This is one absolutely stunning edition of the early days of DC Comics. That is, if you are interested in the history, the concepts, the authors, the many inventors and most of all the legacy of the great comic artists at DC Comics. Then the heavy volume may just be what you have been looking for.

The author Pa-002ul Levitz, a comic book fan, editor and publisher of The Comic Reader, editor of the Batman titles and others, writer of over 300 stories-including an acclaimed run on Legion of Super-Heroes and a DC Comics executive compiled this early history of the adventures of Superman, Wonder Woman, Sandman, The Spirit, Hop Harrigan, The Flash, Starman, Johnny Thunder and their many, well, co-workers.

Together with the “other” big comic book landmark, Marvel, DC Comics have forever changed the role, appearance and overall influence of the comic book as a combination of detective story, mystery tale, science-fiction, crime novel, western story, romance, adventure tale and war story.

The genre of the comic book has a long and, occasionally, very difficult and notwithstanding problematic history; there were times when those works of art were not only considered as trash, but art of a virtual communist propaganda and a threat to the youth of America.

The comic book at times even was an endangered species, public burnings of the precious volumes actually did happen, as did replacements of “bad” comic books with “wholesome” ones.

Before that, in wartime, the Superheroes (and the publishers) naturally supported the war effort with a number of new individuals fighting the Japanese and, first of all, Hitler who was often given a good spanking in the stories. The comics helped to promote enlistment and were instrumental in selling war bonds, thus, they actually had some political influence.

So what we get here are not only many, many, many, many and many more pages, title pages, film stills, splash pages, story lines but also a number of rare sketches, unfinished raw designs and most of all a very detailed “inside” story of National Comics, or Detective Comics Inc. or as we know it now, DC Comics.
It is quite thrilling to see all the original cover pages of Superman, actually the first ever Superhero to have its own series, and the many others, today mostly vanished comic book editions of Star Spangled Comics, Action Comics, All-American Comics, Funny Stuff, World’s Finest Comics, Frontier Fighters, Western Comics, Mr. District Attorney, Sensation Mystery, Weird Fantasies or Our Fighting Forces.

And there is more: six pages of interview with artist Joe Kubert († 2012), legendary member of DC Comics for seven (!) decades, co-inventor of The Hawkman and Sgt. Rock to name but a few.

Editor Paul Levitz is also the author of 75 Years of DC Comics – The Art of Modern Mythmaking, a giant 720 large-scale pages book that was presented the 2011 Eisner Comic Industry Award for Best Comics-Related Book of the Year. The current volume – covering the years 1935-1956 – is largely based on the Award-winning book.

DC Comics are responsible for more than one million printed comic book pages, hours of movies and dozens of animated Superhero series and cartoons. The Superheroes have earned their place in popular culture.

DC Comics “are to blame.”

We are grateful. Thank you!

This review covers the edition in German; the title is also available in English and other languages.
The publisher has announced at least two follow-up editions, each dealing with the next decade and future generations of artists.

Review by Dr. A. Ebert © 2013

Paul Levitz. The Golden Age of DC Comics 1935-1956. Taschen, 2013, 416 p., ISBN 978-3836535755