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75 Years Of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking

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Super heroes from the Atom to Zatara: 75 years of DC Comics In 1935, DC Comics founder Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson published New Fun No. 1, the first comic book with all-new, original material—at a time when comic books were mere repositories for the castoffs of the newspaper strips. What was initially considered to be disposable media for children was well on its way t Super heroes from the Atom to Zatara: 75 years of DC Comics In 1935, DC Comics founder Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson published New Fun No. 1, the first comic book with all-new, original material—at a time when comic books were mere repositories for the castoffs of the newspaper strips. What was initially considered to be disposable media for children was well on its way to becoming the mythology of our time—the 20th century’s answer to Atlas or Zorro. More than 40,000 comic books later, in honor of the publisher’s 75th anniversary, TASCHEN has produced the single most comprehensive book on DC Comics, in an XL edition even Superman might have trouble lifting. More than 2,000 images—covers and interiors, original illustrations, photographs, film stills, and collectibles—are reproduced using the latest technology to bring the story lines, the characters, and their creators to vibrant life as they’ve never been seen before. Telling the tales behind the tomes is 38-year DC veteran Paul Levitz, whose in-depth essays trace the company’s history, from its pulp origins through to the future of digital publishing. Year-by-year timelines that fold out to nearly four feet and biographies of the legends who built DC make this an invaluable reference for any comic book fan.


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Super heroes from the Atom to Zatara: 75 years of DC Comics In 1935, DC Comics founder Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson published New Fun No. 1, the first comic book with all-new, original material—at a time when comic books were mere repositories for the castoffs of the newspaper strips. What was initially considered to be disposable media for children was well on its way t Super heroes from the Atom to Zatara: 75 years of DC Comics In 1935, DC Comics founder Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson published New Fun No. 1, the first comic book with all-new, original material—at a time when comic books were mere repositories for the castoffs of the newspaper strips. What was initially considered to be disposable media for children was well on its way to becoming the mythology of our time—the 20th century’s answer to Atlas or Zorro. More than 40,000 comic books later, in honor of the publisher’s 75th anniversary, TASCHEN has produced the single most comprehensive book on DC Comics, in an XL edition even Superman might have trouble lifting. More than 2,000 images—covers and interiors, original illustrations, photographs, film stills, and collectibles—are reproduced using the latest technology to bring the story lines, the characters, and their creators to vibrant life as they’ve never been seen before. Telling the tales behind the tomes is 38-year DC veteran Paul Levitz, whose in-depth essays trace the company’s history, from its pulp origins through to the future of digital publishing. Year-by-year timelines that fold out to nearly four feet and biographies of the legends who built DC make this an invaluable reference for any comic book fan.

30 review for 75 Years Of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    This is nothing short of a DC Comics Smithsonian Museum in a box. Not an exhibit. A Museum. It is 3.5" thick. It weighs something like 18 pounds. It comes with a box which functions like a briefcase. There is a handle. The book itself is worth every penny of it's $200 sticker price. I will be exploring this thing for the rest of my life. This is nothing short of a DC Comics Smithsonian Museum in a box. Not an exhibit. A Museum. It is 3.5" thick. It weighs something like 18 pounds. It comes with a box which functions like a briefcase. There is a handle. The book itself is worth every penny of it's $200 sticker price. I will be exploring this thing for the rest of my life.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    This book is just fantastic! A perfect book for a DC comics fan, and filled with not only history about comic books, but history about the changes in society over the 75 years covered. A social history that was reflected in the way comics were produced and told their stories. Levitz does a remarkable job in bringing this all together, keeping it interesting, readable and getting to the heart of the industry and of the comic books themselves. The book is huge in dimensions and weight, but by givi This book is just fantastic! A perfect book for a DC comics fan, and filled with not only history about comic books, but history about the changes in society over the 75 years covered. A social history that was reflected in the way comics were produced and told their stories. Levitz does a remarkable job in bringing this all together, keeping it interesting, readable and getting to the heart of the industry and of the comic books themselves. The book is huge in dimensions and weight, but by giving in to those dimensions itdoes justice to its subject and does justice to the reprinted material that it shows. Any fan of DC Comics would love this book! As I said, just fantastic!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Williwaw

