copy yourself, just follow the simple rules below…
1. Double-check that you live in the U.S. or Canada.
2. Leave a thoughtful comment here (through 11:59 pm ET May 27) or on any CTP post about comics. You can find a list of them here:
3. If you don’t see your comment after several hours, just contact me via email or Twitter (see below).
4. I’ll email the winners, who’ll then be asked to provide (via me) their mailing addresses to the publisher. If I don’t hear back from you within 48 hours of notification, I’ll simply draw another name.