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America is pretty big on its superheroes (look no further than the domestic gross of the Batman movies), but many of those characters have evolved significantly from their mid-century origins, no longer beacons of righteousness during wartime. In other genres, too, comic books no longer belong to the innocent age whence they were born. But in Britain, comics emerged for kids, and for decades remained that way.
Classic Dan Dare: Safari in Space and The Best of Roy of the Rovers: The 1970s are two collections of popular British comics that, despite their popularity at the time, never quite worked for American audiences. Both volumes show comic strips containing striking artwork, complicated characters, and even some modern story lines—-they offer an obvious appeal for adults, even though they were created for kids. Ripped from the “boys papers” of the ’50s and ’70s, the comics aren’t as sophisticated as modern-day graphic novels, but they are certainly entertaining, and have held up remarkably well. Read Mike Rhode‘s reviews of both books here.