    I checked this out from my local library. It weighs 16 pounds. It's the Godzilla of books about comic books! It fit snugly into my bike bag, almost as if the bag had been designed to carry it. Someone said (I can't remember where I saw this) that this book is not a "coffee table book"; instead, it is the table. Unless you are Shaquille O'Neil (sp?), you cannot comfortably balance this book on your lap. (There's a good reason the book comes with a carrying case.) Once I had a look at it, it was ha I checked this out from my local library. It weighs 16 pounds. It's the Godzilla of books about comic books! It fit snugly into my bike bag, almost as if the bag had been designed to carry it. Someone said (I can't remember where I saw this) that this book is not a "coffee table book"; instead, it is the table. Unless you are Shaquille O'Neil (sp?), you cannot comfortably balance this book on your lap. (There's a good reason the book comes with a carrying case.) Once I had a look at it, it was hard for me to resist purchasing it. It's more of a picture book than anything else. But it does have substantive chapters on the different eras of comic books and pre-comic book media. Each chapter has a fold-out timeline, followed by a generously illustrated narrative. Although the focus is D.C. and its corporate precursors, the narrative includes important developments and contributions by other publishers and other media, like newspapers, film and radio. The bulk of the book, however, consists of reproductions of comic book covers, interior panel sequences, and original art, with plenty of full-page spreads. There are multi-paged sequences devoted to specific artists. There's a decent subject index, a biographical index, and a bibliography in back. The images have not, as far as I can tell, been touched up. So if the original cover or interior art has been dog-eared, chipped, smudged, or creased, it shows up. And I like it that way: fidelity to the original, time-worn artifact. If you love comic-book art and seriously oversize books, this one's for you!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Orren Merton

    This book isn't a narrative novel, although it does have a narrative history running through it. It's a history book, although it's history is clearly (and proudly) shaped by the writer, who was a participant in that history. And it's an art book, although it contains lots of elements beyond that of a standard art book. This book really does attempt to give you a feel of 75 years of DC Comics histories, with a very readable narrative throughout it's 800 pages coupled with full color artwork, mem This book isn't a narrative novel, although it does have a narrative history running through it. It's a history book, although it's history is clearly (and proudly) shaped by the writer, who was a participant in that history. And it's an art book, although it contains lots of elements beyond that of a standard art book. This book really does attempt to give you a feel of 75 years of DC Comics histories, with a very readable narrative throughout it's 800 pages coupled with full color artwork, memorabilia, notes, quotes, you name it. It's a real work of art unto itself, a wonderful testament to both DC Comics and pop culture as a whole. This isn't a cheap book, but gorgeous art rarely is. If you are interested in both the "then" and "now" of DC Comics, in a gorgeous work of living history, and in a narrative that does the material and the players justice, this is the one.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Philip Cosand

    Everything you ever needed to know about DC, and then some, in one mammoth book. From the early days of National and All-American Comics up until the pre-52, Blackest Night, and Geoff John days, Levitz covers it all. Most importantly, he covers it all with humor and with insights that only a true comics veteran could insert. To break up the towering 720 pages, hundreds of images are inserted and captioned. Not only covers of famous comics, but strips, toys, and ads. Make no mistake, trying to lear Everything you ever needed to know about DC, and then some, in one mammoth book. From the early days of National and All-American Comics up until the pre-52, Blackest Night, and Geoff John days, Levitz covers it all. Most importantly, he covers it all with humor and with insights that only a true comics veteran could insert. To break up the towering 720 pages, hundreds of images are inserted and captioned. Not only covers of famous comics, but strips, toys, and ads. Make no mistake, trying to learn, read, and pour through all that is contained in this humongous book is an effort. But Levitz makes it one that is entirely rewarding, educational, and yes, tremendously fun.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Lambert-Maberly

    This was terrific--can't give 5 stars (didn't make me cry, for instance), but it was a beautifully-produced book, huge, with an almost-perfect balance of text and illustration (I'd have liked just a smidge more text--25% more would have been idea). It's tall, it's wide, it's thick, it's filled with information and art--when I can imagine all the alternatives to this, most of them are disappointing. They did a great, great job. (Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent re This was terrific--can't give 5 stars (didn't make me cry, for instance), but it was a beautifully-produced book, huge, with an almost-perfect balance of text and illustration (I'd have liked just a smidge more text--25% more would have been idea). It's tall, it's wide, it's thick, it's filled with information and art--when I can imagine all the alternatives to this, most of them are disappointing. They did a great, great job. (Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking for myself so end up with a lot of 4s).

