When the idea for a book called 1000 Comic Books You Must Read came about, I’d imagine that picking an author for the project would be almost as difficult as picking which 1000 comic books to focus on. Luckily for Krause Publications they had just the person right under their noses: Tony Isabella.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Isabella’s accomplishments, and more importantly (in this case), credentials, allow me to fill in the blanks for you. He’s been a writer and/or editor for both Marvel Comics and DC Comics – along with a smattering of other publishers – for over 30 years. He’s reviewed and written about comics and comics-related items for Comic Buyer’s Guide – produced each month by F+W Media, which is also affiliated with Krause Publications – in his “Tony’s Tips” column for almost the same period of time.
He’s arguably read more comics than most of us comic aficionados hope to read in our lifetimes. While judging comics always comes with the usual “how it’s interpreted” hang-up, having Tony Isabella at the helm is definitely a step in the right direction.
So how’s the book? For starters, neglecting the urge to rank said comics was probably the best decision the powers that be ever made in regards to this project. All ranked lists do nothing but fuel debate, which the seemingly endless Internet trolls love to argue and spit vitriol over. Instead, the book is broken up into sections spotlighting the various decades, ranging from the forties to the current decade.
There are two notable exceptions to the breakdown: a section for Superman’s first appearance and early issues as well as a section where Isabella talks about his pick for “the greatest comic book of all time” for an extended period. I won’t tell you which issue stood out for Isabella but I will say he makes some interesting points – both professionally and personally – as to why it was chosen.
As for the rest of the selections, Isabella gives you everything you need to know in a simple paragraph, and are always accompanied by a cover for easy recognition. There’s a handy page near the end of the book with outlets to purchase these comics, however, I would have liked to see where certain issues were also collected. After all, not everyone who reads this book has the scratch to buy Spider-Man’s first appearance, as an example.
Silly nit picking aside, I can’t see how any die-hard comic fan or brand new fans to the medium can go on without this incredibly useful tome. If I may be so bold, Mr. Isabella, I’ll give your book “five out of five Tonys.”
Available through Amazon.com, Diamond Distributors, KrauseBooks.com and many other venues, and considering the holiday season just around the corner, I’d say this would make an excellent gift. Once you’ve read it, be sure to come back and let us know what you thought of 1000 Comic Books You Must Read, we’re always interested in hearing what others have to say. Enjoy!