The Power of Comics History, Form, and Culture

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2/12/2015
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

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Fully revised and updated for its second edition, The Power of Comics remains the most authoritative introduction to comic books and graphic novels – the history of the medium, its many forms and manifestations and their place in contemporary culture.

The new edition includes:

An expanded historical section bringing the story of comic books up to the present and covering the rise of the graphic novel and the advent of digital comics
A new chapter on the memoir genre and a thoroughly revised chapter on the superhero genre
A revised chapter – “Exploring Meanings in Comic Book Texts” – introduces students to the theoretical tools they need to read comics critically
Study objectives, discussion points, activities and annotated further reading guides in each chapter, helping students master the topics covered

Illustrated throughout, with an extensive glossary of key terms, The Power of Comics also includes further updated resources available online at www.powerofcomics.com, including additional essays, weblinks and sample syllabi.

Author Biography

Randy Duncan is a professor of Communication at Henderson State University and co-founder the Comic Arts Conference, the nation's first annual academic conference devoted solely to the study of comics. He is also the co-editor of Icons of the American Comic Book: From Captain America to Wonder Woman.

Matthew J. Smith
is professor of Communication at Wittenberg University where he regularly teaches comics arts courses. He is co-editor of the Eisner-nominated Critical Approaches to Comics: Theories and Methods.

Paul Levitz
is a former President and Publisher of DC Comics and has written for many of DC's major comic books series, including Superman and Batman. He is the only writer to have appeared on the New York Times Graphic Books Best Seller list for both his fiction and non-fiction work.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: History of Comic Books, Part 1: Developing a Medium
Chapter 2: History of Comic Books, Part 2: The Maturation of a Medium
Chapter 3: History of Comic Books, Part 3: The Diversification of a Medium
Chapter 4: Creating the Story
Chapter 5: Experiencing the Story
Chapter 6: Comic Book Genres
Chapter 7: Comic Book Genres: The Superhero
Chapter 8: Comic Book Genres: The Memoir
Chapter 9: The Production of Comic Books
Chapter 10: The Comic Book Readers
Chapter 11: Exploring Meanings in Comic Book Texts
Chapter 12: Comics Culture Around the World


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