Book Review: DC Comics: The Golden Age 1938-1956

by Max Byrne
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The Folio Society is a wonderful independent publisher that’s been producing exquisite, luxurious editions of classic literary works, complete with new illustrations, that are of such a high standard that they would be at home in any art gallery around the world.

As I’m a devout worshipper of everything DC Comics related, the release of the gargantuan DC Comics: The Golden Age (1938-1956) is a certified treat and then some! This 328-page journey through time is a love letter to the Golden Age of DC Comics, an age that saw the birth of so many iconic comic creations, including the DC Trinity of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman to name but three.

The most significant comic book issues from those heady days are beautifully re-created here in an authentic, faithful fashion. Throughout the book, which comes housed in a magnificent solander box, the magic of the era lives again in 4 color printing which is the closest way to owning these treasures that the majority of people without unlimited wealth or a time machine will ever be able to achieve.

Each page of the 17 classic issues is a direct portal to a time of wonder and creativity that’s almost unparalleled, as the minds of Siegel, Shuster, Finger, Kane, Marston, and Fox birthed their legendary creations.

In addition to the big hitters, characters such as Eel O’Brian, Jay Garrick, and Alan Scott are given plenty of exposure. The origin story of Plastic Man in Police Comics #1 is a great read, as the irreverent humor of the time holds up particularly well. It provides a nice counterpoint to the earnest nature of the majority of the material on offer here.

As if the book itself didn’t contain enough great content, the box also contains a complete 68-page replica of Action Comics #1, arguably the most significant comic book ever created. The debut of Superman is a milestone like no other so holding a copy, even though it’s a replica, is a real thrill. This is an amazing addition to the package because the authenticity brought by the faded pages allows the reader to suspend their disbelief and believe that they are holding the holy grail from 1938… I know I did!

It’s fitting that the foreword is written by Jenette Khan, the former DC Editor-in-Chief. Her passion for the subject matter is very apparent, as she delves back into her own childhood to frame the history lesson that unfolds over the six pages of her essay. Almost as captivating as the vintage content, the always-engaging Khan certainly does a masterful job of teeing up the excitement levels before the main event.


The amount of care, love, and attention that’s gone into this collection is inspiring, and the price tag is certainly justified for such a prestigious publication. It’s fair to say that this is destined to become the crown jewel of any DC Comics enthusiast.

Huge thanks to The Folio Society for the review copy.

DC Comics: The Golden Age (1938 to 1956) is available to order now here.

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