Superheroes!: Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of Comic Book Culture
by Laurence Maslon
Companion to the PBS documentary series, this is a great introduction and overview of the history of American comic books and culture. Lots here for new readers and those with a good knowledge of the period.
Marvel Comics: The Untold Story
by Sean Howe
Fascinating – and really well told – account of the history of Marvel. Howe recounts the highs and lows of the company in an engaging way.
by Grant Morrison
Morrison’s personal exploration of the history of superhero comics. He entwines the developing mythos of characters, the stories of their creators with his own childhood and early years as a writer.
by Fred Van Lente & Ryan Dunlavey
Visual cartoon with high dose of humour. Don’t be fooled into thinking this will only superficially cover the history. It’s full of detail.
Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World’s Greatest Comics
by Les Daniels
An official history of the company published in the early 1990s. It’s a lovely, glossy book to look at (as are all Daniels’ histories) and gives a comprehensive account of the development of the Marvel line.
Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book
by Jordan Raphael & Tom Sturgeon
Gives a history of Lee’s involvement and influence on comics. It shatters the illusion of Stan “The Man” Lee and presents him as playing less of a role in the creation of the Marvel heroes than usually considered.
I’ve reviewed it Review of “Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall”.
American Comic Book Chronicles: 1950s
by Bill Schelly
Superlative history of American comics and culture of the 1950s.
American Comic Book Chronicles: 1960-64
by John Wells
Incredibly detailed exploration of the first half of the 1960s.
American Comic Book Chronicles: 1965-69
by John Wells
Second half of the decade covered in exhaustive detail.
Recommended titles that link with episodes of the podcast. You can’t go wrong with anything produced by Tomorrows.
Episode 001: Revival of Captain America, The Sub-mariner & Human Torch Episode 002: Distribution Crisis & the "Marvel Method" Episode 003: Monsters Episode 004: The Fantastic Four General Reading
by Bill Everett, John Romita, Carl Burgos, Russ Heath, Stan Lee.
Collects Marvel Boy #1-2, Astonishing #3-6, Young Men #24-28.
Marvel Masterworks Vol. 92: Atlas Era Heroes 2
by Bill Everett, John Romita, Dick Ayers, Stan Lee
Collects Men’s Adventures #27-28, Captain America #76-78 and Human Torch #36-38
Marvel Masterworks Vol. 104: Atlas Era Heroes 2
by Bill Everett, Dick Ayers, Stan Lee
Collects Sub-Mariner #33-42.
Alter Ego 35 (April 2004)
Excellent article on the revival of Cap, Namor and Torch by Roy Thomas.