What can be done as far as comics history books? Who’s going to improve on Brian Walker’s The Comics? Who’s going to out-reference Holtz’s American Newspaper Comics?
The answer is to get specialized. Take a subdivision of the genre and go in-depth. That’s what Ron Goulart did with his The Adventurous Decade years ago, and that’s what Eddie Campbell does today with The Goat Getters.
As comics historian John Adcock describes it:
The Goat Getters is the first time an author has attempted to
chronicle the entire early days of the sporting cartoon and my
hat is off to Eddie Campbell for his superb work in hunting down,
cleaning up, and collecting together over 500 illustrations from
those far off golden days. Campbell is a marvelous writer too.
He brings the natural insight of a cartoonist and a humorist
to his observations.
Adcock’s full review can be read at http://john-adcock.blogspot.ca/2018/04/eddie-campbells-goat-getters.html
A preview of The Goat Getters is available at Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Goat-Getters-Johnson-Cartoonists-Reinvented/dp/168405138X
(It was released yesterday and my copy should be at the local comic book store today – I may have to make a special trip.)
Another look at a particular (peculiar?) subset of comics is Paul Tumey’s Screwball! The Cartoonists Who Made The Funnies Funny.
https://www.amazon.com/SCREWBALL-Cartoonists-Made-Funnies-Funny/dp/1684051878 This will not be released until late Summer 2018, but a preview of sorts can be had at Tumey’s old Screwball Comics blog/website: http://screwballcomics.blogspot.com/