By George Khoury
The Book: This book is an examination of the pivotal US comics era of 1976–1986. Contained herein are the people, comics, and artifacts that made our childhood feel larger than life, and shaped the US comics industry into the pop culture staple that stands tall today.
Each chapter and sidebar in this book tells a story, and together they form a much larger story about the evolution and maturation of the comics medium. The book is designed to look and feel as close to an actual comic book as possible – from the stories about the comics themselves, to the stories about the biggest comic book ads, on down to the letters’ page.
The Review: Some of you may be wondering why a site principally dedicated to British comics is waving the flag for an examination of US comics. Well, it’s simple. It’s because we should never blinker ourselves to great work being done outside our normal purview and this is book really is great work.
Just a look at the contents page alone should be enough to convince you. Comic Book Fever – A Celebration of Comics: 1976-1986 traces the metamorphosis of comics going from beyond being just about comics with the occasional foray into toys, TV and film tie-ins. This era of US comics sees the medium becoming the modern juggernaut it is now, with every film release being accompanied by a swathe of must buy toys, books, clothing and a myriad of alternate ways of buying into the vision of life that your current favourite movie projects.
Like author George Khoury’s other comic-related books such as True Brit, this is a delight to dip into. It’s also full of little gems, such as a picture of G I Joe that reveals Palitoy’s Action Man was a much closer clone than I had previously believed. Also, the article looking at the adverts within the US comics brought back many a memory, as I always wanted to try a Hostess Fruit Pie or a Twinkie or, even better, a Three Musketeers Bar. I have tried Twinkies now, only available here in recent years, and believe me, the adverts for Twinkies were far superior to the actual product!
There is just too much in here to mention it all, but I will say that if you have been a comic fan in your life, you will not be disappointed in this first class comics “dip in” book. It’s as if Kevin Smith had decided that he wanted a book accompaniment to the TV series Comic Book Men and wanted the book to be as good or even better than the TV series.
And if you want one more reason to buy the book, it’s that it features Brian Bolland‘s beautiful art for the cover of Issue 5 of Camelot 3000. (If you have never read Camelot 3000, this might not mean much but trust me, you’ll be missing a treat!).
Download it from TwoMorrows Publishing
A life-long comic fan, specialising mainly in UK adventure comics, Colin did his very best to support his passion for the comics of his youth, Commandos (still going!) and any small press that interested him. Sadly, Colin passed in March 2021, an invaluable downthetubes team member, much missed by us all