DC Comics Secret Origins, hardcover collection. Various writers and artists.
This is a reprint collections of reprint collections. The hardcover contains 4, 80-page reprint collections originally published in 1961, 1965, 2003, and 2004. Most of the individual stories come from the "Silver Age" of comics, the 1955-1965 era, although a pair were from 1940, and a few came from as late as the early 1970s. This variety of dates gives readers the opportunity to note how drastically comics have changed over the decades, both in terms of the writing and art.
There is a very nice mix of characters included in this volume, including Doctor Fate, Enchantress, Animal Man, and the villain Eclipso. I quite enjoyed the more science-fiction stories involving Hawkman, the Manhunter from Mars, and the very under-appreciated Adam Strange. This collection also reminded me how much I like the Challengers of the Unknown, a team that has never been able to find a foothold in modern versions of the DC Comics universe.
In addition to characters, there are a few "origins" of other things, such as the Green Lantern oath and the sidekick team of Jimmy Olsen and Robin. In the early days of comic books, companies received favorable postage rates if they included prose pieces, and there are two of these stories reproduced, involving the war character Blackhawk, and the archer Green Arrow.
Some are actual firsts appearances of characters, while many are stories that themselves recount in a flashback (or "clip show" manner) a particular first appearance. That is the setup for the Justice League story, with each character taking turns telling their part of the story that served as the impetus for the league forming. The Superman origin is also a later retelling of the origin from a book published in 1960, featuring his departure as Superboy from his hometown of Smallville.
source: local library