The Greatest 1950's Stories Ever Told - DC Comics
Another library find. This is a collection of various DC Comics from the 50s, from the superheroes I grew up with (Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman) to more fantasy-type characters (Shining Knight, Viking Prince) to manly soldier-types without any superpowers (Sgt. Rock, Blackhawk, Challengers of the Unknown). There's even one romance story thrown in, for good measure, a melodramatic piece about a girl who always gets her sister's hand-me-downs. None of the stories included were ones that I had read before, which was a pleasant surprise. From Congo Bill's encounter with alien gorillas to Superman's woman dilemma (Lana Lang and Lois Lane compete for his attention), the stories are highly entertaining, and are definitely from another era. So many of the characters have flimsy disguises (the Black Cougar manages to put temporary yellow dye on his black hair), and the attempts to offer more "scientific" explanations are sometimes laughable (as when Batman and Robin make an electromagnet with their portable radios, thus preventing themselves from landing on some deadly spikes).

Though the dialogue isn't all that great, the proofreading (for spelling and punctuation errors) is a deal better than many comics I read these days. In one story, Superman even tracks down some criminals because they misspelled "stationery" on their truck! Good luck doing that today. The stories are generally improbable and unbelievable, but most of them are a lot of fun. My only real complaint was that the book was too short—surely there were more great stories in the 1950s?

Fed to jonathan's brain | August 01, 2003