Thursday, June 12, 2014

Drew Friedman's "Heroes of the Comics"

early comic book company logos, the endpapers
design for the book
My latest book,  "Heroes of the Comics", features 84 full-page, full color portraits of the pioneering legends of comic books. Featuring a foreword by Mad's Al Jaffee, and my illustrated introduction, it debuts in August. 
the cover featuring a contemplative Jack Kirby, designed by Jesse Marinoff Reyes.
the book was designed by Keeli McCarthy and edited by Eric Reynolds.

The oversize hardcover published by Fantagraphics features portraits of early comic book artists, writers, editors and publishers, all of who played an integral role in the dawning  years of the comic book industry, from the mid-thirties to the mid-fifties.

The book features 84 full color portraits of the legends of American comic books, from the industry's birth in the mid-thirties, through the EC comics and the enforcement of the strict industry "Comics Code" in the mid-fifties. Featuring the famous and in some cases obscure. I wrote a  short biographical essay on each subject. I grew up meeting and later getting to know a number of the legends included, as the son of the author and former Magazine Management editor, (the company that ran Marvel comics), Bruce Jay Friedman and later as a student at New York's School of Visual Arts and contributer to Mad, among them:  Stan Lee, Martin Goodman, Al Hollingsworth, Irwin Hasen, and later Harvey Kurtzman, Will Eisner, Mort Drucker, Dave Berg, Al Jaffee, Will Elder and William M. Gaines. 

My piece written for The Comics Journal on how I chose who qualified as a "Hero of the Comics":

More names you may, (or may not), recognize include Max Gaines, Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, Lev Gleason, Joe Simon, Carl Barks, Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson, Charles Biro, Wally Wood, Woody Gelman, Basil Wolverton, Frank Frazetta, Marie Severin, Johnny Craig, Mort Meskin, Gardner Fox, Jack Cole, Steve Ditko, Ramona Fradon, John Stanley, Dr. Fredric Wertham and many more. It's a visual who's who/hall of fame of comic book history.

Pre-Order the book from Amazon:

Or order directly from the publisher:

                                      some of the portraits included in the book:
the full illustration of cover subject Jack ("King") Kirby
Harvey Kurtzman, the brilliant creator of MAD and my cartoon instructor
 at the School of Visual Arts for three years.
 the great EC comics and science fiction artist Wally Wood

legendary comic book and Cracked magazine artist John Severin

 early comics artist/editor/writer and longtime Mad contributer Al Jaffee,
who wrote
 the foreword to the book

the two creators of Superman, writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster

pioneering black comic book artist Alvin Hollingsworth

two preliminary sketches, the full color finishes will be included in the book:

pencil sketch of Timely/Atlas/Marvel comics publisher Martin Goodman

pencil sketch of Batman's co-creator, writer Bill Finger.

The book debuts at the San Diego comicon in late July where I'll be a guest, and will be available in stores in August. I'll be posting information about all upcoming signings and panels here.
the official Facebook group for the book:


  1. It's already on my Amazon list, thanks. (I may have to paper clip the Dr. Wertham page though, so I don't have to look at him.)

  2. It's the final illustration in the book, so just put it down before you get to it.