lördag 10 september 2011

Horst Schröder: Framtiden i serierutor ("The future in comics panels")

I've previously reviewed Horst Schröder's book about the earliest U.S. newspaper comics, De första serierna (The earliest comic strips). This is the second volume in what was intended as a series of books on comics history, and which also became a series of books on comics history – but unfortunately only a series of two.

Schröder has a background in history of literature; his doctor's thesis was about American science fiction literature, so he has a solid knowledge base on this subject, and he starts off the book with an essay on the sci-fi genre. He then proceeds to present quite a bunch of sci-fi comics, according to the model established in the previous book: about five pages per strip, giving a short description and some analysis – often incorporating a political perspective – and some pictorial examples.

Schröder presents strips like Buck Rogers, Jeff Hawke and Valerian and Laureline, as well as works by creators like Basil Wolverton, Jack Kirby and George Metzger, and he does it well. He writes a crisp, lively prose (probably aided by some editorial assistance from fellow comics expert Göran Ribe), and is clearly knowledgeable about his subject. There are still remnants of a 1970s, somewhat naive leftism/Marxism in his analyses (the book is from 1981), but that's just about the only thing I can find to complain about. This book sets out to introduce a bunch of sci-fi comics to an interested public, and that's what it does – well. If you read Swedish and like comics, it's well worth your time, and it's a shame that it became the last book in what could have been an excellent series.


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