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A Review By: The Comics Reporter

Tom Spurgeon is a writer and editor living in Silver City, New Mexico, and maintains his daily blog, The Comics Reporter.

This is a pretty solid anthology of its kind, a massively-stuffed anthology from a person with good taste, well-selected, at a terrific price. The only hall of fame works here are an Alack Sinner story and a Spirit strip from the immediate post-War era, but Gravett comes through with an eclectic group of top-rank cartoonists and comics creators working in a minor key, folks like Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Jack Kirby and Charles Burns. In fact, the Charles Burns inclusion is the kind of thing that really distinguishes a book like this one amid so many older works that may work better as attractive, sturdy filler than a source for re-discovery. Additionally, it’s always nice to see selections from Torpedo and Kane. One wonders if the editors couldn’t get their hands on certain works, or if the designation “crime comics” leaves off the table radical departures on detective books like the Karasik/Mazzucchelli City of Glass adaptation. It would have been nice to see something by Ed Brubaker in here as well, perhaps at the expense of Ms. Tree, which pains me to say as nice as its creators were to my father once upon a time. I just don’t get that appeal of that one, and certainly believe that Brubaker’s work with Jason Lutes, Eric Shanower, Sean Phillips and Michael Lark were much, much stronger. Still, a pleasant surprise and great beach reading. Seriously.

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