Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Les Daniels, RIP.

Les Daniels, Five Fabulous Decades of the Worlds Greatest Comics. Spider-Man climbs a wall. John Romita Cover
As has already been reported on various other sites, including Bronze Age Babies and Rip Jagger's Dojo, writer and comics historian Les Daniels has passed away.

I must confess I only really knew Les Daniels from his book Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics which I bought almost exactly 20 years ago. It's a scary thought that if he wrote it now it'd have to be called Seven Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics.

But that just reveals how much time's passed since then. These days, thanks to the Internet, one can find out pretty much anything one wants to about comics, with the press of a button. But, back then, when such limitless resources were barely more than a twinkle in the eyes of some mad scientist, reading such a book was like finding a horde of buried treasure, packed with pictures, anecdotes, info and quotes from famous creators.

It really was a joy to behold, and still is. And for that, although I knew next to nothing about him, I shall always be grateful to Les Daniels. You can read what I had to say about that book by clicking on the picture above.


Kid said...

On the 15th of this month, it'll be 20 years since Stan Lee signed my copy of Les's book. (Well, more people knew who Stan was - and he DID write the introduction.)

Les's DC volume, Sixty Years of the World's Favourite Comic Book Heroes, is also worth having.

Alas, time flies too quickly.

Super-Duper ToyBox said...

Awww crap :( I have that book, and have thumbed through more that once this past year, pretty great

R. W. Watkins said...

I've never owned nor read Five Fabulous Decades; however, I do own and have read the official sequel / companion volume by Peter Sanderson, Marvel Universe, which focuses on the company's characters and their histories. I also own the mainstream-geared issue of The Comics Journal from August, 1992, which features a lengthy review of Five Fabulous Decades by fellow Canadian Darcy Sullivan. Among many things, Sullivan accuses the book of presenting the history of Marvel as the history of comics themselves.

RIP, Mr Daniels.

Steve W. said...

Daniels does entwine a general history of comics into the book, mostly in terms of how it affected Marvel. Things like the whole Fredric Wertham thing and the launch of the Comics Code.

It also has stuff early on about things like the creation of Superman and Batman, to set the background for how the comics industry and therefore Marvel came about.