Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Les Daniels RIP
Word is spreading that Les Daniels, an accomplished author and musician, but best known to me as the writer of one of the key histories of comic books, has passed away.
We're awash in comic book lore and such these days, but once upon a time, it was relatively rare and Comix - A History of Comic Books in America was a key tome for the home library. I checked a copy out of my local library many times, and I still remember getting my very own copy in a little used book store in Ashville, North Carolina.
Daniels wrote more comic book histories, notably sweeping looks at both Marvel and DC, but it's that first one from the now musty days of the early 70's which left its mark here.
Here's a nice interview with Daniels from 1995. Here's a quote from the interview:
And in fact, I did one earlier; my first book ever was a history of comics, a general history. It was called Comix, A History of Comic Books in America. That was in 1971. And that was to some extent based on my concerns, which you've been touching on earlier, about censorship, and the fact that when I was a boy in the 1950's, the horror comics were more or less banned in the United States; something that I'd been reading, specifically the EC comics Tales From The Crypt and its sister publications, like Vault of Horror and Haunt of Fear. I liked comics as a form; when I was a small boy, again, I used to draw my own little comics and I thought, maybe I would get involved in that but I'm not much of an artist, and at the time I thought that you had to be able to write and draw them both, only later I realised. But rather than ever going into comics, in terms of writing, I just have this sort of sideline now of being a 'comics historian', in addition to writing the novels.
Rest in peace Mr.Daniels.