09 August 2013

Faster than a DC Bullet: Project Crisis!, Part IX: Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Compendium

Hardcover, 96 pages
Published 2005 (contents: 1986-2005)
Borrowed from the library
Read July 2013
Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Compendium
by Murray Ward, Lou Mougin, Mark Waid, and John Wells

This book comes in a slipcase with Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Absolute Edition, and this is what-- other than the larger pages-- really makes the book "absolute". There's a wealth of special features here, beginning with "Anatomy of a Crisis," Robert Greenberger's writeup (albeit uncredited in the book itself) of how Crisis on Infinite Earths was planned, replete with extracts from contemporary memos. Fascinating to see how far back it went, how it got approved-- and see the note where Jenette Kahn approved the death of Supergirl! It explains a lot of things about the book, in particular why the earlier chapters lack incident while the later ones are jam-packed with continuity references: the editors of the other books weren't into the idea... until it all started selling. Crisis was the first comics crossover event (other than Secret Wars, but everyone in here is always dissing Secret Wars), and much of what the creators resisted at the time has become de rigueur nowadays. In the wake of Flashpoint and the "New 52" especially it's amusing to read that they didn't think they could get away with starting every series over with a new #1!

Then there's "Crisis Index" by Murray Ward, Lou Mougin, and Mark Waid, which first lists the infinite Earths-- and there sure are a lot-- and then gives an issue-by-issue breakdown of character appearances. "Crisis Crossovers" tells you where all the contemporary action was that wove in and out of Crisis. I'd like to read these now: put together a collection, DC! Admirably thorough, and they even explain some of the confusing bits.

The book ends with a few features by John Wells talking about the repercussions of Crisis on DC's stories from 1985 to the present. Again, very well done. In broad strokes, one might say I knew all of the information presented in this book, but there's a wealth of detail that I had no idea about. This is the seventh absolute edition I've read (the others being the first four Sandman volumes, The Absolute Death, and The Absolute Authority), but in terms of extras, it surpasses all the others.

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