I’m a big fan of art books and coffee table books and I’m a sucker for just buying any kind of retro books off Amazon. The list below is the current bibliography gracing the shelves of Retromash HQ. Some are recent Amazon acquisitions, some are special acquisitions from other places like Kickstarter and some are relics from my youth.
TOYS, CARTOONS AND TV
Transformers Legacy: The Art of Transformers Packaging
Lots of nice artwork from the Transformers toys. Not 100% what I was expecting as I thought there would be more in terms of pictures of physical packing and ephemera but still a lovely book to have on the shelf for any Transformers fan.
Transformers Vault: The Complete Transformers Universe
Very nice Transformers book which has touched upon just about every area of the franchise. Some nice physical additions such as a red overlay to view someone’s power levels just like you got in the boxes.
The Unofficial Cartoon Guide to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
If you like the He-Man cartoon you need this book. Simple as that. Every episode is explained in detail. James Eatock is a legend.
The Power and The Honor Vol.1
Beautiful book made by true MOTU fans with some fantastic sketches, paintings and photos of Masters of the Universe concepts and prototypes.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History
An incredible book with pretty much everything any TMNT fan could want. Very in-depth and it also has lots of cool physical add-ons like scripts stapled to pages etc.
Totally Tubular ’80s Toys
Nice book with hundreds of toy references.
TV Cream: The Ultimate Guide to 70s and 80s Pop Culture
Great collection of memories from the classic retro site.
TV Cream Toys
Some more specific toy memories from the great TV Cream site.
Garbage Pail Kids (Topps)
This book is great. It’s even wrapped in gum wax paper. A must for any GPK fan.
Just Can’t Get Enough: Toys, Games, and Other Stuff from the ’80s That Rocked
Beautifully made. This book focusses on about 20-30 franchises but does so with warmth, humour and some gorgeous photos.
How to Draw Comics the “Marvel” Way
One of my favourite all time books. By the legendary Stan Lee and the incredible John Buscema. Made me want to be a comic book artist for most of my youth.
The John Buscema Sketchbook
Some great non-Marvel sketches and drawing tips from my favourite Marvel artist.
An essential for any Marvel fan (as well as all the Official Handbooks of the Marvel Universe of course).
Marvel Year by Year a Visual Chronicle
An amazing book filled to the brim with facts, stats and memories about the history of Marvel comics.
Drew Struzan: Oeuvre
Great collection of artwork from the legendary movie poster artist.
The Art of Star Wars
I’m not sure the original version is available any more but I got this in about 1988. Fell in love with Ralph McQuarrie’s artwork and started my interest in movie special effects and visual effects.
The Art of The Empire Strikes Back
Even more McQuarrie artwork and ILM goodies.
Industrial Light and Magic (Into the digital realm)
Another one of my favourite all time books. It’s just so big and heavy too. It felt like a tomb of magic when I was younger and got it in the 90s. Made me seriously look into wanting to get a job at ILM for many years.
The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation
To anyone who enjoys art, animation or Disney, this book is like the bible. Beautifully made and also written by a couple of legendary Disney animators. A thing of beauty.
Ready Player One
Very enjoyable novel which cleverly manages to crowbar 1000 references from the 80s into a novel about the future.
Mostly Harmless by Kate Russell
Still to read this one but it’s a novel about my favourite computer game, Elite, by a very cool BBC journalist. It’s going to be good.
Project Arcade: Build Your Own Arcade Machine
This will be my bible for the coming year as I try to build my own arcade cabinet. The depth of detail in the book is incredible.
Replay: The History of Video Games
If you’re interested in the stats and facts about the history of gaming then this book is for you.
Commodore 64: a visual Commpendium
Gorgeous book about C64 8-bit artwork designed by Sam Dyer via Kickstarter.
Sinclair vol.1 by Chris Wilkins
Informative ZX Spectrum book by Chris Wilkins on Kickstarter.
SF20: The Art of Street Fighter
Great book of beautiful art about my favourite arcade game.
I’ve not actually read any of these wrestling books yet but I’ve heard the Bret Hart one in particular is great. And the Mankind one too. I put them here because I want to build up wrestling books as a section in my book shelf. There are so many good stories to be told about the wrestling in the 70s, 80s and 90s.
Mankind: Have a Nice Day
The Stone Cold Truth
Bret Hart ‘Hitman’
Bobby the Brain
You are the Hero
Fantastic book launched on Kickstarter with everything you would want to know about the Fighting Fantasy game books by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson in the 80s.
Rad Rides: The Best BMX Bikes of All Time
I love this book. Awesome photos of BMX bikes. What more do you want?
Sneakers: The Complete Collectors’ Guide
Very cool photos of extremely cool trainers. All the classics are in there.
The Boom Box Project
Incredibly cool book about the history of the ghettoblaster. Some great black and white photos inside of cool people rocking the boom boxes and some great images of the ghettoblasters themselves.
Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe
Nice fun book with some very interesting facts about superheroes and comic books all via infographics.
Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean
I love when comic books are taken seriously as an art form and this book discusses this in depth.
There are so many other books that I have, including old Fighting Fantasy and Lone Wolf gaming books and other retro novels like several Street Hawk books and a Knight Rider book, but I’ll cover those novels and other movie novelisations in a future post.
I’m always adding to my book shelf and I’m particularly excited about the next book which will be gracing my shelf in April. This new He-Man art book sounds like it will be pretty awesome. It’s not out until April but you can still preorder it and I’ve heard that it’s going to be very good.
All the above books not only look great on the shelf but they all have either some very cool retro art or they have some real gems of information from the 80s.
Please let me know if you have any retro related books that you can recommend to me.