By Roger Sabin
Routledge – 2002 – 336 pages
Series: New Accents
In a society where a comic equates with knockabout amusment for children, the sudden pre-eminence of adult comics, on everything from political satire to erotic fantasy, has predictably attracted an enormous amount of attention.
Adult comics are part of the cultural landscape in a way that would have been unimaginable a decade ago. In this first survey of its kind, Roger Sabin traces the history of comics for older readers from the end of the nineteenth century to the present. He takes in the pioneering titles pre-First World War, the underground 'comix' of the 1960s and 1970s, 'fandom' in the 1970s and 1980s, and the boom of the 1980s and 1990s (including 'graphic novels' and Viz.). Covering comics from the United States, Europe and Japan, Adult Comics addresses such issues as the graphic novel in context, cultural overspill and the role of women.
By taking a broad sweep, Sabin demonstrates that the widely-held notion that comics 'grew up' in the late 1980s is a mistaken one, largely invented by the media. Adult Comics: An Introduction is intended primarily for student use, but is written with the comic enthusiast very much in mind.
Introduction: What is a Comic Part 1: Britain 1. The first sdult comics 2. Kid's stuff 3.Underground comix 4. 2000AD: 'The Comic of tomorrow!' 5. Fandom and direct sales 6. 'Comics grow up!': dawn of the graphic novel 7. From boom to bust 8. Viz: 'More fun than a jammy bun!' 9. The future Part 2: The United States 10. Strips and proto-comics 11. Comic books for everyone 12. 1954 - seduction of the experienced? 13. Teh years of collapse: survivors and adaptors 14. The modern era Part 3. Aspects 15. Worldcomics 16. Adult comics and other media 17. Women and adult comics 18. The graphic novel in context Conclusion
Roger Sabin is a freelance arts journalist, living and working in London. He has written about comics for several national newspapers and magazines including The Guardian, The Independent, and New Statesman and Society.