  7. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Working my way thru this book all summer, finally finished this past week. I was hoping for a bit of behind the scenes dirt, but instead got a thorough look into the history of the comics company responsible for Superman, Batman, et al. by someone who was behind the scenes (writer, editor, president, publisher) since the mid-70s. The fine production of the artwork that fills the book is worth the hefty price tag alone, but Levitz's prose goes a long way explaining the milestones along the way. Th Working my way thru this book all summer, finally finished this past week. I was hoping for a bit of behind the scenes dirt, but instead got a thorough look into the history of the comics company responsible for Superman, Batman, et al. by someone who was behind the scenes (writer, editor, president, publisher) since the mid-70s. The fine production of the artwork that fills the book is worth the hefty price tag alone, but Levitz's prose goes a long way explaining the milestones along the way. The timelines that end each chapter are a great help in putting everything in context.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ricardo Loureiro

    A massive (in every aspect) treasure trove of curios, trivia, faithfull reproductions and assorted information on 75 years of one of the most important comics publishing house from the pen of one of it's presidents this book leads the way on how a historical retrospective should be addressed. Divided by the now standard "ages" (golden, silver, bronze, dark and modern, with a foray into proto-stone age) this mammoth volume gives us the lowdown on every aspect of DC Comics, leaving no page unturned A massive (in every aspect) treasure trove of curios, trivia, faithfull reproductions and assorted information on 75 years of one of the most important comics publishing house from the pen of one of it's presidents this book leads the way on how a historical retrospective should be addressed. Divided by the now standard "ages" (golden, silver, bronze, dark and modern, with a foray into proto-stone age) this mammoth volume gives us the lowdown on every aspect of DC Comics, leaving no page unturned. Highly recommended.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    This book is fourteen pounds of pure love. Considerably richer than DC's previous coffee-table history book (at 60), with numerous rare photos and production stills. A gem for any fan. This book is fourteen pounds of pure love. Considerably richer than DC's previous coffee-table history book (at 60), with numerous rare photos and production stills. A gem for any fan.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Annette McIntyre

    An interesting book that covers the history of DC comics, its characters, artists, writers and editors.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Robert Greenberger

