Friday, December 10, 2010

3. Up, Up and Away!

DC Super Heroes: The Ultimate Pop-Up Book, engineered by Matthew Reinhart, Little, Brown and Company, $29.99, ages 4-8, 12 pages. Earth's mightiest superhuman heroes leap, pounce and lasso off the folds of this fantastic tribute to the DC comic universe. Reinhart, one of today's most celebrated paper engineers, captures the larger-than-life personas of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and others doing what they're famous for: Superman leaps off tall buildings with his fists raised, Batman soars off the ledge of a skyscraper in Gotham, the warrior goddess Wonder Woman flies through the clouds lashing her golden whip and the four Green lanterns shoot toward us from a massive battery as their power rings illuminate the page in green light. Of course, a hero would be nothing without his nemesis, and in one mighty leap, the Dread Lord Darkseid, reaches up out of a fiery pit on another spread to try to grab us.

In smaller fold-outs below him, Gotham's most wanted pose with smirks and jeers and, through a window two heroes become corrupted into villains. Beneath them the cosmic Anti-Monitor awakes from sleep in a rage. There's even a fold-out within one of these fold-outs, showing the Black Manta donning a pressure suit before clashing with Aquaman. In the last of six spreads, 45 famous heroes and villains fight it out in a collage that forms a towering H, and you can almost hear the words, "Bam! Yapow!"  One of those most memorable effects appears in the Batman spread. As the caped crusader folds out in 3-D, a battery-powered switch activates a Bat-Signal over Gotham. A must for any comic book fan, this is one of those books you never get too old for. Reinhart has collaborated with partner Robert Sabuda on such best-selling pop-ups as the Encyclopedia Prehistorica series as well as the phenomenal, Star Wars: Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy.

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