Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book

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Basic Books, Oct 11, 2005 - Art - 384 pages
3 Reviews
Animated by the stories of some of the last century's most charismatic and conniving artists, writers, and businessmen, Men of Tomorrow brilliantly demonstrates how the creators of the superheroes gained their cultural power and established a crucial place in the modern imagination. "This history of the birth of superhero comics highlights three pivotal figures. The story begins early in the last century, on the Lower East Side, where Harry Donenfeld rises from the streets to become the king of the 'smooshes'-soft-core magazines with titles like French Humor and Hot Tales. Later, two high school friends in Cleveland, Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, become avid fans of 'scientifiction,' the new kind of literature promoted by their favorite pulp magazines. The disparate worlds of the wise guy and the geeks collide in 1938, and the result is Action Comics #1, the debut of Superman. For Donenfeld, the comics were a way to sidestep the censors. For Shuster and Siegel, they were both a calling and an eventual source of misery: the pair waged a lifelong campaign for credit and appropriate compensation." -The New Yorker
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jtodd1973 - LibraryThing

This is not so much a history of comics as it is a collection of the biographies of the men who, mostly out of greed, created the comic book genre. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - notasecretagent - LibraryThing

This book is a great, well-written, readable overview of the comic book industry in the United States. It reads more like a novel than a history, but the reader leaves feeling informed. Huzzah! Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Secret Identity
The Street
The Other World
23
The Long Party
41
The Perfect Man
63
New Fun
87
Action
109
American Boys
127
Wars
213
True Crime
231
Collision Course
253
Silent Partners
281
New Owners
295
Continuity
315
NOTES ON SOURCES
341
INDEX
359

High Times
157
The Whirlwind
187

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About the author (2005)

Gerard Jones is a writer whose credits include the New York Times, Harper's, Batman and Spider-Man comics, and Pokémon cartoons. Recently, he has developed the Art & Story Workshops for children and spoken on fantasy, aggression, and the media at institutions around the country. He is the author of Honey, I'm Home: Sitcoms Selling the American Dream and The Comic Book Heroes. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and son.

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