The sweeping story of cartoons, comic strips and graphic novels and their century-long hold on the American imagination.
Dauber whizzes readers through comics’ progress in the twentieth century and beyond: from the golden age of newspaper comic strips (Krazy Kat, Yellow Kid, Dick Tracy) to the midcentury superhero boom (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman); from the moral panic of the Eisenhower era to the underground comix movement; from the grim and gritty Dark Knights and Watchmen to the graphic novel’s brilliant rise (Art Spiegelman, Alison Bechdel, Joe Sacco).
Dauber’s story shows not only how comics have changed, but how American politics and history have changed them. Throughout, he describes the origins of beloved comics, champions neglected masterpieces and argues that we can understand how America sees itself through whose stories comics tell.
"With encyclopedic knowledge, Jeremy Dauber brilliantly excavates the story of this art form—warts and all—from its origins right up to the twenty-first century, and strikes cartoon gold. For anyone curious about a medium that’s influenced and embedded itself in every part of our culture, American Comics is an essential guidebook. If you are already a connoisseur of comics, be prepared to be enlightened anew." — Peter Kuper, award-winning cartoonist and author of Kafkaesque and Heart of Darkness
"Until now one could only dream of an engaging, analytic history encompassing the entire medium. That sounds like a job for Superman, but Jeremy Dauber has gotten there first…His perceptive, critical overview is enlivened by a jaunty style that bops from the political cartoons of Thomas Nast in the 1860s to the demise of an equally influential gadfly, Mad magazine, in 2018." — Michael Saler, Wall Street Journal