Saturday, December 10, 2016

Batman: The War Years, 1939-1945

This full color anthology reprints most of the key Batman stories and covers involving World War II, most of which are nearly impossible to find in their original editions. If you do find them, they’re expensive. I once entered into a bidding with a dealer for a high grade copy of Batman # 15, with its iconic Jack Burnley cover featuring Batman with a machinegun. I lost. With an illuminating text by famous comic book scribe Roy Thomas, Batman: The War Years is a fantastic addition to your Bat-library. Roy Thomas puts the selections into perspective, and readers are treated to some of the best and wildest Golden Age Batman tales. In fact, this volume makes a nice bookshelf companion to Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years. The attraction here are the seldom reprinted war stories and war-themed covers from the pages of Batman and Detective Comics. Connoisseurs of sequential comic art will undoubtedly notice the strong influence that artists Jerry Robinson, George Roussos, Jack Burnley, Fred Ray and Dick Sprang had on the series. They not only refined the look of the series, they improved upon creator Bob Kane’s simplistic style. Of course you’ll encounter classic villains such as the Joker and the Scarecrow, and forgotten villains like professor Radium from Batman # 8. Jack Kirby gets a nod with a reproduction of his cover for Detective Comics # 65 (July, 1942) which introduced his team, The Boy Commandos, to the DC universe. Batman: The War Years is my current favorite of the anthologies that are suddenly becoming hot properties with DC Comics. Full-color reproductions are long overdue, and later on I’ll cover some of the other full-color anthologies DC is currently releasing. Other “War Years” volumes include Superman and Wonder Woman.  Meanwhile, Batman: The War Years, 1939-1945 should be on your Christmas list.

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