Dig This Complete Gallery of Finished DC COMICS Treasury Edition 3-D Dioramas

With groovy gifs of each one!


Between the summer of 1973 and the summer of 1978, DC produced 17 table-top dioramas on the back covers of their tabloid-sized reprint series, Limited Collectors’ Edition, and one for the successor, All-New Collectors’ Edition.

While I’m sure plenty of older DC fans may have seen the back covers featuring the dioramas, I think it’s a safe guess that very few had the tenacity to assemble more than one, and even fewer have seen them all put together! Using my trusty scanner, a LaserJet printer, and plenty of 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock, I slightly resized all 18 to fit.

I made some subtle changes primarily to the color of the tabs so that they would blend in a bit better on the frame.

Much like the originals, the biggest problem was cutting them out of the cardstock. Back in the early Seventies, armed only with a pair of children’s safety scissors, I was just not dexterous enough to make the sharp turns and close cutting needed to make these devils look much like they were supposed to. Even sharper scissors were not much of a match!

I decided that now as an early sexagenarian, the time had come to give it another try and put together all 18 dioramas — yes, even those featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!

The first five (#C-21 through #C-25), as well as a Rudolph diorama later in the run, contained additional pieces to form the scene and several were horizontal in format rather than the standard vertical, so they’re not all uniform. But that’s what kept them so interesting. With a pair of incredibly sharp scissors, a trusty X-Acto blade, some perseverance, and what I’m sure was not a minimum of cursing, I began my quest!

Note: I had to do a fair amount of clean-up on the dioramas due to the condition of my copies and you’ll notice some bleed-through as I added covers on the back of the backgrounds for identification.

Here we go — a omplete gallery of DC Comics treasury edition 3-D dioramas:

#C-21 (Summer 1973) — Shazam!

Back-cover artist unknown, but the image is based on the Whiz Comics #108 cover by C.C. Beck and Pete Costanza, and Shazam! #2 by Beck, according to Fawcett historian, P.C. Hamerlinck

As a major Captain Marvel fan, I really love this one! And it didn’t hurt that it was based on C.C. Beck’s artwork. My only quibble with it was the placement of the extra piece — the BOOM cloud with lightning bolt. It was placed too high, which caused the frame to cover most of the cloud. I moved the BOOM cloud down so it can be better seen:

#C-22 (Fall 1973) — Tarzan

I really like this one and I’m not the biggest Tarzan fan. The addition of the branch between the frame and the background is a winner! The Grand Comics Database suggests that this may be by Sam Glanzman. Whoever did it, did a nice job!

#C-23 (Winter 1973) — House of Mystery

This Sergio Aragonés-produced piece starring Cain from the House of Mystery shines with an additional tombstone piece that sits between the foreground and background. And this is the only diorama that requires an extra part that doesn’t come with it — a piece of string to wrap around the dragon’s head as a leash that connects to Cain’s hand! This is a definite contender for the best diorama!

#C-24 (Christmas 1973) — Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer

The savior of this (possible) Sheldon Mayer diorama is the extra piece. Rudolph and the word balloon are much too large and overly obscure the background. It is not one of my favorites.

#C-25 (April-May 1974) — Batman

This is another contender for best diorama and I’m sure it’s 13th Dimension head honcho Dan Greenfield’s favorite. The Neal Adams piece really shines with the addition of the Batman cutout, giving it that extra layer! It’s an incredibly moody and scary piece!

#C-27 (June-July 1974) — Shazam!

Next up is another nice Shazam! diorama, this time by Bob Oksner. Billy Batson and the lightning cloud give it some extra stability and the movement is marvelous!

#C-29 (Aug.-Sept. 1974) — Tarzan

This Joe Kubert diorama is good and stable but the frame’s Tarzan image is just a bit too large. Yet it still works!

#C-31 (Oct.-Nov. 1974) — Superman

This one, based on the art of H.J. Ward, is nice, simple, and effective! Plus you’ve gotta love that Earth-Two Superman symbol!

#C-32 (Dec. 1974-Jan. 1975) — Ghosts

Sadly, this Ghosts piece is my least favorite of the dioramas and is attributed to Sam Glanzman. Sorry, Sam! The extra pieces were a nice touch but the frame image is overwhelming and is not sized properly to the background, which is a bit too short to fill the frame.


#C-33 (Feb.-March 1975) – Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Here’s another Rudolph, by Sheldon Mayer, that could have been better. The idea is great but Rudolph and the rocket are much too large.

#C-35 (April-May 1975) — Shazam!

Here’s another simple, yet effective diorama — this time featuring Captain Marvel from the TV show Shazam! For the longest time, I didn’t know who drew this but once you know it’s Mike Grell, you can spot his stylistic idiosyncrasies. Plus props for drawing Jackson Bostwick in comic book form!

#C-37 (Aug.-Sept. 1975) — Batman

I’m a big fan of Jim Aparo and his realistic approach. Here he takes on Batman and several of the Caped Crusader’s most notable rogues. It actually would have made for a good story if the Batsignal had either been taken over by this quartet or if Commissioner Gordon had decided to cut to the chase and just let Batman know whom he needed to apprehend. (Note from Dan: Actually, THIS one is my fave!)

