Date: 14th April, 2022

Written and Illustrated by Jon Chad
Macmillan First Second, 2022
ISBN: 9781250249210

This book is the latest publication by Illustrator and writer Jon Chad, primarily known in indie comics circles for the 21-volume Science Comics series and his collaboration with Alec Longstreth on the pinball comics zine Drop Target.

Pinball: A Graphic History of the Silver Ball by Jon Chad
Pinball: A Graphic History of the Silver Ball by Jon Chad

Pinball: A Graphic History of the Silver Ball was only available in e-book form before the agreement with Macmillan First Second to publish the book in printed hardcover format. I am not quite sure why the decision was made to publish this in hardcover, as most graphic novels I am familiar with are published in the softcover format, including the Drop Target Omnibus and the previously mentioned Science Comics series.

Part of the introduction explaining the attraction of playing pinball
Part of the introduction explaining the attraction of playing pinball

As I read through Pinball: A Graphic History of the Silver Ball I was captivated by the illustrations, which were done in, in my opinion, a similar style as Coin-Op Carnival. However, I was disappointed that the pinball history presented in the book opened relatively few new avenues of knowledge about pinball history for me.

Pinball's history as a gaming device
Pinball’s history as a gaming device

I felt that the most stimulating part of the book was chapter 6, ‘Replay,’ which covers the current state of pinball and its elements such as competition and community. I also enjoyed the discussion of pinball’s art forms such as illustration, kinetics, music, lights, animation, design, and cabinetry.

The illustration for the start of Chapter 6
The illustration for the start of Chapter 6

The appendix of the book, following the ‘History’ section, discusses player skills and playing tips that most any new to intermediate pinball player can benefit from.

The book’s final section is a glossary that expands upon what was published in DTZ Number One, which I feel is a valuable and unexpected bonus.

In conclusion, I feel the target audience for this book would be people under 40 who probably have been introduced to pinball in the last five or fewer years. The book is perhaps of less value to readers over 40 who grew up with pinball and prefer its nuances to video games.

Pinball: A Graphic History of the Silver Ball is available through major online sellers such as Amazon and AbeBooks, as well as brick and mortar booksellers such as Barnes and Noble. You can also order the book directly through Macmillan Publisher’s online store, located at us.macmillan.com.

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