We've been looking forward to this one. It's an in-depth cultural history of comics by the author of Positively 4th Street (about Dylan & Co. in the Village) and Lushlife, a biography of Pittsburgh's own Billy Strayhorn. We'll let you know what we think once we have a chance to get through it. For now, here's the official hype: "In the years between World War II and the emergence of television as a mass medium, American popular culture as we know it was first created—in the pulpy, boldly illustrated pages of comic books. No sooner had this new culture emerged than it was beaten down by church groups, community bluestockings, and a McCarthyish Congress—only to resurface with a crooked smile on its face in Mad magazine. The story of the rise and fall of those comic books has never been fully told—until The Ten-Cent Plague. David Hajdu’s remarkable new book vividly opens up the lost world of comic books, its creativity, irreverence, and suspicion of authority." HERE's a nice chunky preview excerpt .
The Comics Journal #296 Yes, another year has past and it's time once again for the Best of the Year Issue. Best picks from comics luminaries Kim Deitch, Lynda Barry, Anders Nilsen, John Porcellino and many others complement the Best of 2008 master list compiled out of the all picks. This issues also features a great bunch of interviews: Lynda Barry, Dash Shaw, Frank Quitely, David Hajdu and Mike Luckovich. R.C. Harvey will fill you in on some great comics that made 2008 "a very good year." There's nice full clor preview of the first book of C. Tyler's forthcoming book, You'll Never Know. And then there's a whopping 35 page comics section of fine Finnish comics, including an eleven-pager by the one and only Amanda Vähämäki that should whet your appetite for her soon to be released collection, The Bun Field, as well as reminding you that, if you haven't already, you need to get your hands on a copy of Drawn and Quarterly Showcase 5.