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The DC Comics Encyclopedia: New Edition Book Review

“The DC Comics Encyclopedia: New Edition” book is a veritable treasure trove.

After a straight forward foreword by DC Comics legend Jim Lee and an intro by Matthew Manning, readers get a brief history of the DC Comics eras ala the Golden, Silver, Bronze, Dark, Modern, and Prime ages. A few key highlights from each are spotlighted such as Action Comics #1 from the Golden Age (AKA the first appearance of Superman). After that, the oversized hardcover book dives right into the main content of the book written by 13 credited authors- Matthew Manning, Stephen Wiacek, Melanie Scott, NickJones, Landry Q. Walker, Alan Cowsill, Alex Irvine, Steve Korte, Scott Beatty, Robert Greenberger, Phil Jiminez, Dan Wallace and Sven Wilson.

Given that this is an encyclopedia, readers can expect an A to Z listing of characters. Each character entry is accompanied by an image, the issue they debuted in, their real name, their home location, height, weight, eye and hair colors, powers/abilities, allies and primary enemies. Sometimes affiliations are mentioned. A brief history of the character such as relative unknowns to mid tier characters like KGBeast, Godspeed, Peacemaker, Xa-Du, Space Cabbie, and Lord Havok are also included.

For the iconic characters such as  Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (in the various incarnations), Aquaman, Harley Quinn, Shazam!, Stargirl, Superman, and Lex Luthor, they get a bit more ink. Really, they could have their own books given the colossal history of these characters. Anyway, their sections get classic story issue listings and an On The Record Trivia spotlight.

Individual characters aren’t the only thing touched upon here as organizations and teams like A.R.G.U.S., Teen Titans and The Legion of Super Heroes also get their own listings.

The book closes out with a bonus Roll Call section which contains short spotlights on lesser known characters that weren’t featured in the A-Z section such as Batwoman Beyond, Anima, Doctor Mist, Gretel, Musketeer and tons more. Index and acknowledgements follow the Roll Call pages.

For anyone seeking knowledge about DC Comics history, “The DC Comics Encyclopedia” is a wonderful reference guide. Do you want a refresher on Suicide Squad history before you watch the new movie? Are you watching “The Flash” and having a desire to know more about Killer Frost? are you curious about the core members of the JSA? Do you want to know the names of the Royal Flush Gang members? You can learn about all that and then some by flipping to the respective pages of their individual entries. 

Even fans with a deep knowledge of DC Comics will undoubtedly learn something within these pages. For instance, I was not aware the Wizard was the founder of the Injustice League and that the original Robotman was Robert Crane. There’s simply a wealth of information here.

Now, of course, not everything is contained in these pages. The book only scratches the surface on the history of the characters (some of whom have been around for decades). You might also have to refer to the index at times. For example, if you want to know about Dick Grayson’s Robin, you’ll have to go to the Nightwing section. The listing under Robin is for Damian Wayne.

Overall Thoughts: Whether you’re a big time DC fan or are curious to know more about the history of DC comics, “The DC Comics Encyclopedia” is the book for you.

August 5, 2021 - Posted by | Book review | , , , , , , , ,

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