Review: The Classic Comic Colouring Book

by Beth C.

The Classic Comic Colouring Book – Various Artists (Michael O’Mara Books, Ltd)

The Classic Comic Colouring Book is filled with over 100 vintage comic book covers that span the genres of romance, mystery, action, adventure, sci-fi, horror, and more! Since the comic covers are all in the public domain, the issues were likely published during the Golden and Silver Ages (1938 – 1969). In addition to being a ClassicComicColouringBooksource of vintage art, the covers also reflect the times, such as the style of dress for men and women, issues women coped with (at least related to expected behavior and romance), and current events of the day (like Victory Gardens).

The Classic Comic Colouring Book is pretty awesome, but  I do wish that it had an introduction to explain some things in order to sate my curious mind. For example, I would have loved to learn why the curator/editor chose each particular vintage comic book cover for this collection. All are in the public domain, but there are hundreds of vintage comic book covers in the public domain, and it would be interesting to learn why certain covers were chosen and others passed over. On a similar note, there are a handful of comic covers included that do have quite a bit of black ink in the art (for example, the Hi-School Romance cover) which makes coloring a bit of a challenge. I’m wondering why other more coloring-friendly (i.e., less inky) covers weren’t selected instead. Also, a notes page at the back of the book listing the specific dates for each cover issue would have been nice (but of course not necessary for coloring purposes).

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It’s also interesting to note that the publisher, Michael O’Mara, is based out of London, but the book is primarily composed of American comic covers. The “10 cents” price and Comics Code Authority stamps on the covers give that away. I’m quite curious why more British comic covers weren’t included, but perhaps public domain law is different in the UK.

Regardless, I am completely aware that this is a coloring book and my wish for supplementary text may be a bit unrealistic. But yet, and I’m not sure if this is the beginning of a new trend. Some coloring books are starting to include quite a bit of supplemental text, The Wallpaper Coloring Book and Field Guide: Creatures Great and Small are just two examples that come to mind. Nonetheless, The Classics Comics Colouring Book is most definitely full of fun and wacky vintage comic book covers to color. I’ve only colored two cover so far but there are plenty more I plan to color.

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The availability of The Classics Comics Colouring Book in the USA is a bit of a mystery. I recently received a copy of this book directly from the publisher. However, the book is not listed on the Barnes & Noble USA site and can only be bought as used on Amazon USA. However, the book can be purchased in brand-new condition directly from Amazon UK as well as from Book Depository, the latter of which offers free shipping worldwide.

forbidden worlds vintage comic book cover

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The Comics Alternative is a podcast and blog focused on the world of alternative, independent, and primarily non-superhero comics.

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