With the anticipated release of the new Superman movie, DC’s status as a leader in the comic book industry remains as strong as ever, with its success only really comparable to that of Marvel. It’s testament to the power and longevity of their characters that the very same Man of Steel started it all with his first appearance in Action Comics in 1938. In between DC have further captured our imaginations with Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and countless others, not forgetting a long line of popular horror, science-fiction and teenage romance books.
The Golden Age of DC Comics by Paul Levitz and published by Taschen, concentrates on the initial period of 1935-1956 offering an in-depth visual history of a hugely influential time. With 400 pages of brilliantly reproduced classics, production photos, sketches and animation stills, Levtiz adds commentary throughout placing each in their proper cultural and historical context. An interview with legendary artist Joe Kubert starts things off, followed by hundreds of examples of work from many others including Wally Wood, Will Eisner, Jack Cole and Carmine Infantino.
This book does an excellent job of collecting a huge amount of source material and presenting it in an attractive and accessible way, making for an enjoyable and definitive reference title on an important period in comic book history. It might be thin on any serious insights into the inner workings of the DC studio, letting the work do the talking, but it’s an exhaustive collection that offers an introduction and opportunity for discovering more about these early masters of comic books, and well worth checking out.