edited by Art Spiegelman and Francois Mouly If the amazing kids' comics from the halycon days of yore are your thing, then you've hit the jackopot with this one! Well over 300 pages of classics, all scanned from the original comics themselves, and printed at approximately 120% of the originals. These scans have been digitally cleaned up a bit, so there's no newsprint background tones, just the flat white paper that they're printed on. While this might upset some purists, it was probably a good call as this book is clearly going to be marketed as a gift for children as well as for older fans, and lay people will have difficulty appreciating the nuances of newsprint; and they did a more than decent job of balancing the tones. The book is, somewhat arbitrarily, divided into five sections: Hey, Kids; Funny Animals; Fantasyland; Storytime; and Weird and Wacky. The book successfully draws across the spectrum of children's comics from the twenty years following the close of the second world war – the golden age of kids' comics that fed the baby boomers' imaginations before television took over. While certainly no one is going to agree with every choice, the editors – along with the board of advisors – picked a good crop of comics that is certain to contain favorites of every fan as well as win the hearts of every reader and, more importantly, is sure to capture the imagination of the next generation. Includes work by all-time greats Carl Barks, Basil Wolverton, Harvey Kurtzman, John Stanley, Bob Bolling, Walt Kelly, and many, many more (even Dr. Seuss, who started out in comics). Get a sneak peek, here (just click on the image of the open book at the top right, under "Sample Toon Treasury").
While this 400 page digest size volume most certainly does not live up to its title, it is the best anthology Archie Comics has managed to publish in as long as we can remember – and possibly ever, considering how poor their track record is in this particular department – and it is especially significant in that the publishers have finally recognized the bare minimum of their responsibility to the people who built their business and has in this book published artist and writer credits for all the stories. Beginning in 1941 with the very first Archie story by Bob Montana and Vic Bloom from Pep Comics #22, The Best of Archie Comics continues on, decade by decade, through the subsequent seventy years, taking us all the way up to 2011. For us here at Copacetic HQ, the glory days of Archie Comics will always be the 1950s through the early 1970s, when Harry Lucey and Dan DeCarlo ruled the roost, and, for a few years at least, Bob Bolling and Bill Woggon were given free reign on Little Archie and Katy Keene, respectively. There is a generous selection of both Lucey and DeCarlo here, along with what is reputed to be Bolling's own personal favorite Little Archie tale, "The Long Walk," from Little Archie #20, and a modest sampling of Woggon's work, and so we won't hesitate to recommend this book to anyone who would like to be introduced to the world of Archie Comics.