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The Mammoth Book Of

The Mammoth Book Of

Edited by Paul Gravett and designed by Peter Stanbury
$17.95, £12.99
ISBN-13: 978-1845297107

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Paul Gravett edits and Peter Stanbury designs The Mammoth Book of Best Crime Comics. This is a 480-page collection of 24 mean, moody masterpieces, many painstakingly restored by Stanbury. They range from classic newspaper strips and notorious uncensored pre-Code comic books to the finest in American, British and European graphic novels.

The line-up includes:  Dashiell Hammett & Alex Raymond, Will Eisner, Johnny Craig, Mickey Spillane, Bernie Krigstein, Alan Moore, Joe Simon & Jack Kirby, Neil Gaiman, Alex Toth, Jacques Tardi, Jordi Bernet, Paul Grist, Jack Cole, Charles Burns, Max Allan Collins, and José Muñoz & Carlos Sampayo. Highlights include the first comic book appearance by Mike Hammer’s prototype written by Spillane and shot from the original comic book artwork, and the never-before-reprinted last ever comic book by EC genius Bernie Krigstein, a bizarre 87th Precinct tie-in to Ed McBain’s famous characters.


“ enthralling stalk through the mean streets of comics from the pulps to the present.”
The Independent

“There are many talented people featured in this big, thick tome.”
SF Crows Nest

“It's good tough stuff...”
Eddie Campbell

“A true connoisseur of comics, Gravett's breadth of knowledge and discerning taste is a treasure in itself.”

“An unmissable collection.”
Crime Time

“...Krigstein's work outshines the mediocre stories he has to work with.”

“...a virtual who's who tour of crime comics... this is real deal crime...”
Kevin Burton Smith

“'s an amazing line-up of talent and the quality of the stories justifies every inclusion.”
Bear Alley

“...the book I'm going back to again and again.”
Diana Green, University Of Florida

“Hard-boiled movies on every page.”
The Guardian

“Twenty-five of the best crime comics ever published.”
Comics DC

“...a massively-stuffed anthology from a person with good taste, well-selected, at a terrific price.”
The Comics Reporter

“ talents, true grit and real bang for your buck...”

“...lives up to its name...”
Andrew A. Smith

“...a fat compendium of two-fisted, pistol-packing action...”
Comic Mix

“'s epic!”
The Burley Observer

“...a loving homage to the old newspaper serials and gumshoe tales of a bygone era...”
The Buffalo News

“...well put together, lovingly designed collection...”
Down The Tubes

“...many foremost comics talents continued turning out tales of miscreants and murderers.”

“...the best comic anthology of the year for your dollar.”
Amazon Customer Reviews

“One of the finest books on sale at the moment, and one of the best bargains in the shop...”
Gosh! Comics

“Best Comics Of The Decade: Archival Editions & Re-Releases”
Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

“The cream of crime.”
Morning Star

“A box of unmitigated delights.”
The Times

“...the best of the [Mammoth] collections I've seen so far...”
The Kirby Museum

“...a lively compendium of mostly hard-boiled fare...”
The Observer

“...the hit of the series so far...”
Page 45

“Buy it, and buy it now.”
Pulp Pusher

“Letting Gravett loose on a book like this is like asking John Peel to compile a genre anthology album.”
Comics Village

“Highly recommended.”
Broken Frontier

“This collection is felony-level fun.”
LA Times

Every Shade Of Noir: If your only real exposure so far to crime comics has been the Sin City graphic novels by Frank Miller or maybe their faithful big-screen adaptations, you’d better fasten your seat belt, you’re in for a foot-to-the-floor ride through this compendium of the cream of crime comics. Along the way, you’ll see how several of Miller’s acknowledged masters and peers enthrall with their pacing, atmosphere and verbal and visual panache. You’ll also see how Miller’s battered, bandaged Marvin belongs in a long line-up of lean, mean machismo going back to the Thirties and before, when gangsters fought the cops for control of America’s cities. More…

My new book, once again sharply designed by Peter Stanbury, is The Mammoth Book of Best Crime Comics, officially out July 18. You may have seen their previous fine comics anthologies, clocking in at around 500 pages, like Best New Manga 1 & 2 (the all-colour third volume is coming this autumn), or Best War Comics and Best Horror Comics.

When Constable approached me to do a Crime collection, they were still looking at doing this book, as well as War and Horror, in the same smaller manga format, which would have seriously shrunk the comics pages down way too small. Thanks to our insistence, they enlarged the format of this series, and in fact for Crime Comics, expanded it a little further still, letting the pages breathe and fill the page area far better.

Stories by Alan Moore top and tail the book perfectly and other contributors include Dashiell Hammett, Mickey Spillane, Will Eisner, Jack Cole, Jack Kirby, Jacques Tardi, Muñoz & Sampayo, Neil Gaiman and more. Another distinction is in Peter’s exemplary graphic design, which lends the whole 480-page compendium class and atmosphere. Peter also put in amazing effort to restore and refurbish the comics pages, which appear mainly in crisp black and white with no murky greys, to suit the strong, black-and-white noir style. And the contents really are some of the very best, no padding, no also-rans, but two dozen of the cream of crime comics, first-class throughout.


UK: Robinson Publishing, 2008
USA: Running Press, 2008


Secret Agent X-9:
Two pages, pages 150 and 151, are out of order in the Secret Agent X-9 story. After reading page 142, please jump to ahead to pages 150 and 151. Then return to pages 143 to 149 and resume from page 152. Apologies for this production error.

Murder, Morphine & Me:
Murder, Morphine and Me first appeared in True Crime No. 2, May 1947, not No. 3, July-August 1948.


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My Books

Comics Unmasked by Paul Gravett and John Harris Dunning from The British Library

Comics Art by Paul Gravett from Tate Publishing

1001 Comics  You Must Read Before You Die edited by Paul Gravett

All contents © Paul Gravett, except where noted.
All artwork © the respective copyright holders.