Lots of us with published work on the subject tend to call ourselves “historians” – but the term might never have been truer and more accurate as when it was applied to Les Daniels.
Daniels’ book “Comix: A History of Comic Books in America” (1971) was my FIRST look into this world, and was invaluable in its influence on whatever it is that I’ve done – solo, or in conjunction with others – in fanzines, comics, Blogs, and even a DVD feature.
Yes, folks… You have HIM to blame! Go easy on him, please!
To that point, NOTHING was known to me, beyond that which appeared on the printed pages of the comic books themselves. Daniels’ work was more than a mere eye-opener… it was a full-throttle, rocket-boosted revelation that I simply DEVOURED!
It might not have been the first book on the subject, but it was THE BOOK for me! A true shining light on the dark corners of the unknown that was the comic book industry – publishers, characters, creators, etc. – in 1971. All here, in my hot little hands!
Indeed, when I had the privilege of meeting Les Daniels at a book signing in the ‘90s, I told him – as I now tell YOU – that it was through HIS SEMINAL WORK that I first learned of the character of Batman villain “Two-Face” (who had fallen out of use during the Silver Age)… and first learned the name of CARL BARKS!!!
Daniels’ book presented examples of both a Carl Barks ten-pager (“The Corncrib Money Bin meets a Cyclone” tale) and a Batman story featuring Two-Face.
But, thanks to Les Daniels, fandom as a whole could begin to move out of those dark ages. Though I bought Daniels’ current book that signing day, it was my copy of “Comix: A History of Comic Books in America” that I asked him to autograph for me!