#C-38 (Oct.-Nov. 1975) — Superman

You can’t beat a patriotic diorama with a photo of the Statue of Liberty! Who wouldn’t want to go for a ride with The Man of Steel around Lady Liberty?!? (By Curt Swan and Bob Oksner.)

#C-39 (Oct.-Nov. 1975) — Secret Origins: Super-Villains

I love face-off covers, so naturally this diorama should be a favorite, especially since the Big Red Cheese is featured. It’s weird that artist Dick Giordano chose to place the Flash and Cap next to one another since their costumes are so similar. I wish a little more care had been taken on the design because the frame isn’t sturdy due to the lack of a connection from one side to the other. I had to connect Batman and Joker and Superman and Lex Luthor to give it a bit more strength.

#C-42 (Feb.-March 1976) — Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer

This is my favorite of the Rudolph dioramas! It has an extra piece but more importantly, the design works so well as a diorama! Cheers to artists Sheldon Mayer and Tenny Henson!

#C-45 (June-July 1976) — More Secret Origins: Super-Villains

Here’s another slightly disappointing design even though the idea is cool. The speed lines have nothing to work off of, so as the image is rotated it’s just a wee bit boring. Art by Dick Giordano.

#C-48 (Oct.-Nov. 1976) – Superman vs. The Flash

It’s hard to believe now, but back in the Silver Age, the various DC heroes didn’t hang around all that much (other than in Justice League of America or team-up books). It was generally due to different editors wanting to keep their characters close to the vest, so it was always a treat when one would show up in someone else’s book. A Superman-Flash race was always exciting and, here,  it’s fun to see who is cheering for the Man of Steel and who’s cheering for the Scarlet Speedster! Plus you have to dig DC President Sol Harrison as the starter (is he a hero or villain?). Art by José Luis Garcia-López and Bob Oksner.

All-New Collectors’ Edition #C-60 (Aug. 1978) — Rudolph’s Summer Fun

Here’s another patriotic one as Rudolph flies around the Statue of Liberty! Notice how the Statue’s eyes shift position from the front cover to the back cover. It’s the last diorama and the only All-New Collectors’ Edition to feature one!

With that, I’m placing Sergio’s House of Mystery diorama in First Place with Neal Adams’ Batman piece coming in a close Second!

And here’s a 13th Dimension lagniappe — my label for the treasury box holding my DC Limited and All-New Collectors’ Editions!


— The TOP 13 TREASURY EDITIONS That Need To Be Re-Released — RANKED. Click here.

— The Brilliant Majesty of the BATMAN-RA’S AL GHUL Treasury. Click here.

A 10-year-old Walt Grogan fell in love with the Big Red Cheese thanks to essays written by Dick Lupoff and Don Thompson in the paperback edition of All in Color for a Dime, released in 1970 and bought for him by his father off a paperback spinner rack in a liquor store on the South Side of Chicago. Walt runs The Marvel Family Web Facebook page devoted to all incarnations of the Fawcett/DC Captain Marvel and blogs about Captain Marvel at shazamshistorama.com.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Nice work! Makes me realize DC spent too much effort on selling Rudolph.

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  2. This is so cool! Thank you for doing this! (So we don’t have to?) I just can’t decide whether or not I wish something like this display was available back in the 1970s. On the one hand, it might have motivated more of us pre-teens to try this for ourselves, damaging innumerable copies that wouldn’t have survived to this day. But on the other hand, if we had attempted this with our own safety scissors, we surely would have had to buy multiple copies in our trial-and-error frustration, and DC would have responded to the increased sales by printing more of these suddenly best-selling Limited Collectors Editions back in the day (bring on LCE #C-100!)

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  3. Wow !! This is so freaking cool ! I love these. You did a great job.
    Never seen one actually made, makes me want to try some.
    Great post. Thank you.

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  4. I only tried one of these (with parental assistance)….the Neal Adams Batman one. It turned out pretty well, considering it’s ham-fisted craftsman.

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  5. Thanks for all of your effort, Walt. The second Secret Origins of Super Villains diorama is disappointing because they replaced several villains with speed lines. I think my favorite is the Superman-Flash race. It really pops!

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  6. That treasury label is SPECTACULAR!
    I hope that there is a follow-up for the Marvel treasuries (only 8 more to go before I collect all of THEM!)

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  7. Great article, and great work on the dioramas, Walt! Thanks for including the video with the camera rotation. Really shows how the 3D effect works! From C-25, the figure of Batman and the general layout are very similar to a Batman puzzle Adams provided the artwork for around that time. Robin is driving the Batmobile instead of the Batboat, and there are no victims, just criminals. Oddly enough, I featured it in my article on Neal Adams merch here at 13th Dimension.

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  8. Love this! Thanks for doing it, Dan. When it first came out, I cut/assembled the Batman one with the villain spotlights. I hated what it did to the book and never any more.

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    • Hi, Kerry!

      It was a blast to do! I’ve always wanted to see them all together!

      Glad you liked it!

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  9. I had several of these Limited Collector’s Edition comic and ruined most of them by cutting the cover up to make these dioramas. It was a lot of fun though and most of them turned out looking pretty good.

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  10. Taking a copy of the middle ground of villains on the cover of More Secret Origins of Supervillains C:45 and adjusting the size if necessary, you could get a four layered diorama.

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