The DC Vault: A Museum-in-a-Book with Rare Collectibles from the DC Universe! I like this even more than the Marvel Vault, which came out last year. The DC Vault has better content as far as the history of DC is concerned, starting with More Fun comics and leading up to recent history. Martin Pasko, who many longtime DC fans will remember as a key writer during the 1970s, wrote the text that accompanies the multitude of pictures and collectibles. He includes numerous typed and handwritten memos from DC Comics writers and editors that give us a fascinating inside look at how certain decisions were made.
The collectibles that are reproduced here are really, really sweet.
For starters, the cover of the DC Vault is a reproduction of Dick Sprang's "Secrets of the Batcave" lithograph that he produced in 1994. Some of the 1940s items are the Junior Justice Society Decoder Wheel, a Wonder Woman Sensation Comics button, and a Batman 1943 mask that announces the newspaper comic strip. There are some never-before seen items, like Neal Adams concept drawings for a "Superman-land" amusement park, where we could have explored the World of Krypton. A sticker reproduces the "Shazam Is Coming" button that announced Captain Marvel's 1970 comeback into the DC Universe. My favorite reproduction is the History of the DC Universe Jam Poster (shown above), where a few dozen DC artists collaborated to draw their famous characters: Carmine Infantino on the Flash, Neal Adams on Deadman, Joe Kubert on Hawkman, Walt Simonson on Manhunter, Curt Swan on Superman, etc. I had this poster when it originally came out and somehow lost it, glad to have it back now. It even has Dave Gibbons doing Rorschach, which must make Alan Moore's head spin around.
If this wasn't enough, the DC Vault contains tons of preliminary cover and character sketches. There's a really cool Hawkman concept cover sketch by Kubert, as well as a Ragman character description. Brian Bolland's pencils to one of his famous Wonder Woman covers is included. There are a number of covers which had to be altered from their original state, and Pasko speculates on the editors reasons for doing so. There's so much in here that I can't possibly describe...if you're any kind of DC fan, you need to buy this book, now. Nuff said.