DC Special Series #25 - 1981

Why DC dumped All-New Collector's Edition in favor of morphing the already-running DC Special Series is a riddle for the ages.

DCSS was an all-purpose book. During the title's run, it was used for normal-sized comcs, digests, and treasuries. Was DC saving a couple of bucks on postal registrations?

Like the previous treasury for the first movie, this souvenir album features photos, actor profiles, panel-to-scene comparisons, and pin-ups.

New for this book is ads--the first somesuch advertising to appear in a treasury comic, actually, even if it is for DC/WB related stuff. There's an ad for a Superman II phone, where you get to see a man and a woman talking to each other on respective Superman and Wonder Woman phones. Adorable.

There's also an ad for amazing wonders called...video tapes. Movies you can watch...at home? Wild!

76 pages.

Rollover the cover image to see this book's back cover!

DC Special Series #26 - 1981

Awesome all-new fun by Roy Thomas, Ross Andru, and Romeo Tanghal. This book triphammers through the crazy history of Superman, and all the...well, incredible things in his Fortress of Solitude.

In the story "Fortress of Fear", a Power Ranger-ish villain named Dominus reveals his plan to blow up the world. Supes traces the source of the world-blowin'-up as below his Fortress, and that leads him to examine his home, hopefully finding how he can stop Dominus' throwing-the-baby-out-with-the-bath-water plan.

While I think DC's later streamlining of the Superman mythos was probably a good idea, it is a shame that comic writers aren't given as much license anymore to come up with the most inventive, crazy stuff they can. There are flashbacks to stories in this book that make the Superman universe seem like the craziest, most chaotic thing ever created--robot duplicates, intergalactic zoos, Venusian Lizard-Dogs, the Cosmic Ark--this is 68 pages of crazy fun.

And you'll never guess how it ends!

Bonus! I recently came across an ad for this book in DC's "Daily Planet" feature that ran on the back cover of World's Finest #271, the September 1981 issue.

It's a little hard to see, but you'll notice that in the write-up, the book is called Superman and His Fabulous Fortress of Solitude(in all caps yet!), but the book's eventual title, Superman and His Incredible Fortress of Solitude, can be seen on the cover art right next to it. Oops!

Rollover the cover image to see this book's back cover!

DC Special Series #27 - 1981

The last of the "classic" DC treasuries. Weird team-up of Batman and the Hulk vs. The Joker and the...Shaper of Worlds??

By Len Wein and Jose Luis Garcia Lopez. this is actually a pretty good story, despite the incongruity of the main participants. I guess since Spidey and Hulk were on TV, they were Marvel's biggest stars, but wouldn't it have made more sense for Bats to team-up with Captain America? But I digress.

Like I said, Len Wein weaves these two characters storylines fairly well, and, as always, Garcia-Lopez provides superb art. Rarely does someone who draws as well as Lopez tell a story equally well, but he handles both perfectly.

And even though they're illusions, you get to see Bats and Hulk take on The Rhino, Two-Face, Killer Moth (boy is he out of his league here), The Abomination, the Scarecrow, and the Leader.

It ends with that classic, sad shot of Bruce Banner walking away (you can just hear those four sad piano notes from the show), and a behind-the-scenes page about the evolution of the cover.

68 all-new pages! Good-bye, DC treasury comics!

Rollover the cover image to see this book's back cover!

I recently bought a copy of this book as a birthday gift, and was mildly surprised to find that there were copies of this book specifically sold to the direct market, as this replacement UPC box indicates.

Within a few years, it became commonplace to have different UPC boxes depending where the book was sold, but I didn't realize DC was doing it as early as 1981.

Bonus! I recently came across this rare item, an Australian version of DC Special Series #27, although its not called that anywhere on the book itself.

Published "Federal Comics", this edition is(sadly) not treasury-sized, but standard comic dimensions. It's also in black and white and 100 pages long, and features some extra Batman stories to fill it up, like "If Justice Be Served" by Denny O'Neil and Michael Golden(Batman #303) and "The Two Faces of Midnight" by Robert Kanigher and Jim Aparo (Brave and the Bold #186, starring Batman and Ragman).

Click the image to see the original DC ad for this book plus other treasury ads!

email: namtab29@comcast.net • all characters © their respective copyright holders • site © 2011 Rob Kelly