Comics through Time

A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas

by M. Keith Booker, Editor


The 1978 graphic novel A Contract with God established "comics for adults."

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Cover image for Comics through Time

October 2014


Pages 1921
Volumes 4
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics Popular Culture/General
  • Award Winner!




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Focusing especially on American comic books and graphic novels from the 1930s to the present, this massive four-volume work provides a colorful yet authoritative source on the entire history of the comics medium.

Comics and graphic novels have recently become big business, serving as the inspiration for blockbuster Hollywood movies such as the Iron Man series of films and the hit television drama The Walking Dead. But comics have been popular throughout the 20th century despite the significant effects of the restrictions of the Comics Code in place from the 1950s through 1970s, which prohibited the depiction of zombies and use of the word "horror," among many other rules. Comics through Time: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas provides students and general readers a one-stop resource for researching topics, genres, works, and artists of comic books, comic strips, and graphic novels.

The comprehensive and broad coverage of this set is organized chronologically by volume. Volume 1 covers 1960 and earlier; Volume 2 covers 1960–1980; Volume 3 covers 1980–1995; and Volume 4 covers 1995 to the present. The chronological divisions give readers a sense of the evolution of comics within the larger contexts of American culture and history. The alphabetically arranged entries in each volume address topics such as comics publishing, characters, imprints, genres, themes, titles, artists, writers, and more. While special attention is paid to American comics, the entries also include coverage of British, Japanese, and European comics that have influenced illustrated storytelling of the United States or are of special interest to American readers.


  • Provides historical context within individual entries that allows readers to grasp the significance of that entry as it relates to the broader history and evolution of comics
  • Includes coverage of international material to frame the subsets of American and British comics within a global context
  • Presents information that will appeal and be of use to general readers of comics and supply coverage detailed enough to be of significant value to scholars and teachers working in the field of comics
Author Info

M. Keith Booker is professor of English and director of the Program in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Arkansas. He has written or edited more than 40 books on literature, literary theory, and popular culture. His books include Praeger's "May Contain Graphic Material": Comic Books, Graphic Novels, and Film as well as Greenwood's Encyclopedia of Comic Books and Graphic Novels.



"For students and the general public, it should prove to be a valuable research resource."AEP

"It could easily be used for high-school- and college-level research on related topics and is recommended for public, high-school, and college libraries."Booklist


Best Comics-Related Book Nominee — Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards

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