This week, we’ll be looking at The Best of DC Blue Ribbon Digest #10, a digest-sized collection of comics published by (you guessed it!) DC Comics in 1981.
Cover price is .95 cents… I paid $4 dollars.
I know what you’re thinking: $4 bucks is kind of a big purchase for me book-wise, you’re right! When I’m at thrift stores, I mainly stick to lower priced paperbacks. I found I couldn’t resist this one, mark-up be damned.
DC Comics got out of the digest business in the mid 1980’s but for years, digest sized presentations of their comics were a regular feature at newsstands and grocery stores across the country. These days, Archie Comics is the last company standing in regards to the digest… and there’s a very definite reason for that. Most Archie comics are meticulously drawn in a house style pioneered by cartoonist Dan DeCarlo. Comics drawn by the company today match DeCarlo’s style from the 1960’s. This gives Archie Comics a wealth of back catalog from which to draw for their current digests.
The art and writing for superhero comics has always been a bit more faddish – trends and artistic styles come and go with the times. A Superman comic from the 1960’s looks almost nothing like a modern day Superman comic, save for some cross-generational touches (the “S” shield, the cape, and so on). While Archie can seemingly reprint stories forever with consumers being none the wiser, most of DC’s back catalog has been rendered quaint by time.
This Best of DC Digest is subtitled Secret Origins of Super-Villains and contains six stories focusing on the baddies of the DC Universe. The majority of these stories look to be drawn from DC’s Silver Age of comics but although creator credits are given, the digest doesn’t give any notation of where and when the stories come from. I found this to be somewhat annoying but it makes sense given the time this book was published that this information would not have likely been at the forefront of reader’s minds. Some Googling does reveal the sources of these books and I’ll include them in my appraisals, but as far as I can tell, the first comic story in the collection is original to this digest.