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Walker, Brian. The Comics: Since 1945. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2002. 336pp.  ISBN 0810934817 (hc).
Publisher's information on-line

Jump to Reviews

Revisions for 2006 paperback edition
[courtesy of Brian Walker]

  • Front flap, add: "The Comics Since 1945 is the companion volume to The Comics Before 1945 by Brian Walker, published by Harry N. Abrams in 2004."
  • Back flap:  New author photo - "Photo credit: Fran Collin"
  • Back flap: New author bio
  • Pg. 7, col. 1, par. 3, last sentence: "In 1889 Pulitzer added cartoons to the Sunday World, and in 1893, when he obtained a color press, he launched one of the first Sunday color comics sections."
  • Pg. 9, col. 1, par. 2, first sentence: "Richard Felton Outcault, the father of the funnies, had in one short year defined the form and content of the American newspaper comic feature."
  • Pg. 12, Doonesbury Sunday page, 9/4/94: replace black-and-white art with color art
  • Pg. 15, col. 1, last paragraph, first sentence: "By writing off the last half- century of comic-strip history, some scholars overlook the contributions of great talents like..."
  • Pg. 17, chapter break, caption under art: "LOWIZIE from BARNEY GOOGLE AND SNUFFY SMITH by Fred Lasswell. © King Features Syndicate, Inc."
  • Pg. 60, col. 2, par. 1, first sentence: "Zekley, who drew himself in the strip below."
  • Pg. 60, caption for bottom strip: "(Zeke Zekley in third panel)"
  • Pg. 76, caption for top strip: "MAD SATIRE - Pogum (POGO spoof) by Wally Wood, © 1961 E.C. Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Courtesy of David Applegate."
  • Pg. 97, col. 1, par. 1, last sentence: "He founded the Museum of Cartoon Art in 1974, and served as president of the National Cartoonists Society and  vice-presidentof the Newspaper Comics Council.
  • Pg. 102, col. 2, par. 1, second-to-last-sentence: "'You must have been looking through my window, because the same thing happened to me,' she speculated."
  • Pg. 165, col. 2, par. 3, second sentence: "In 1984 he told newspaper editors they had to run Doonesbury at 44 picas in width (7 5/16 inches), instead of a new industry standard of 38.6 picas (6 7/16 inches), or not run it at all."
  • Pg. 191, credit line under top strip: "All For Better or For Worse strips © Lynn Johnston Productions, Inc. Distributed by Universal Press Syndicate. All rights reserved."
  • Pg. 193, For Better or For Worse Sunday page, 3/31/ 91: replace black-and- white art with color art
  • Pg. 219, chapter break, caption under art: "CALVIN AND HOBBES by Bill Watterson. © WATTERSON. Used by permission of Universal Press Syndicate. All rights reserved."
  • Pg. 227, col. 2, par. 5, second sentence: In March 1986 the second-most- profitable syndicate, King Features, under the leadership of Joe D'Angelo, absorbed the seventh-largest, Cowles (formerly known as the Register and Tribune Syndicate)."
  • Pg. 230, credit line on right side of panel: "THE FAR SIDE ® by Gary Larson. © 1982 FarWorks, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission."
  • Pg. 230, col. 1, par. 2, last sentence: "A deluxe, two-volume, slipcased collection of every single Far Side cartoon (4,081 to be exact), with a comprehensive introduction by Gary Larson, was published by Andrews McMeel in the fall of 2003."
  • Pg. 246, col. 1, last sentence: "Brady was nominated four times for the Reuben Award in the 1990s and finally won in 2004."
  • Pg. 250, credit line for top strip: "BETTY BOOP AND FELIX Sunday page by the Walker Brothers, © 6/16/85 King Features Syndicate, Inc."
  • Pg. 276, col. 2, par. 2, second sentence: "Three of the most successful new features of the decade - Baby Blues, Mutts and Zits - blended traditional  themes with fresh perspectives."
  • Pg. 277, col. 2, par. 2, last sentence: "Zoe aged slowly and was joined by baby brother Hamish in 1995 and sister Wren in 2002."
  • Pg. 281, col. 2, par. 2, fifth sentence: "The U.S. Postal Service released a series of twenty commemorative comic-strip stamps on October 1." 
  • Pg. 285, Dennis the Menace Sunday page, 5/28/2000:  replace black-and- white art with color art
  • Pg. 316, col. 2, last par., first sentence: "Zits was voted the Best Comic Strip of the Year in 1999 and 2000 and, in 2002, it passed the 1,000-newspaper plateau and Jerry Scott won the Reuben Award."
  • Pg. 322, credit line for bottom strip:  "GET FUZZY Sunday page by Darby Conley. © 9/17/2000 Darby Conley. Distributed by United Feature Syndicate, Inc."
  • Pg. 323: replace top strip, "Big Nate," with "Pearls Before Swine." Credit line:   "PEARLS BEFORE SWINE daily strip by Stephan Pastis. © 1/31/2002 Stephan Pastis. Distributed by United Feature Syndicate, Inc."
  • Pg. 323: replace third strip, "Betty," with "Soup to Nutz." Credit line: "SOUP TO NUTZ daily strip by Rick Stromoski. © 4/19/2005 by Rick Stromoski. Distributed by NEA, Inc."
  • Pg. 326, Blondie Sunday page, 10/28/2001: replace black-and-white art with new color art
  • Pg. 327, Doonesbury Sunday page, 2/13/94: replace color art with new color art
  • Pg. 328, col. 1, par. 4, first line:  "American Color - “Andy Olsen"
  • Pg. 328, col. 1, under ARTICLES: move line two to line thirteen (after: "The following cartoon-related periodicals are no longer being published:") "Cartoonist PROfiles. 146 issues were published quarterly between March 1969 and June 2005 by Cartoonist PROfiles, Inc. 281 Bayberry Lane, Westport, CT 06430."
  • Pg. 328, col. 1, under ARTICLES, line 4: "Comic Buyer's Guide. Published monthly by F + W Publications, Inc. 700 E. State St., Iola, WE 54990."
  • Pg. 328, col. 1, under ARTICLES, line 8: "Editor & Publisher. Published monthly by BPI Communications, Inc. 770 Broadway, New York, NY 10003."
  • Pg. 333, col. 2, last paragraph, last sentence: "Fantagraphics Books of Seattle has published collections of Dennis the Menace, Peanuts, Pogo, Prince Valiant and Zippy."

