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A Review By: Alan Woollcombe

Alan Woollcombe has been a freelance writer for and about comics and animation since 1988, for publishers ranging from Marvel Comics to The Independent. The following review was posted on on 21 November 2006.

Gentlemen, we have a winner…

Most general books about comics tend to specialize or be skewed towards a certain genre, audience or era - think ‘superheroes’, ‘alternative’, ‘1960s’. It’s a rare beast that eschews such temptations and goes all out for the historical sweep, without seeming superficial or conversely dragged down by the weight of facts and figures. Fortunately, comics historian Paul Gravett wears his extensive learning lightly and weaves an extremely readable overview of a dense field, aided by inviting layouts from the talented Peter Stanbury.

So who should buy this book? Just about anyone with an interest in British comics will get something out of it: the melange of visuals from a century and a half of comic strips will draw in the casual browser, while its authoritative blend of comics culture and history will appeal to the comics’ cognoscenti.

Put simply, this is the best primer on British comics I’ve ever read. Put it on your shopping list now.


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My Books

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

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

Comics Art by Paul Gravett from Tate Publishing

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