Thursday, February 3, 2011

DC Comics Year By Year

I was thrilled this holiday season when Mrs. Anj bought me the DC Year by Year: A Visual Chronicle.

As a DC Comics fanatic, this really was a great book. As the title suggests, the book reviews each of DC’s 75 years, showing the year’s highlights and even saying what month each event occurred. It comes in a nice slipcase box and has an unbelievable Ryan Sook cover which has Sook’s take on many of the biggest DC moments. Why Sook isn't on a monthly ... or at least doing covers ... is beyond me. That guy has serious talent.

Anyways, spanning from the 30's to late 2010 and loaded with great pictures and commentary, it is a great book. And, happily, it does a nice job handling Supergirl's place in the DC universe.

My apologies for some of the blurry scans. Scanning inner page parts of a big book is tricky.

First off, from May 1959, Supergirl's initial appearance in Action Comics #252.

That year also had the first Hal Jordan Green Lantern appearance in Showcase and the Suicide Squad's first story.

Next, in November 1972, we have the first solo Supergirl title's release. It is a shame that the three years she headlined Adventure Comics only gets a mention. And in the same vein, it is odd that this 10 issue run is highlighted instead.

1972 was a great year, We had the release of Swamp Thing, Kamandi, and the Demon.

In  November1982, we had the release of The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl. It might be nostalgia more than anything but I still love this series. Supergirl really acted like a solo hero here, an independent and confident young woman.

1982 had other great moments as well. Firestorm and Swamp Thing had new titles released. Teen Titans were just on fire with the introduction of Brother Blood and Komand'r.Camelot 3000 came out with stunning Brian Bolland art. And, my personal favorite moment, The Great Darkness Saga ran in the Legion.

Of course, 1985 had the release of Crisis on Infinite Earths. And October 1982 had the release of Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 and the death of Supergirl. Crisis still resonates today 25+ years later! And the Supergirl image is the image of that series.

Outside of all the unreal moments of Crisis, 1985 also had the introduction of Superboy-Prime, the release of the first Who's Who, and thefirst appearance of John Constantine to the DCU in Swamp Thing.

It felt like forever, but it only took DC 3 years to bring back a Supergirl character. In April 1988, the Matrix Supergirl was thawed out of the ice of Antarctica, leading to the famous 'pocket universe' storyline.

While Matrix wears my favorite version of the Supergirl, those early years with the character were pretty rough.

1988 was a prolific year. The Hellblazer title came out ... and is still chugging along. I love those early Delano stories. We also had Grant Morrison's Animal Man! And the DC reprint of V for Vendetta. And the Death in the Family Batman story. And the Killing Joke came out! What a great year!

It took 8 more years before Supergirl got her own title again. It was August of 1996 that this original take on Supergirl got published.

This time, Peter David took the concept of the Matrix Supergirl and put it on its head, fusing her with a troubled young girl named Linda Danvers and taking 'the two who are one' down a path that was as philosophical as it was super-heroic. David also infused it with as many Supergirl Easter Eggs he could. Love it or hate it (and I loved it), it was innovative.

Some of the highlights of 1996 include the release of Kingdom Come (fantastic!), Superman getting married, and the somewhat idiotic DC vs Marvel mini-series. Lobo losing to Wolverine? Wonder Woman losing to Storm?

The last Supergirl-centric entry in the book is from October 2005 and the release of the latest Supergirl series.

It's not that long ago ... but 2005 was a busy year too.Morrison's Seven Soldiers story and mini-series were released (some were hits, some were misses). The Waid/Kitson Legion reboot came out and would soon be headlined by Supergirl. And Infinite Crisis began, changing how people look at Alex Luthor and Superboy Prime forever.

I love this book and thumb through it every so often. It's cover price is $50, but that's what online 40% off coupons are all about. It is a treasure trove of info for a DC fan.


Daniel Wallace said...

Great review! I'm one of the people who wrote DC Comics Year by Year. I handled the Golden Age section, so that was before Supergirl came into the picture, but I'm really happy with the way the whole package came together. I posted a bit about writing the book on my blog here:

Greg said...

People tend to think that Constantine first appeared in the DCU in Swamp Thing 37, but he actually had a cameo in Swamp Thing #25 (1984). He also had another published appearance in between those two issues. Find out where that was on the home page of

Anj said...

I handled the Golden Age section, so that was before Supergirl came into the picture, but I'm really happy with the way the whole package came together.

Thanks for the post.

I loved the whole book. I especially liked reading about the inceptions of all the Golden Age heroes. You should be happy with how it came out. It is a really great book.

Diabolu Frank said...

I considered buying this for $25 at a sale, but the stupid writers used Wikipedia as a reference, and actually referred to Scipio's make-believe Martian Manhunter home town "Apex City." I'm not paying for lazy misinformation on Middletown!