The relationship experts say it’s never too late to fall in love again; that true love can find you anywhere, at any age—and can knock you clean off your feet. That is exactly the way love found this reviewer when, at my advanced age (which number shall remain unspoken) I was introduced to the unimaginably vast and lovingly sinister universe called “DC.”
The new over-sized, eye-popping, built-to-last-a-lifetime beast of a book called The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe (All-new Edition) is out, and it’s blowing the minds of old and young readers alike. It gives readers the scoop on over 1,100 DC characters, some of whom are well-known and well-loved (or well-hated). But a big part of this book’s charm is that it also gives the scoop on virtually unknown or barely memorable characters who were perhaps not quite sinister enough to earn a place in readers’ memories. And yet, memorable or forgettable, each character’s real name, debut date, and personal stats (like height, weight, eye color, powers, allies and enemies) is spelled out for any inquiring mind that “wants to know.”
There are the beloved superheroes like Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Superman; and then there are the detestable, bile-conjuring characters like Joker, Anarky, Brainiac, and Harley Quinn. There are also, as mentioned, a host of unknown good- and bad-guys who are just waiting for the right storyline that will catapult them to the forefront: like Man-bat (P. 191), the Inferior Five (P. 151), Mad Harriet (P. 188), and Professor Ivo (P. 237), to name a few. For people of color who love a good (or bad!) hero that looks like them, there is Amadeus Arkham, the expert in psychiatry (P. 20); Black Lightning, the nocturnal vigilante (P. 44); the dangerously sexy Cyborg and his manly implants (P. 78-79); Fatality (aka, Yrra Cynril) the Star Sapphire (P. 105); and Gloss, aka Xiang Po, who was chosen to become one of the immortal Guardians of the Universe (P.346).
The DC Comics Encyclopedia is one amazing book. It’s an A to Z encyclopedia, so readers should have just as much fun browsing through stats and story lines of the unknowns as they would have looking up long-time favorites. The opening TOC (table of contents) lists the page location of each letter of the alphabet so that readers can take a shortcut and search for their favorite heroes by first name. There is a brief but detailed history of the DC Universe timeline that moves chronologically through the DC time line (1938 through 2016), explaining the Golden Age of DC, the Silver Age, the Bronze Age, and so forth. There is also a handy 17-page Roll Call summary of characters at the end of the book to offer readers an at-a-glance overview of what’s contained inside these amazing pages.
This is a multi-layered, multifaceted book that sums up everything you always wanted to know about DC characters and the friends, enemies and extraordinary powers that make up their universe. Its sturdy design, brilliant colors, lovely layout and comprehensive content have easily rendered it the collector’s item of a lifetime that can be used for all sorts of things, like luring reluctant teen readers and reinforcing the mechanical skills children and teens (and some adults!) need to be able to successfully use encyclopedias and other literary guides. It can cement the bonds between generations or just serve as a great conversation-starter on the family coffee table. It also can—and will–fire the imaginations of emerging writers, readers and movie buffs.
Best wishes and happy hero-hopping,