Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Golden Bookshelf:

From the 1990s when such anthology collections were far further between and much more rare, this collection of Golden Age favorites features both writers and notable editors who have made their mark on comics history.

 

The Greatest Golden Age Stories Ever Told

 

While only a few of the thirty or more stories presented in DC’s The Greatest Golden Age Stories Ever Told live up to the grand promise of the title, this 1990 collection does a fantastic job representing the breadth and quality of two of the Golden Age of comics’ greatest publishers (DC and Quality Comics, whose characters DC later acquired).

 

The volume includes work by the top artists of the 1940s, including Simon and Kirby, Jack Cole, Reed Crandall, Jack Burley, Lou Fine, Alex Toth, Craig Flessel and Joe Shuster, on their signature strips: Boy Commandoes, Plastic Man, Blackhawk, Starman, the Black Condor, Green Lantern, the Sandman and Superman. Every story is top notch, and several, including the landmark “Superman Returns to Krypton” and “The Injustice Society of the World” featuring the JSA, are both important and enjoyable.

 

The eclecticism of collection is its real strength. In addition to the better-known characters and stories, there are tales featuring backup characters like the Vigilante, Robotman, Slam Bradley and Johnny Quick. Also interspersed throughout the volume are one-page joke strips (Sheldon Meyer’s great “Scribbly, Midget Cartoonist”) and house ads from the 1940s. Roy Thomas inevitably contributed the nostalgia-drenched introduction, but kudos belong to editor Mike Gold and his intrepid young assistants, Robert Greenberger, Brian Augustyn and Mark Waid, for pulling together such a diverse range of material.

 

The Greatest Golden Age Stories Ever Told

DC Comics, 1990

Mike Gold, editor

Stories: Joe Simon, Jerry Siegel, Gardner Fox & others

Art: Jack Kirby, Joe Shuster, Alex Toth, Lou Fine, Reed Crandall & others

HC, 290 pp., color, $24.95

Rob Salkowitz is a Seattle-based writer and authority on all manner of aging newsprint. You can e-mail your comments and queries to Rob at rob_comics@yahoo.com. Use "ComicBase" as the subject line.

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