When I was a kid, growing up on various military bases around the globe, I didn’t know a lot about superheroes, or comic books. My knowledge was constrained to Star Wars (and the occasional, troubled Star Trek title), Superman and Batman.
My knowledge of the DC Comic Universe wasn’t much greater. I knew about Supes, the Dark Knight, Flash would pop in and out of my knowledge, and there were two of my first crushes, Wonder Woman, and Supergirl. But that was all I really knew.
That has expanded a little with fantastic cartoons like Justice Leage: Unlimited, and the Arrow-verse that has been brought to life on television. There are so many characters inhabiting the multiverse that is the DC Comics Universe, and DK Books’s heavy, and incredibly comprehensive tome, The DC Comics Encyclopedia covers them all up to their most recent incarnations.
Each character is given a date box before their main entry which tells you when the character made their first appearance, their most current version (a lot of changes occur here because of the multi-verse), their true name and a breakdown of their personal details, powers (if any), their enemies, allies and affiliations.
From there each entry gives a brief personal history of the character, trying to keep timelines, deaths, and other changes laid out in a comprehensive way. In the case of some of the larger heroes, there are even classic stories listed, costume changes, and different incarnations.
The artwork definitely needs to be mentioned, from the gorgeous cover art to the various artistic choices throughout the book. The images on display here are nothing short of stunning. There are pieces from the golden age, the silver age, through to the modern era, and all of them spring to an amazing kind of heroic life on the glossy pages.
A reference piece without equal, this is a book that can guide neophytes into the massive world of DC Comics, learning more about their favourite characters, and possibly discovering new ones, while for the DC Comics hardcore fan will have everything he needs at his fingertips.
Superman’s first appearance? Crisis on infinite earths? Identity crisis? Knightfall? The Green Lantern Corps.? Darkseid? All of these things can be found here. And that’s a lot of fictional history to be covered.
Happily, the Encyclopedia, by its very definition, does it in a concise, and easily accessible way, and I couldn’t believe all the things the book covered! So many characters!
Learn about the denizens of Gotham, Metropolis, Central City, Argo City, the Phantom Zone, the Wild Lands… Was Alfred always a Wayne butler? How many Green Lanterns and Flashes are there?
And hey, since it’s that time of year, this would make a great gift for the superhero fan on your list, as I can categorically say, this is an indispensable book from DK Canada for all DC fans, young and old. To see incarnations of characters through the ages, and the stories that have been told with them, this book will have a welcome spot on any comic fan’s shelf.