All Things Printed & Recorded: Bam! Pow! The Heroic Rise of Comic Books

EDITOR’S NOTE: This year in our HPB calendar, we’re celebrating all things printed and recorded—and played, solved, watched, etc. In other words, all the cool stuff we buy and sell in our stores. For September, we’re getting our hands dirty with a look at the history of comic books, graphic novels and manga.

Two Comic Books

1933  Famous Funnies: A Carnival of Comics, the first modern American comic book, is published.
1938  The superhero archetype is born with the debut of Superman in Action Comics #1.
1964  The first underground comic, Frank Stack’s The Adventures of Jesus, debuts.
1992  Art Spiegelman’s Maus becomes the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize.


  • The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck (1837) featured art in sequential panels and corresponding text below, making it a precursor to the modern comic book.
  • The Comics Code Authority was formed in 1954 in response to public concern over graphic content in comics. Titles from major publishers bore the CCA seal until the early 2000s.
  • Japanese comics known as manga exploded in popularity after the Second World War.

Want to dive deeper? Check out these great products!

book The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabo
book The Origins of Comics: From William Hogarth to Winsor McCay by Thierry Smolderen
book The Great Comic Book Heroes by Jules Feiffer
book Comic Book Nation: The Transformation of Youth Culture in America, Bradford W. Wright
book The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen: Awesome Female Characters from Comic Book History by Hope Nicholson
book A History of Underground Comics by Mark James Estren
book Graphic Novels: Everything You Need to Know by Paul Gravett
book Comics and Sequential Art by Will Eisner
book Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics by Paul Gravett
book Manga! Manga!: The World of Japanese Comics by Frederik L. Schodt
slate_film-512 American Splendor
slate_film-512 Crumb
slate_film-512 Comic Book Confidential
music-note-21 Comic Book Heroes, Rick Springfield

Meet the Bibliomaniac: Bryan Douglas

In this month’s “Meet the Bibliomaniac” feature, we’re thrilled to introduce you to Bryan, assistant manager in the Austin-area. Since we’ve got comic books on the brain, let’s dive deeper into Bryan’s love of comics and learn more about him. Check out his Q&A below.

Bryan Douglas Half Price BooksName: Bryan Douglas
Job Title: Assistant Manager
Store Location: 104 Cedar Park

When did you join the HPB Team?
September 2004.

What is your favorite part about working at HPB?
Being surprised every day by the books I discover, either from seeing them in person or hearing about them from customers.

As an Assistant Manager, what’s an average day like for you?
My work days are a mix of getting to help customers directly and helping our staff to do the same. The leadership role is nice, because it gives me the feeling of helping even more people than the ones I interact with directly!

What’s the most interesting experience you’ve had since working here?
Finding two hundred dollars in cash hidden in a book called “The World’s Lost Wealth!” (This was at the Buy Counter, so we were able to get the money back to the customer!)

What got you interested in comic books?
I’ve always been interested in the multiple layers of meaning comics can provide. Certainly, prose fiction can do that, too… But somehow combining words and pictures in the comic book style seems to allow for a greater number of ideas to be distilled down to a smaller space! Continue reading

It’s Geek Week (like every other week at HPB)

If you’re looking to express your geeky side with pride—and why shouldn’t you?—Half Price Books is the place. Our stores seem to have a never-ending supply of games, comics, action figures and other items designed to help you geek out.

Here are just a few highlights we’ve learned about that are currently in our stores around the country. “A Geek Week Sneak Peek,” I guess you could call it. If you are interested in any of them, contact The Buy Guy.

Lee---X-Men-1-(2)[1]X-Men #1 King-Size Special
Signed by Stan Lee!
Has a little bit of rubbing and wear to the bottom of the spine, but no other damage or signs of wear.
At our Mentor, Ohio store: $100 Continue reading

Comics: Doctor Strange! Power Girl! Donald Duck! And More!! (Rarest of Rare Collectibles)

Comic books have been a big part of American culture since the 1930s, especially following Superman’s opening splash in 1938. Those superheroes of yore are back on the scene in full force, thanks to the huge popularity of movies featuring Spider-Man, Batman, the X-Men and others. Half Price Books has always included comic books in its product mix, and our stores’ Comics sections always have devoted fans poring over the stock. The stores occasionally see extra-special comic books, and we’d like to feature a few of those here.

Four Color Comics #4: Walt Disney’s Donald Duck
Dell, 1940.



Our Greenwood, Indiana store recently got their most UNBELIEVABLE! comics buy ever. Truly the ULTIMATE! One of the gems they bought was Four Color Comics’ Issue #4, Walt Disney’s Donald Duck. The story is by Walt Disney, with art by Al Taliaferro. It’s in Good/Very Good condition, with tears on pages 1 and 12—but it’s a rarity in any condition! The price: $5,000. Continue reading