Christmas is just around the corner and fortunately there a a number of great Golden Age reprints available for your favorite fan! This is the first Holiday Season I can remember where there are so many great Golden Age sets to choose from. There’s something for just about everyone, in all price ranges. So, without further ado, here’s the Golden Age of Comic Books 2010 Christmas gift giving guide.
Superman started the Golden Age, so let’s start with a great book of Superman reprints! For years, I’ve been thrilled with the Archive Editions published by DC. Year after year, they have continued to publish these great books for us die-hard Golden Age fans. I would recommend any of these volumes, the most recent being Superman Archives, volume 8. This collected edition presents the stories from Superman Nos. 30-35 (1944-1945), and showcases some classic war years covers and stories. Most notably, you’ll find the first appearance of that pesky imp, Mr. Mxyztplk (Superman #30), along with appearances of other members of Superman’s rogues gallery. If you are interested in checking out other Archives with Superman, check out the Superman in Action Comics Archives and Superman in World’s Finest Comics.
We can’t leave Batman and Robin out of the mix, and just last week DC published volume 10 of the Batman Chronicles, featuring reprints of Batman and Robin stories from Detective Comics 78 through 81, Batman 18 and 19 and World’s Finest Comics 11. I’ve mentioned the Chronicles several times in the past, as DC has committed to using this trade paperback series to reprint every Batman story from the Golden Age of Comic Books in order. This is a great and very affordable collection for any fan of the World’s Greatest Detective. The stories in this volume appeared in 1943, and many are classics. Why not buy your favorite Golden Age fan the entire set of the first 10 volumes!
For the Simon & Kirby fans out there, there are two recent volumes to choose from, each with distinctively different material.
First, DC finally got around to publishing the earliest Boy Commando stories from World War Two. In this book you find all of the Boy Commando stories from the first appearance in Detective Comics 64 (June 1942) through the spring of 1943 (Boy Commandos 2). The following Boy Commandos stories are reprinted: Detective Comics 64-72, World’s Finest Comics 8-9, Boy Commandos 1-2. There’s even a great Christmas story from Detective Comics 71, “A Break for Santa”.
For the huge Simon & Kirby fan, a “must” gift is the 478 page, Simon & Kirby Superheroes with a nice introduction by Neil Gaiman. While not exclusively featuring S&K Golden Age stories, this volume has some wonderful S&K work that has never been reprinted. In this massive volume you will find The Black Owl, Stuntman, The Vagabond Prince, Captain 3-D, Fighting American, The Double Life of Private Strong, The Adventures of the Fly and much more. This is a very cool book!
Any Golden Age horror fans out there? If so, consider the large format, The Horror! The Horror! – Comic Books the Government Didn’t Want You to Read by Jim Trombetta. This book is over 300 pages and contains some great vintage horror reprints from the likes of Murphy Anderson, Johnny Craig, Reed Crandall, Jack Davis, Steve Ditko, Bill Everett, Al Feldstein, Graham Ingles, Wally Wood, Alex Toth and many others. Not only are there a number of complete stories and covers reprinted, Trombetta has some great essays at the start of each chapter. If that isn’t enough, there is a DVD included featuring Confidential File, a rare thirty minute TV show from 1955 concerning the “evils” of comic books and their effects on juvenile delinquency. Very cool!
Let’s not forget the Timely (Marvel) fans out there! Marvel has marched on with the reprints of Marvel Mystery Comics, the latest volume (#5) being published in the last few months. Here you will find a number of never before reprinted stories from the pages of Marvel Mystery Comics Nos. 17-20 (March-June, 1941). This is classic material from some of the greats like Bill Everett, Carl Burgos, Jack Kirby, Paul Gustavson and many others. Not only are the stories and covers reprinted, but you will find a number of the Timely house ads from the period. Marvel’s Golden Age Masterworks series are first rate and look beautiful on the shelf. Why not buy the first five volumes!
Last, but certainly not least there is a fantastic new Archie Golden Age reprint book available from Dark Horse. If you are a fan of “The Mirth of a Nation”, check out this book, Archie Firsts. This collected edition features some material that has never been reprinted from the early years of Archie and his friends. The books is titled “firsts” as it contains stories from many of the #1 issues from Archie’s various magazines. You will find Archie stories from Pep Comics #22 (Archie’s first appearance in 1941), Archie Comics #1 (1942), Archie’s Girls Betty and Veronica #1 (1950), Archie’s Pal Jughead #1 (1949), Reggie Mantle’s first appearance from Jackpot Comics #5 (1942) and Archie’s Rival Reggie #1 (1949). If you want to read some vintage Archie material, this volume is for you!
Happy Holidays from the Golden Age of Comic Books!