An authorative and beautifully produced history of this vigorous and versatile art form, includes the best-known characters from Superman and Tintin to Tank Girl and Sgt Rock. For more than a century the comic book has been one of our most familiar, yet least appreciated popular art forms. As vehemently criticized as it is passionately defended, it has evolved from humble beginnings into a graphically sophisticated and culturally revealing medium. The book traces the history of the comic from early cartoon-like woodcuts through to the graphic strips of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Organized thematically it explores the various genres of the comic book, including humour, adventure, girls’ comics, underground and alternative. The careers of the creators of the best-known characters – from Superman and Tintin to Tank Girl – are revealed, as are the stories behind the much-loved comics such as The Beano and The Incredible Hulk. The most recent artists are also illustrated and discussed, including Harvey Kurtzman (Mad), Chris Donald (Viz), Art Spiegelman (Maus) and Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira).