Mammoth Book of Best Crime Comics, The

Will Eisner in The Mammoth Book of Best Crime ComicsWhen it comes to descriptive book titles you might think that publishers are prone to injecting a little hyperbole, especially when they’re describing something as ‘mammoth’. If you’ve had the pleasure of handling this weighty tome, however, you’ll be well aware that in this case it’s no embellishment – this book is authentically enormous.

Presuming you can lift it, ploughing through the pages is a joy. There’s a wide range of stories on offer, from superstar comic creators across the generations. While the oldest story in here dates back as far as 1934 and others are nearly as old, there’s few that feel old-fashioned – it’s the hard-boiled, gritty, noir nature of war-time and post-war hardship that’s influenced crime comics ever since. And while the book is crammed with some of the big names of modern comics (Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Jack Kirby to name but three), it’s the stars of the past, working in the crime genre for much of their careers, who really nail it.

Which brings us round to Paul Gravett, a superstar comics scholar whose research brings this crucible of crime comics out of dusty, forgotten archives and into our unsuspecting hands. A true connoisseur of comics, Gravett’s breadth of knowledge and discerning taste is a treasure in itself.

Jack Kirby in The Mammoth Book of Best Crime ComicsAs he mentions in his introduction, this book is well pitched at readers who love noir crime comics like Sin City and Criminal, and have an interest in the kind of comics that inspired them, some of which you’ll find in this glorious retrospective cross-section of the genre from the last 70 years or so.

Read more crime comics:
[catlist orderby=title numberposts=-1 id=439 order=asc thumbnail=yes template=new]

Story: 4 Art: 4 Overall: 4

Written by: Sanchez Abuli, Charles Burns, Jack Cole, Max Allan Collins, Johnny Craig, Will Eisner, Neil Gaiman, Gianluigi Gonano, Dominique Grange, Paul Gravett, Paul Grist, Dashiell Hammett, Jack Kirby, Colin McLoughlin, Alan Moore, Carlos Sampayo, Joe Simon, Mickey Spillane
Art by: Terry Beatty, Jordi Bernet, Charles Burns, Jack Cole, Johnny Craig, Gianni De Luca, Will Eisner, Bill Everett, Paul Grist, Fred Guardineer, Jack Kirby, Bernie Krigstein, Denis McLoughlin, Jose Munoz, Warren Pleece, Alex Raymond, Ed Robbins, Harry Sahle, Joe Simon, Jacques Tardi, Lloyd Thatcher, Alex Toth, Oscar Zarate
Publisher: Constable & Robinson (UK), Running Press (US)
First published: 2008

Andy Shaw

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