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The Comic Book History of Comics

by Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey, colored by Adam Guzowski

self-published as the series "Comic Book Comics", collected editions published by IDW in 2013 and 2018


The inspiring, infuriating, and utterly insane story of comics, graphic novels, and manga  - as a comic book! Fred Van Lente and I teamed up again to give our irreverent-but-accurate take on the true behind-the-scenes history of everyone's favorite art form.

Most texts about the history of comics have a tendency to center around the author's personal favorite sub-genre: comic strips, super heros, pulps, undergrounds, European comics, Japanese comics, etc etc.- while ignoring other forms that are just as equally significant. In our book Fred and I tried to avoid that pitfall by tracking the breakthrough cultural moments and artistic inventions that advanced the comics art form itself (rather than just talk about the stuff we liked) using our signature "make as many jokes as possible as fast as possible" style.


The Comic Book History of Comics was NEVER intended to be an all-encompassing academic history text - to attempt to do so in the medium of comics itself would be a lifelong endeavor and (as much as we love comics) we ain't interested. The Comic Book History Comics is meant to be a gateway into the comic book medium, - both its history and discovery.


Since it's 2008 debut as a self-published black and white comic book it has been revised, updated and re-published many times, most recently as a full color, two volume edition from IDW in 2018. In 2021 we followed up with a companion series, The Comic Book History of Animation.

Sample chapters:

-1986 A.D.: The History of British Comics

-A Comic Book History of Superman

-Any Given Wednesday

Available for purchase at

Comic Book History of Comics v1
Comic Book History of Comics v1
Comic Book History of Comics v1
Comic Book History of Comics v1
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