Review: 75 years of DC Comics:The Art of Modern Mythmaking

75 years of DC Comics:The Art of Modern Mythmaking

Taschen books

Hardcover 720 pages!

Cover price $110

Just to start off, this is one BIG ASS BOOK!  I cannot do justice beyond that.  I will go more into that at the end.  Written by former DC lord and master Paul Levitz, this is one of the most exhaustive books on the subject of comics I have ever seen.  Mr. Levitz is one of the few left at DC that really knows where all the bodies are buried and his knowledge of the company and the history of the industry is second to none.  So is this book.  The book’s size lends to a significant portion of the overall reading experience.  I felt like the Lily Tomlin character with the oversized book sitting in the huge chair when reading this.  The thing is SO big in fact that frequent rest stops became needed as my forearms got tired

The book divides into neat sections about each of the major “ages” of comics.  The Golden age is the most detailed, which surprised me.  I would have assumed that the information and photo archives might be a little spotty that far back, but this is DC comics.  Unlike what became Marvel, DC saved everything and it shows here.  I am fairly familiar with the Golden and Silver ages, but there are stories and photos of issues and covers that i would have never expected to see.  Anyone that has read Ernie Gerber’s “Photo-journal Guide to Comics” is no doubt familiar with pictures of old covers, and that book is still THE place to go.  This book however contains the best and the largest clean reproductions of the covers I have ever seen.

The deeper into the books pages you go, the more amazing information is revealed.  It does not just talk about the comics themselves, but also deals with the movies and television shows that sprang from them and the fantastic toy lines I remember from growing up are represented here as well.  Feature pages on important creators and staff members from each era are a nice touch, but only served to leave me wanting more on the subjects.

If you are looking for a book that pokes around for the skeleton in the closet, this is not the book.  There is no mention of the decades long legal fight that Superman creators Siegel and Shuster fought for credit or any of the struggles in the 70s and 80 that eventually gave creators more rights and a greater share in the product they helped bring to life.  To be fair to this book though, why bother?  I can think of piles of books that have already covered that ground and much more like it from all over the industry, and will eventually review a couple of them here.  This book celebrates not just DC comics, but one of the 5 exclusively created American art forms.  Comics books are OURS in this country before they were adopted by any other, and that pride of ownership shines through ever page here.  From the perspective of this book, the industry has no warts or blemishes of any kind.  It is the art form we all started with as kids, rolling up and sticking in our back pockets and cherishing at the same time we abused them.  (not me, I was always anal about taking care of mine, even after I stopped collecting for value).  It celebrates the  nostalgia anyone with a memory of the old comics they had as a kid, whether they were a kid in the 30s or the 90s, should feel upon opening this book.  And it is a fantastic source of any info you may not have been exposed to back then.

Author Paul Levits looking small in comparision.

Now to the packaging.  It comes in a cardboard case that reminded me of all the Hotwheels cases you could get to carry all of your toy cars in.  A plastic handle and fold out cover to get into the thing is just amazing to start off.  Although mine was very tightly closed to start with, so opening it was a challenge to not damage the carry case.The book is 19 inches tall and 13 inches wide and weighs in at a measly 15 pounds!  This book is so large, it is difficult to read.  But who cares.  This thing makes every other book I own, and I have lots of big fat artsy books, look sad and tiny.  It is hard to find anywhere but online as it is so large that most shops would have issues stocking it.  Search it out online.  It is worth every penny!

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