Winner of the prestigious American Book Award! The comic strip has been a staple of American newspapers for a century. It is a creation unique to cultural life and, in addition to entertainment, has commented on the way we see and view ourselves. From its "high culture" influence on Pop Art to its "low culture" appeal to children of all ages, the comic strip has had a lasting hold on the imaginations of generations. Noted writer Donald Phelps (NEMO: The Classic Comics Library) provides essays on popular classics, such as Chester Gould's Dick Tracy, E.C. Segar's Thimble Theatre (which produced Popeye), Frank King's Gasoline Alley, B. Kliban, Major Hoople, Harrison Cady, and more. His keen eye discerns the sublime qualities of this most American art form with wit and refreshing candor. Reading the Funnies offers an elegant and eloquent look into this fascinating slice of American popular culture.
"The thinking invested in this crumbling ephemera is moving in itself. Phelps's descriptions are precise and pungent... in beautifully long, dense sentences. Reading the Funnies evokes not just the comics but a whole Depression-era mentalité." – Village Voice
"Donald Phelps is our great poet of the poetics of comics." – Art Spiegelman