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Collecting the Legion 008: History of the DC Universe

In honor of the recently-announced new version of "History of the DC Universe" with the Alex Ross cover, I thought I'd take a trip back to the late 80's to look at the first version: a hardcover reprint, a poster, and a portfolio.

Sporting a new Bill Sienkiewicz cover, "History of the DC Universe" was released as a hardcover in 1988, produced by Graphitti. There were 10,000 hardcover copies and 1000 limited edition signed copies. My unsigned copy has the price of $35.00. No Legionnaires on the cover, but there's new material inside. DC put a dozen essays in, written by Neal Adams, Julie Schwartz, Jerry Siegel, Bob Kane, Joe Kubert, Roy Thomas, Paul Levitz, Len Wein, Jack Kirby, Ramona Fradon, George Perez, and Frank Miller, accompanied by artwork. Levitz wrote an essay about the Legion, facing a new page by Steve Lightle.

Many of those pages of art were used in the HOTDCU Portfolio, another item to put on your list. A black-and-white version of Steve's drawing was one of the portfolio plates (included).

But wait, there's more.... DC commissioned 53 artists to do a jam poster that would be bound into the book to be unfolded. The artists included Lightle, Grell, Stevens, Kirby, Mooney, Aparo, Sienkiewicz, Kaluta, Bolland, Starlin, Kubert, Kane, Schaffenberger, Swan, Perez, Chaykin, and many more. P. Craig Russell drew the White Witch towards the upper left corner. For those lucky folks to have bought the book when it first came out, there was a card that came with it that entitled you to (buy?) a copy of that jam as a full-sized poster. Those are pretty tough to come by these days, as the offer was only good for a certain time.

The rest of the book reprints the two-volume series, which you can probably find for cover price or less these days. The Legion gets a two-page spread, followed by a page with the Heroes of Lallor, the Wanderers, the Khunds, Darkseid, and the Time Trapper. It's very dated, as it represents the state of the DCU immediately following Crisis (during that limbo time when things hadn't fully been straightened out - like Captain Atom is still in his red, blue, and silver suit that he wore at Charlton and wore for one issue of DC Comics Presents before he got a new origin and new title. But I digress...)

Which brings us up to today, and Alex Ross' new cover (with the Legion in the upper left corner).

Go Back to the Legion Collecting page
Go Back to column 7: Pick a Card, Any Card
Go Forward to column 9: A Legion Sampler