Saturday, May 16, 2015

Review- ALL STAR COMICS ARCHIVES VOL. 0


ALL STAR COMICS ARCHIVES VOL. 0 (DC, 2006; Hardcover)

Collects All Star Comics #1, 2 (cover dates Summer- Fall, 1940)

Writers: Gardner Fox, Jon. L. Blummer, Jerry Siegel, Al Sulman, Evelyn Gaines, Ken Fitch (as William Waugh), Bill Finger, and John B. Wentworth
Artists: Sheldon Moldoff, Chad Grothkopf, Jon. L. Blummer, Everett E. Hibbard, Bernard Baily, Joseph Sulman, William A. Smith, Martin Nodell, Creig Flessel, and Stan Aschmeier

This was a big 64-page anthology series featuring many different super-heroes. I am not sure which Earth this is supposed to be or how it does or does not fit into current continuity, I just know that I love Golden Age DC.


Hawkman is awesome, as he “uses weapons of the past to battle evils of the present”. Sheldon Moldoff is one of the finest Golden Age comic book artists. The original Sandman is of course fantastic, owing much to the Pulps of the 1930s in tone and delivery. Gary Concord, The Ultra-Man is little more than a Flash Gordon retread, who himself was a Buck Rogers retread done right. The original Flash just bores me. I have no idea why. I enjoy the Silver Age reboot but the original bores me so much that I have no interest in buying the Archives of that run. 

Horrid, horrid gradient shade cheesy airbrush coloring as far as the eye can see. 

My favorite is The Spectre. The Golden Age version is the best comic of it's day, and it was the lure of stories not collected in the Golden Age Spectre Archives that had me scoop these All Star Archives when DC was liquidating them a couple of years ago. Hour-Man and Red, White And Blue are all lovable products of their time that put a smile on my face. Golden Age Comics are something of an acquired taste. They wouldn't hold up to most modern readers beyond historical significance, at least from what I gather via online comic communities.

Issue 2 has a Green Lantern story. I haven't read many Golden Age Green Lantern stories before, but the ones that I did showed him having some stupid sidekick that detracted from my enjoyment. This Alan Scott version was of course ret-conned as being gay recently, which makes him worlds more interesting. At the very least it makes it impossible to criticize the character, lest one be labeled homophobic for disliking not a character, but a gay character. My God this century and political correctness sucks.

Uh...okay. I am open minded, but I am pretty sure that everyone can agree that this is kind of sick. 

These are all fun, silly escapist reads. At the end of the day that is all that I am looking for anymore. The real world and real life are depressing enough; I don't need that clogging up my escapist hobby.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.

The OCD zone- This is one of the thinnest Archives, clocking in at 144 pages. This is because DC didn't include these issues when they launched this line 15 years earlier and fan demand caused them to add a Vol. 0 to the line, which is great.
Linework and Color restoration: Horrid gradient shades as far as the eye can see. This technique looks wrong for the era. I can't be overly harsh though, as viewing this 2006 restoration with 2015 eyes is unfair. Imagine a DVD purchased in 2006. It probably was fine at the time of purchase, and certainly on par or better with everything else that was remastered at that point in time. Fast forward to the Blu-Ray era, and it looks thin and dated with low resolution. The same can be said for remastering techniques in these books. Advances in scanning and coloring technology has allowed the books to look more authentic to the original publications, often surpassing the primitive printing techniques of the time and looking as close to the original art as possible.
I cannot tell if the linework or color palette are authentic to the original publications as I A) do not own the original comic books to compare and B) cannot find scans online to compare with this book.
Paper stock: I love the paper stock used in DC Archives of this vintage. It is a creamy, off-white matte coated stock and is perfect. Why DC has done an about face and uses glossy paper in modern day Archives is beyond me.
Binding: Smyth sewn binding, lays mostly flat.
Hardback cover notes: Faux leather casewrap with die foil stamping.
 

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