The Silver Age of Comic Book Art is a sparkly remastered new version of the long-out-of-print coffee table book that first came out ahead of its time in 2003, before all the beautiful Chip Kidd-designed superhero books, before many do-gooders depicted in these pages – Captain America, The Flash, Thor, Green Lantern, The Avengers, Dr. Strange, Green Arrow, Nick Fury and more – made it to the big & little screens. IMHO, more so than any other book on the subject, and more even than the bombastic blockbusters, this book manifests the magic and majesty of the Marvel and DC classic comics and characters from The Silver Age (1956-1970) and does so by focusing due attention on eight artists responsible for their creation: Carmine Infantino, Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Gil Kane, Joe Kubert, Gene Colan, Jim Steranko, and Neal Adams.
By way of uberdynamic spreads chockfulla judiciously juxtoposed images, ouvre-compressing cosmic collages, and the hubris-if-it-wasn’t-done-right method of replacing words in original comic balloons with choice quotes from the artists themselves, Schumer achieves the fantastic feat of making the reader experience the awe a kid in 1964 must have felt upon first gazing upon an earth-shattering Jack Kirby spread in Fantastic Four, or having Neal Adams’ art in Green Lantern / Green Arrow punch you in the face with its wrenchingly emotional realism, or being thrown off-kilter by the angular other-dimensionality of Steve Ditko’s Dr. Strange.
Appropriately, two of comics’ most influential writers wax testimoniacal, in their signature styles, about this sublime celebration of super artists:
Alan Moore: “A lovingly crafted tribute to the superhero comic of the 1960s, The Silver Age of Comic Book Art recaptures the four-color visionary surge of the era, its jet-age psychedelic rush of imagination and the titanic, luminous figures, both real and imaginary, that glittered in its firmament. For a brief moment in the late 20th century, it seemed as if the spirit of the age wore a vivid leotard, a chest emblem, and traveled in a strobing blur of speed lines. For anyone with any interest in or affection for that moment, this beautiful volume is indispensible.”
Stan Lee: “Not only is Arlen Schumer’s The Silver Age of Comic Book Art a spellbinding book about a magnificent art form, but it’s one of the publishing world’s great rarities – a book about art which is itself as much a resplendent work of art as the subject it so beautifully depicts. Every page of The Silver Age of Comic Book Art is a visual feast for the eyes. In honoring those artists whom the author considers the best of the best, Schumer, by virtue of his stunning layouts, incredible use of color and brilliant selection of awesome artwork, has proven himself one of the most exciting designers of all.”
The book ends with a bonus section that covers five more artists in hyperspeed, and leaves you rarin’ to dig back into the original comics, with a more appreciative set of peepers. – Jeff Newelt