Men of Tomorrow

Men of Tomorrow

Geeks, Gangsters and the Birth of the Comic Book

Book - 2004
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Baker & Taylor
Springing from the depths of the Depression, the birth of the comic book superhero spawned a new genre that still resonates seventy years later, a journey chronicled in an in-depth look at the people and personalities behind the creations. 60,000 first printing.

Perseus Publishing
By the author of The Comic Book Heroes, Killing Monsters, and scores of successful comic books and screenplays, Men of Tomorrow is the first book to tell the surprising story of the young Jewish misfits, hustlers and nerds who invented the superhero and the comic book industry. Among the characters in this vibrant panorama: · Jerry Seigel and Joe Shuster, the goofy myopic creators of Superman, who sold the rights to the Man of Tomorrow for $130 to…· Harry Donenfield, former pornographer and con-man, and his partner, Jack Liebowitz, founder of DC Comics, who went on to help build Steve Ross's legendary Warner Communications· Batman's Bob Kane, who rose to fame and fortune in a career based entirely on lies and self-promotion· Mort Weisinger, the ruthless editor of Superman, who suffered a nervous breakdown when he tried to be a superhero himself · Plus Stan Lee, founder of a new kind of hero, including Spiderman, at Marvel Comics; Will Eisner, whose creation "The Spirit" has become a cult classic, and many, many more. Springing unheralded out of working-class Jewish immigrant neighborhoods in the depths of the Depression, these young men transformed an odd mix of geekdom, science fiction, and outsider yearnings into blue-eyed chisel-nosed crime-fighters and adventurers who quickly captured the mainstream imagination. Within a few years their inventions were being read by 90% of American children and had spawned a new genre in movies, radio and TV that still dominates youth entertainment seventy years later. Drawing on exhaustive research, including interviews with friends and relatives of the creators, Jones reveals how the immigrant experience and the collision of Yiddish and American culture-forged in the crucible of two world wars-shaped the vision of the make-believe hero. He chronicles how the comics sparked a frightened counterattack that nearly destroyed the industry in the 1950's and how later they surged back at an underground level, to inspire a new generation to transmute those long-ago fantasies into art, literature, blockbuster movies and graphic novels. Animated by the stories of some of the last century's most charismatic and conniving artists, writers and businessmen, Men of Tomorrow brilliantly demonstrates how the creators of the superheroes gained their cultural power and established a crucial place in the modern imagination.

The first full-scale history of comic books-a real-life version of Kavalier and Clay-reveals how adolescent dreamers and ambitious crooks in Jewish America at the heart of the Depression created a new genre and forever changed the entertainment business.


Book News
Jones was a comic book writer once himself, but now focuses on literary studies and teaching writing. Here he digs beneath the legends, drunken stories, and public relations to talk about the early days of comic books, including of course the scandals. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Blackwell North Amer
Gerard Jones, a longtime insider to the comic book business, draws on years of research and interview to reveal how the collision of Yiddish and American culture shaped the modern vision of the hero. He recounts the frightened counterattack against comics that nearly destroyed the industry in the 1950s and traces the underground resurgence that inspired a new generation to transmute those long-ago fantasies into art, literature, and blockbuster movies. Along the way he uncovers never-before-told stories about the makers of America's most peculiar art form.
Far more than the story of superheroes, Men of Tomorrow tells of the growth of geek culture from its birth in the science fiction fandom of the 1920s to its conquest of mass media sixty years later and tracks pop culture's transformation from the freewheeling, pickpocket entrepreneurship of the early twentieth century through immigration, technological upheaval, and a pair of world wars to the corporate control of the AOL/Time Warner era.

Publisher: New York : Basic Books, c2004
ISBN: 9780465036561
0465036562
Branch Call Number: 741.50973 J716m
Characteristics: xv, 384 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm

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