Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It’s 75 years of DC Comics soaring through the sky at 1000mph!
Good vs. Evil, the hero and the villain with double identities and superhuman powers, battling it out for justice and the sake of the humanity: the story-line that has captured the imaginations of generations for almost a century. In 1934 Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson founded DC Comics, a publishing house that would go on to produce some of the world’s most adored characters, from Batman and Superman to Wonder Woman and Spirit. To celebrate DC’s 75th birthday, Taschen have published the ultimate XL edition of DC comic book history, written by superhero in his own right, Paul Levitz. The epic book features in excess of 2,000 images including original covers, illustrations, photographs, film stills and collectibles, reproduced for your viewing pleasure using the latest technologies. Something of an authority, Levitz worked with DC for thirty-eight years, as well as editing and publishing The Comic Reader, editing the Batman titles and writing over 300 other stories. As well as stunning imagery, the volume maps the journey of DC with year-by-year timelines folding out to nearly four feet, biographies of heros and heroines and essays by Levitz.
To coincide with Taschen’s release of the book, i-D Online stole a few precious moments with Benedikt Taschen himself, a great comic book fan, who started out running a small comic book store in Cologne in 1980.
Going back to Taschen Comics in 1980, why did you start as a comic book store? Why comics at all, what excited you about them? As a boy I started to fall in love with Donald Duck. But only the DD drawn by a special artist, but since it was Disney there was no other credit. So I thought of him as the “good” Disney artist since I was lacking a name. Later I found out it was Carl Barks. Anyhow, I went twice, three times a day to thrift shops around Cologne hunting for old comicbooks. I thought I would be the only one doing this in Germany but was proofed wrong when I discovered there was a whole market out there with thousands of desperate collectors looking to find their treasure which reminded them of their childhood. So I turned into a dealer, first with a little mailorder-catalogue, then, after school, with my store in Cologne.
What was your favourite comic book growing up? And your favourite superhero? Donald Duck by Barks, Little Nemo by Winsor McCay, Crumb, Will Eisner – maybe all the usual subjects plus some oddballs, like Eric Stanton. My favourite super hero is possibly early Batman by Bob Kane. Love the woodcut look and structure and narration.
In terms of the book, why DC and not Marvel? DC asked us a while ago and somehow I felt flattered and thought that might be a good idea, back to the roots! If Marvel asked us we would be happy to do the same for them. Plus Disney. But I guess it’s the same company anyhow by now.
Who do you think would win in a fight between Batman and Superman? Serious question?!
What are your top 10 superhero costumes? A lot of them are pretty classic and didn’t go out of fashion. Top ten I don’t know. What would I wear if I had the body for it?
75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking is released nationwide 22 November. Pre-order your copy now from taschen.com