Reviews in print:

Beronä, David A. [review.] International Journal of Comic Art 5.2 (Fall 2003): 450-452.

Review by Miron Murcury, originally distributed on the Platinum Age Comics discussion list:

Brian Walker's book, The Comics Since 1945, is wonderful.

This colorful 10”x13” book features comic strips from the past sixty years in a premium format with color throughout. The heavily illustrated, decade by decade chapters offer examples of all types of strips, not just the rich and famous.

Brian Walker's commentary is brief and informative. The writing is chiefly confined to supportive paragraphs followed by lots of comic strips printed clear, clean and large.

For each decade Walker writes about how comics grew and changed to meet various creative and economic challenges. Light biographical sketches, information about the syndicates and their influences, facts and figures about comics circulation, and the comics popularity ratings among newspaper readers are topics incorporated into Brian's text. His writing imparts a lot of information without ever overwhelming the reader.

This is a book of comic strips. The best part about buying this book are the over 700 illustrations. Generous selections of daily and Sunday comics are offered like a rich dowry. Most Sunday strips are reproduced in color. Notable comic strips are richly represented by material from the first daily  through to the most recent computer colored examples. This book reprints entire comic strip sequences, such as the death of Farley in Lynn Johnston's For Better or For Worse, giving readers a feel for individual artist's drawing and writing.

The book begins with cartoons by Outcault, Keane and Hart that evoke nostalgia and Brian Walker's history of the American comic strip that is clear and inviting to read. The introduction ends optimistically:

The funnies have endured primarily because comic characters have a universal, timeless appeal. ... Cartoonists create friends for their readers. Pogo, Charlie Brown, Calvin and Hobbes and Dilbert are part of a great cultural legacy that is being further enriched every day. The final panel has yet to be drawn.

Then, for about 315 pages, the author walks with you along a great library path, illustrated on both sides by the best American cartoon strips which speak eloquently for themselves. Brian is an excellent guide along this path. His obvious love of comics cushions the reader, making a large journey pass quickly.

This book ends with a Cosmos-like spirit of wonder and appreciation, the acknowledgment that

[i]n the past half century, thousands of cartoonists have created millions of images that have been enjoyed by billions of readers. That is but a brief flash of our creative potential. The words and pictures will continue to captivate us for as long as we have the desire to be entertained and enlightened.

The Comics Since 1945 is available through your local independent bookstore or from for $20.

Miron Murcury

PS. It had to have been reading the Comics Since 1945 while falling asleep 
that brought me the following dream; it couldn't have been the rare bit of hash I ate.

In this dream Earth had been invaded by aliens who looked just like Earthlings. The aliens shopped at Bergdorf-Goodman and Sherwin-Williams and 7-11's just like us. There was no way to distinguish human from alien. Since this is a post-modern dream, I was aware of movies and how they tested for aliens. Those tests didn't work in my dream. All Earth governments were worried. Everyone thought the aliens would defeat us. I could see, in a newspaper rack, a NYC Post headline, ALIENS WIN!

Gloomy was this dream until...

... It was discovered that alien invaders do not laugh at comics.

Aliens don't crack a smile at Dilbert's office antics or have their hearts affected by Rose's love or Farley's death. Aliens don't laugh at Calvin and Hobbes.

So, in my dream, squads of soldiers and national guard were patrolling the streets. At check points the guards held guns and wanted-poster-sized Sunday comics. To prevent the aliens from laughing just to pass the test, random pages of meaningless comics-like material were also produced and shown at check points.

As my dream faded away I smiled to read the 100 point headline of the NY Times national edition, "Comics Save the World," and the new motto in smaller type, 'All the comics we can fit.'

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This Page Last Updated 11 June 2006.