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The Golden Age of DC Comics: 365 Days Hardcover – November 3, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
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 dont write dialogue like this anymore: A strange person! Eclipse was her name, and Eclipse her nature! To which Blackhawk replies: And finally she eclipsedherself!"). Striking cover and binding art, coupled with the volumes 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.
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About the Author
Les Daniels is the author of the official histories of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, as well as DC Comics: A Celebration of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes and Abrams' Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics. Chip Kidd is an award-winning graphic designer and author of The Cheese Monkeys. His work has been featured in Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Time, Graphis, and Entertainment Weekly. Geoff Spear's award-winning photographs have appeared in magazines such as Vogue, Entertainment Weekly, GQ, and Newsweek, and in numerous books on comics.
Top customer reviews
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Overall I found this to be an OK book. In the up side, it contains some interesting information and some wonderfully images from the Golden Age. On the down side, however, for all the books large size, it really contains very little. The pictures are mere snippets, and the information a sentence or two.
So, it’s a good book, an interesting book, but not much more.
What I liked about the art in this book is that though some of the images are familiar, they are presented in a new way... Yes, you'll see the cover of Action Comics #1,Detective Comics #27, and Sensation Comics #1 again, but you'll see them in a cropped format... All the art in the book is cropped,sometimes drastically. Sometimes it's cropped to a single panel and other times the art is cropped for dynamic effect paying no attention to where the panels or the cover indicates you should look... For example, instead of seeing the entire famous cover depicting Superman lifting a car over his head, you'll see it cropped close to the terrified face of the man fleeing the scene (all you see of Superman is his legs).
However the absolutely best thing about the art in this book (in my humble opinion) is all the images that you don't normally see... Besides the few well-known images from the Golden Age,there are so many pages of illustrations that I had never seen!
There was only one thing I didn't like about the book, and that was the paper... The pages are the slick, glossy pages like they use in modern comics... I've never liked those pages. I'm afraid to touch them because every time I do, I leave visible fingerprints on them. It would have been really neat if they had used the newsprint type paper that was used in the Golden Era, but I suppose I can't have everything.
Graphic designer Chip Kidd has set up the book not as a stuffy museum piece of days past, but as an explosion of Americana. Vibrant and alive, the pages burst with excitement and fun. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and others are alive again as our parents or grandparents first saw them. It is quickly obvious why these characters inspired generation after generation, and are still alive and well today in the American consciousness.
Les Daniels does a superb job, as always, of summing up a character's history and importance, but has fun at the same time. Wit and sly commentary on Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Robin the Boy Wonder line these pages. If there is a `comics historian' out there, Daniels is it. And never is it more obvious than in this book, where he comments not only the big characters such as Superman and Batman, but on the smaller characters, the ones long-forgotten, and the myriad of villains.
And for one more bit of fun, the back cover of the book is a display of the ubiquitous advertisements of the day. Everything from X-ray glasses to whoopee cushions, all for just pennies!
Recent movies of Superman, Batman, and the like show that these characters of a by-gone era (and books like this) are still a constant gift and joy in America today. The Golden Age of DC Comics - 365 Days is a delight.