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Book Giveaway: Informational Text Par Excellence… ‘American Comic Book Chronicles’

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.

About Peter Gutierrez


  1. Sue Bartle says:

    I would be interested in reviewing this resource. Thanks Sue Bartle

  2. My 80’s-child, comic-book-loving heart is very happy about this. (:

  3. Jennifer Siviter says:

    I am a librarian at an 8th-12th grade charter school in Austin, Texas and if it’s one thing that interests the students, it’s comics and graphic novels. Some people aren’t too thrilled with comics for kids/teens but in my opinion, they have really helped some of my reluctant readers as well as inspired some of the artist types that frequent the library! I love that comics can be used as a means of social commentary, that they are colorful and engaging, and that they are great for students who tend to be very visual.

    I would love to have this for our library as would the kids!!!

    Jenny Siviter
    Harmony Science Academy North Austin

  4. Graphic books are the hottest item in my Intermediate School Library. The more I can learn about this field, the better!

  5. Leslie Cerkoney says:

    I am a K-8 LRC Director and I am struggling on getting the Jr. High students to be more involved in the library. This is my first year there and I know that this would interest not only the boys, but some girls as well. I am creating a Jr. High/Young Adult ONLY section for the students this summer and this would be a wonderful addition. Plus, I am an 80’s baby who loves comics, cartoons, graphic novels, and so forth. I would enjoy taking them back to my era and it would fit in nicely with the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo that some of our students just went to (I was talking it up like crazy for a month). Well, tomorrow I am going to have to check my local library and see if they have a copy of the other eras that are already in print. Thanks for the heads up on this fabulous resource.

  6. Kim Sinclair says:

    Several teens I know are quite interested in comics today and learning the history of the charactors they like and how they evolved. Fandom sites allow them to share information on Tumblr and a book such as this would be a great way for the student to learn so much more about the comics.

  7. I’m intrigued — always — about how hero character are created and maintained over time by the writers. It’s interesting how some just fade away; some remain vibrant; some seem to change every year. There is this collective writing element, too, that plays a role in the way heroes develop over time.
    Thanks for sharing the book here.