Monday, May 03, 2010


Strip Teasers: One for the Reference Shelf

American Comic Strip Collections, 1884-1939 -- The Evolutionary Era
by Denis Gifford
G.K. Hall & Co, 1990
218 pages, 8" x 10", original price unknown

I pride myself on the completeness of my reference shelf, but this book has long been lacking because of the price. On the used market the asking price has often been over $50 which I wasn't willing to spend considering I didn't know much about what I'd be paying for.

Recently, though, I snagged a copy for $25 on, and I feel that I got my money's worth. In the book Gifford describes every comic strip reprint book and comic book in the era ending in 1939. Well, not really every one since there are a few missing here and there, primarily ultra-obscure items. He wisely limits himself to collections based on comic strips as opposed to panels, which would have made for a much fatter book, but forgets his rules occasionally by listing items such as a Strange As It Seems collection.

Each entry gives the title, publisher, publication date, page count, size, original price if known and a description of the contents. These descriptions vary in quality, I think because he had to rely on second-hand information for some books he was unable to peruse for himself. However, in general the descriptions are excellent and of definite value to researchers and collectors. Many of these books are hard to get hold of, and cost a pretty penny if and when they are available, so it's great to have such thorough descriptions of the contents without having to shell out a wad of cash, especially if you're just curious about the contents like I am.

The publications are listed chronologically, and I found it all very interesting reading until we hit the comic book era and my eyes started to glaze over a bit. Of course, many readers will find this the most valuable part of the book.

Since the chronological listing can make finding a publication a bit tough, I was delighted to find both character and creator indexes at the back of the book.


Looks like a great book.

I for one welcome the chronological listing, it helps put things in relative perspective.

It's on my "wwish" list now!
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