    Having been an old friend of Paul Levitz and a staffer at DC Comics for over a quarter of the history covered here, I come at this with a unique perspective. First, the sheer size and weight of the book can be daunting but the gorgeous production design, for which Taschen is known, is perfect for comics. Paul neatly traces the origins of what is today's DC and the book is broken into sections to explore the ages. Each section has a double-gatefold timeline that is fairly exhaustive and does a sw Having been an old friend of Paul Levitz and a staffer at DC Comics for over a quarter of the history covered here, I come at this with a unique perspective. First, the sheer size and weight of the book can be daunting but the gorgeous production design, for which Taschen is known, is perfect for comics. Paul neatly traces the origins of what is today's DC and the book is broken into sections to explore the ages. Each section has a double-gatefold timeline that is fairly exhaustive and does a swell job putting things into perspective. Each section has text that introduces the players, events, and titles that shaped the era then the gatefold, followed by page after page of covers, interior pages, photos, quotes, and ephemera that delve more deeply. However, at 750 pages, the book doesn't cover everything. A lot is said about the comings and goings of editors up toe 1980 or so but then fades away,m perhaps because the staff grew exponentially. Paul doesn't give enough credit to DC's move to expand the look and feel of the comics as they moved into offset printing, added K tones, and even the 70% tones for the Baxter paper books. Mano is entirely overlooked and the constant experimentation with formatting deserved more. Similarly, DC pioneered computer color and that's entirely absent. DC taking control over its licensing, starting with the famed 1970s property catalog, deserves more credit under Mary Moebus and her successor Cheryl Rubin. That said, for those who weren't there or only read comics for a stretch of time, there is plenty to learn and much for your eyes to feast over. It's a stunning tribute to the company at its 75th anniversary. Alas, nothing has been done since to bring things up to date.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    This book will really be on my "Currently Reading" list in perpetuity. It's a gigantic treasure trove (chest?) of all things DC Comics. At 12.5 x 3.5 x 18.2 inches, 16.9 pounds and 720 pages, this is easily the most massive book in my collection. This is more than just a doorstop, though; there are years worth of entertainment within its pages. While there are longer articles sprinkled throughout, it's not one single thread from start to finish. It's mostly a collection of comic book images with This book will really be on my "Currently Reading" list in perpetuity. It's a gigantic treasure trove (chest?) of all things DC Comics. At 12.5 x 3.5 x 18.2 inches, 16.9 pounds and 720 pages, this is easily the most massive book in my collection. This is more than just a doorstop, though; there are years worth of entertainment within its pages. While there are longer articles sprinkled throughout, it's not one single thread from start to finish. It's mostly a collection of comic book images with brief, but detailed captions for each that include credits, dates and descriptions. Most of the real estate is given to the pictures, a great percentage of which are larger than the original publication size. Most of the images are covers, pages and panels, but there are preliminary drawings and sketches. There are historic photos of readers, creators, toys, and behind the scenes of television and film. Pages seem thick and sturdy. Section heads are even thicker, with a silver foil treatment. Each section has pages that unfold to reveal timelines four pages wide. The contents are arranged chronologically with these sections: "The Stone Age", The Golden Age", "The Silver Age", "The Dark Age" and "The Modern Age". Those are followed by an afterward, a selection of biographies and a pretty extensive index. This monumental tome is not something to consume all at once, or even to follow front to back. This is a book you will continually revisit, jumping back and forth through time, discovering new little nuggets all along the way. It has a bookmark ribbon, but you may not ever use it; you can open to any page and find something of interest. Will anyone ever read the whole thing?

  13. 4 out of 5

    rêveur d'art

    As a DC fan, I loved reading this book finally. It deservedly won the 2011 Eisner Comic Industry Award for Best Comics-Related Book of the Year. I remember in 2010 I was very close to buying it, but I couldn't afford the then only large-format of the book. I decided to wait. Fast-forward and the book was finally released in a smaller format, and therefore more affordable. It's still a large book, thankfully, and it's one of my favourite books I own physically. I loved the timeline pages, especia As a DC fan, I loved reading this book finally. It deservedly won the 2011 Eisner Comic Industry Award for Best Comics-Related Book of the Year. I remember in 2010 I was very close to buying it, but I couldn't afford the then only large-format of the book. I decided to wait. Fast-forward and the book was finally released in a smaller format, and therefore more affordable. It's still a large book, thankfully, and it's one of my favourite books I own physically. I loved the timeline pages, especially, because I learned a lot from those. The chapters on the golden and silver ages were of special interest to me, because I'm delving more into those periods and reading some of the comics of that time. The biggest draw, besides the top-notch writing, is of course the excellent art. It's one of the reasons I've been perusing the book often since I got it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jdetrick

    I wish the picture that accompanies this review would give some indication of how massive this book is. Its basically a tabloid size hardcover book that clocks in at over 700 pages. Its an amazingly thorough and fascinating look at the history of DC Comics, and if you have any interest in comics, its a must read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mohammad Aboomar

    The earlier eras are more interestingly written. The book gets closer to the present it becomes more like a marketing outlet for DC materials.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rocío

    Una enciclopedia para todes les nerdes fans de DC, como yo.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kenny

    A masterpiece

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Very informative with lots of pictures and art I'd never seen before. Very informative with lots of pictures and art I'd never seen before.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ray

    If u like comics, this is a must, especially DC fans. Huge but worth every penny.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Francisco Becerra

    Breathtaking in size and scope, beautiful in its contents and design... A piece of art like no other.

  21. 5 out of 5

    James J

    massive book.I enjoyed it massively.is that a word?

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    This book took me over a year to read because it was so damn huge. Size-wise, not page length.

  23. 5 out of 5

    William C. Smith

  24. 5 out of 5

    John

  25. 4 out of 5

    Damjan

  26. 5 out of 5

    Pavol Magic

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  28. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Smith

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Kirillov

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Small

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