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The Comic Book History of Comics

by Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey

colored by Adam Guzowski

IDW / Penguin Random House, 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-category: comic strips, super heros, pulps, undergrounds, European comics, Japanese comics, etc.- while ignoring other, equally significant forms. Fred and I tried to avoid that pitfall by focusing on the breakthrough cultural moments and creative inventions that advanced the comics art form as a whole (rather than just talk about the stuff we liked) using our signature "make as many jokes as possible as fast as possible" style.


That being said, 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. We loved making this book but we thought 256 pages achieved our goal to make a gateway history of the comics art form, focusing on the people and their artistry that pushed the medium ever-forward.


Since it's 2008 debut as a self-published black and white comic book it has been revised, expanded and re-published a few times, most recently as a full color, two volume edition from IDW in 2018. In 2020 we followed up with a companion project, The Comic Book History of Animation.

Both volumes are currently out-of-print, check the used book stores!

Excerpts from The Comic Book History of Comics:

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