Review by Choice Review
This book explores two areas usually left untouched in comics research: black characters and fandom. Using participant observation, interviews, and textual analysis, Brown (popular culture, Bowling Green State Univ.) provides a case study of Milestone Media, incorporating information and views he received from the comic's publishers and creators and 128 fans--primarily from Toronto, but also major US cities. He scrutinizes Milestone texts, giving story synopses and interpretations of the black superheroes portrayed. Much is covered: the establishment of Milestone in 1993, its publishers and creators; the scope and characteristics of modern comic book fandom; how Milestone comics are understood relative to specific influential factors and how they are read as an alternative masculine ideal; and reading race and genre in comics. One entire chapter profiles in detail eight comic book readers. The book is a welcome addition to comics scholarship but suffers from too much theory (it reads like a dissertation), a loose structure, meandering details (history of fandom, the Wertham controversy), and descriptive information that clutters more than it informs (the dress of the fans who were interviewed, for example). For comics fans and large collections supporting research on comics. J. A. Lent Temple University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
Brown's effort is well intentioned, but it will leave readers confused. Its main thrust is to offer "an examination of contemporary comic book fandom as it relates specifically to the texts published by Milestone Media." One problem: Milestone has, for all intents and purposes, not published for the last several years; in fact, it has been out of business longer than it was ever in business. So how seriously can you take this book, whose narrow focus is hugely disappointing? We need a legitimate study of black superheroes, and this is simply not it. Not recommended with great bitterness. Chris Ryan, New Milford (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.