Author:Mark Gruenwald, Peter Sanderson/Various
These two books are the definitive history of the respective universes up to the dates of these volumes. The original issues were published 1985-1988 for the Marvel book and 1985-1989 for the DC.
The Marvel volume collects issues 1-20 of the original run. 1-15 take you from the Abomination to Zzzax and appendices, 16-20 are the Marvel Book of the Dead (yes occasionally Comic Book characters die, in fact 5 issues worth). The DC volume is from the Definitive Directory 1-26, an update from 1987 1-5, a further update from 88 1-4 and all the annuals from 1989.
Both books use a similar layout, usually a single page for the character but extra pages for the more important ones. Also there are maps,diagrams and charts of Buildings,Islands, Countries and Weapons. With each description you get the vital statistics of the character, height, weight, powers, strength, nationality, criminal status, first appearance, current whereabouts. And then a potted history, usually a few paragraphs but running to several pages for the more important characters.
Both volumes are beautifully bound and printed with fantastic illustrations and contributions by some of the biggest names in the business. Kirby, Ditko, Miller, Romita Sr & Jr, Buscema, Swan and Infantinio to name a few. Of course this is only the history up to the late 80s but still a fantastic resource and wonderful to dip into.
Perhaps the Marvel book is a slightly higher quality, the paper is a bit better and it just feels nicer, for want of a better word, But the DC book is still worth every penny.
If like me you spent a large chunk of your pocket money in the 70s on Marvel and DC comics these two large (and they are very large) volumes are for you
Length of Read:Epic
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
Any Comic Book from the 30s to the 80s
One thing you’ve learned
That there are some fantastic characters in these books. I particularly enjoyed The Contemplator, Tom Thumb (deceased) Psycho-Man, Eel, Space Cabbie, Killer Moth & Zuggernaut.