Author: Paul Levitz
Just look at the size of this beast (Look left!). At this size, running in at over 700 Pages, with full colour scans of images from the birth of DC to modern day as well as some very helpful text along the way you can be guaranteed of both Quantity and Quality.
As stated this is text heavy as well as including a multitude of photography, comic book cover reproductions; not to mention images varying across rough sketches, character panels, toy and games shots and so on.
The focus does remain almost fully on the comics and graphic novels. The birth of characters along the way and the reception they got, and the changes they made through their evolution. There are mentions of TV shows, cartoon series and the movies, but they are fairly brisk in the mention of these. This book should be mainly for the comic fans.
So let’s take a look at the layout. The book is essentially divided up into chapters by timeline. Starting with The Stone Age (which runs around 40 pages) and then moving to The Golden Age (around 200 pages); The Silver Age (around 200 pages); The Bronze Age (over 100 pages); The Dark Age (around 80 pages); The Modern Age (70 pages); The Digital Age (a short afterward).
Each of these sections starts with a double page hard card divider chapter opener (like in the above image). The text goes into the era it is exploring before getting more technical with specific aspects of that genre. But they also come with fold out timeline charts that (again, fully illustrated) layout the major events that happened within those eras.
Now as you can see some eras get more space than others. It’s perhaps only surprising with the latter chapters as there is perhaps just as much to say about the 80’s and 90’s as well as the Golden era. But they still have substantial input, so it is almost like nitpicking.
Sure if I wanted to pick holes then I might point at a few of the blank spaces on some pages where they could have easily slipped in a few extra scans. But cramming and condensing is hardly what Taschen had in mind when they were putting this book together. It’s nothing short of a mammoth effort that deserves every award it gets (And it already has an Eisner award to its name!). You’d be hard pressed to find anything of this weight again – maybe they will update this in 25 years time for the big 100!