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powerHouse Books is pleased to announce the May 2012 release of

The Origins of American Comics

Photographs by Seth Kushner
Text and interviews by Christopher Irving
Design by Eric Skillman

Some are mild mannered geeks, others mad geniuses or street-smart city dwellers driven to action. These are the men and women behind the masks and tights of America's most beloved superheroes. But these aren't the stories of the heroes' hidden alter egos or secret identities...these are the stories of their creators! Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics gives you the truth about the history of the American comic book—straight from the revolutionary artists and writers behind them.

From the founders of the popular comics website Graphic NYC—writer Christopher Irving and photographer Seth Kushner—comes the firsthand accounts of the comic book's story, from its birth in the late 1930s to its current renaissance on movie screens and digital readers everywhere. Kushner's evocative photography captures the subjects that Irving profiles in a hard-hitting narrative style derived from personal interviews with the legends of the art, all of which is accompanied by examples of their work in the form of original art, sketches, and final panels and covers. The creators profiled include Captain America creator Joe Simon, Marvel guru Stan Lee, Mad magazine's fold-out artist Al Jaffee, visionary illustrator Neal Adams (Batman), underground paragon Art Spiegelman (Maus), X-Men writer Chris Claremont, artist/writer/director Frank Miller (Sin City, 300), comic analyst Scott McCloud (Understanding Comics), American Splendor's Harvey Pekar, painter Alex Ross (Kingdom Come), multitalented artist and designer Chris Ware (Acme Novelty Library), artist Jill Thompson (Sandman), and more.

Leaping Tall Buildings, like comics themselves, uses both words and images to tell the true story of the comic's birth and evolution in America. It is a comprehensive look at the medium unlike any other ever compiled covering high and low art, mass market work and niche innovations. It is the story of an art form and an insider's look at the creative process of the artists who bring our heroes to life.

For a preview of the book please visit:

Christopher Irving is a pop culture historian with a concentration in the American comic book. A veteran of comics history and journalism magazines like Comics Buyers Guide and multiple Eisner Award-winning Comic Book Artist (where he served as Associate Editor), Irving combines new journalism with comics history to create personality essays on comic book creators. Leaping Tall Buildings is Irving's fifth book on comic books. Irving currently edits digital comics magazine The Drawn Word.

Seth Kushner's portrait photography has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Time, Newsweek, L'Uomo Vogue, The New Yorker and others. He was chosen by Photo District News magazine as one of their 30 under 30 in 1999 and is a two-time winner of their Photo Annual Competition. Seth's first book, The Brooklynites, (with Anthony LaSala) was published by powerHouse Books in 2007. Currently, Seth is working on CulturePOP Photocomix, and profiling real-life characters on and Seth resides in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York with his wife, son and way too many cameras and comics.

Eric Skillman is a Brooklyn-based graphic designer, art director, and writer best known for his work with The Criterion Collection and his design blog, Cozy Lummox.

Comics / Graphic Arts / Non-Fiction
Hardcover, 8 x 10 inches, 240 pages, 50 full-color photographs and 80 comic panels
ISBN: 978-1-57687-591-9, $35.00

For a preview of the book please visit:

High-res scans to your specification are available upon request; scanning from the book or lifting images from the mechanical file are strictly prohibited. Mandatory credit line: From Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics photographs by Seth Kushner, text and interviews by Christopher Irving, published by powerHouse Books.

For more information, please contact Nina Ventura, Publicist
powerHouse Books, 37 Main Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Tel: 212-604-9074 x118, Fax: 212-366-5247, email:

© Copyright 2012 powerHouse Books