cover image The Golden Age of DC Comics: 365 Days

The Golden Age of DC Comics: 365 Days

Les Daniels. ABRAMS, $29.95 (744pp) ISBN 978-0-8109-4969-0

Although old-style comic books may never be as big as they were between the late 1930s and mid '50s, the continued popularity of their characters is evident by their frequent appearances in movies and in television. This boldly constructed retrospective is full of nostalgia and humor, and will entice old collectors and casual fans alike to flip through its pages again and again. The extreme close-ups of the selected panels force readers to examine every background detail, and the irregular cropping keeps the eye straining for as much information as possible. The accompanying authors' comments hint at what is special about the art and enjoin readers to see merit even in the often goofy captions (when discussing a strip about femme fatales, for instance, the authors proclaim, ""They don't write dialogue like this anymore: 'A strange person! Eclipse was her name, and Eclipse her nature!' To which Blackhawk replies: 'And finally she eclipsed--herself!'""). Striking cover and binding art, coupled with the volume's unusual shape and heft, will attract attention, as will the back cover, which features ads for such staple comic book products as whoopee cushions, boomerangs and model airplanes. Printed on glossy black paper that is a wonderful contrast to the color-saturated panels, the text offers a mixture of information about the characters, historical tidbits on the comics and wry commentary on the artwork and plot points. The big heroes and heroines such as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are covered, as are their sidekicks and villains, but so are failed characters, short-lived ideas and the funny animal characters that were used as fillers. This coffee-table book is too much fun for readers to peruse just one page a day.