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Comic Book Encyclopedia: The Ultimate Guide to Characters, Graphic Novels, Writers, and Artists in the Comic Book Universe Hardcover – October 26, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; First Edition edition (October 26, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060538163
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060538163
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,057,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–This entertaining guide is chock-full of trivia. Starting with the early 1900s, it is organized primarily by character or book title; hordes of heroes, villains, and the indefinable stride through its colorful pages. Although the contents lean heavily toward the superhero, the author includes a few independents like the hallucinogenic work of R. Crumb and Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth (Knopf, 2000). Characters from children's humor make small appearances as well. Not surprisingly, the entries for the more iconic figures like Superman and Spiderman have significantly more detail than the others. Although comic-book trivia encyclopedias are nothing new, this one stands out because of the excellence of the reproductions of the original art. Just casually flipping through the pages gives a startling and overwhelming sense of how much quality work artists and writers produced over the last 100 years. Goulart also includes some entries about the more influential writers, artists, and styles. These sections include interesting pointers for those looking for new or different material. This book will satisfy all lovers of comic books and comic-book history.–Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Ron Goulart is an award-winning mystery and science fiction writer who is also considered one of the leading experts on comics, both nationally and internationally. He has written numerous comics and published many books on the subject, including Great American Comic Books and Comic Book Culture. He lives in Connecticut with his wife.


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Customer Reviews

So I have not regretted my purchase.
Dave Gieber
I bought this book because I wanted a guide of comics but all the comics, marvel, dc, image, dark horse, press, etc, and this book has that.
Dave X
Do not use it for quoting comic fact until you check the validity of what you are using.
Travieso

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a big showy book with a bright graphic cover but I found the interior coverage of various characters too light for serious research or reading.

This may make a good gift book for someone just getting started but I recommend either The Superhero Book: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Comic-Book Icons and Hollywood Heroes

by Gina Misiroglu or The Slings and Arrows Guide to Comic Guide Second Edition for the more serious fan/collector.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Elisabeth Carey on October 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a big, beautiful, richly illustrated book that covers a lot of territory-the history and development of comic books and graphic novels. It attempts to cover the entire field, characters, artists, writers, and give at least a basic understanding of the history. Unfortunately, as it says on the cover, "Nearly 400 BIG pages!", i.e., it's not quite four hundred pages. That's not enough space for in-depth treatment, it's made a bit more cramped by those beautiful illustrations (which, I must say, it would be a shame to lose.). The articles are mostly short, and characters one would have thought important enough for their own entries are reduced to mentions in broader entries. (Bugs Bunny, for instance, is barely mention in the "Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies" entry.) This is a good, fun book nevertheless, but possibly a better choice for the reader just getting seriously interested in comics, than for the established fan who already has an in-depth knowledge of the field.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Travieso on April 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
If you're getting this book for hardcore reference material I would be careful. I literally had the book 5 minutes and discovered a handful of mistakes.

Ex.

-Jim Lee's entry has the best selling X-Men #1 as being released in 2001 instead of 1991.

-The timeline has Sandman ending in 1997 when it was actually 1996.

If you buy this book get it for light reading. Do not use it for quoting comic fact until you check the validity of what you are using. Like I said.. I noticed these two mistakes after skimming the book for 5 minutes. I am afraid of how much more I will find once I start digging in.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. Wilhelm on May 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book has alot of comic characters and their creators in here, but most get half a page or about one whole page per character. Basically it is filled with short overviews of the comics that just get your mouth watering for more but, then leave you in the dark. I only wish they would have added more detail and info to each of the characters, there is alot of drawings in here though.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Guy L. Gonzalez on January 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"The Ultimate Guide" is a bit of a stretch as not a single b-list character from Marvel or DC that I used to collect as a kid is represented here, nor many of the creators I rank among my personal favorites, but it definitely offers a wide-ranging overview - emphasis on the word OVERVIEW - of the industry, past to present. There's a smattering of independent/alternative comics and a hefty load of Golden and Silver Age oddities I'd never even heard of. Overall, a perfect gift for the newcomer or casual fan, but I'd suggest letting the more experienced fan/collector decide whether to buy it for themselves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christmas Cookie on February 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As with most of these comic book/fantasy "guides" or "encyclopedias", such a huge task is bound to end up with a few factual errors and typos. There are certainly a few of those here in this book. For instance, Ron Goulart mentions that Jim Lee helped launch X-Men, Vol. 2 in 2001 (a full ten years after it originally happened). Such a mistake would probably fall in the "typo" category, but still pretty silly nonetheless.

The author admits that he grew up reading comics during it's "golden age", and it shows as this book *mostly* focuses on the industry throughout the late 20s-50s, and seems to completely forget all but the truly major top-selling characters of the 60s onward. But this indeed the "Comic Book Encyclopedia" because all years are represented, up to about 2001, it's just that the golden age seems to be the primary focus. Reading many entries in this book, I often wondered if Goulart was simply inserting his own favorites from his childhood into the book, because many of these characters and titles I had never heard of, even though I am a fan of that era. He seems to showcase the most obscure of companies, creators, and books even for the 30s & 40s.

Also at times Goulart seems to have a bit of a chip on his shoulder and may make remarks in regards to how underrated or overrated an artist or writer was, going as far to call out certain artists by speaking of how poor their style is.

But don't get me wrong, this encyclopedia is a joy to read. There's a great use of artwork here in relations to characters, comic book covers, and a creator's work. Having been born in 1981, I still have great interest in all those comic book years before me and I really enjoy reading about and seeing the artwork of the books of the 30s and 40s and 50s.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Naomi DeBruyn on February 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Comic books have been around in one form or another since the 1920's, entertaining children of all ages. From the young readers to the old, there has been a strong following for a number of titles. In fact, some comic books have surpassed the printed page and reached the heights of stardom as movie characters. Some have gone beyond the realm of the animated feature and become quite real, as we've seen recently in X-Men, Spider-Man, Bat-Man, etc., etc.

This Encyclopedia is the ultimate guide to anything dealing with the comic book universe, and very well put together. Art driven storytelling finally has a history book of its very own - from A-1 Comics to Zorro they're all listed here, complete with their own history blurb. Ron Goulart, an award winning SF and mystery writer, is considered one of the leading experts on comics, both nationally and internationally. This Connecticut native has written a number of his own comics and also published numerous books on the subject.

I've been a collector of Vampirella since about the same time my eldest son was born, when the original publication sadly came to an end. An avid collector, it's nice to actually learn a little more about this dangerous lady and her history, such as - the most recent resurrection began in 2001 and still continues. Frank Frazetta penned the cover which showed Vampirella with one spiked heel resting on a human skull, and was basically put together for laughs. However, Vampi took off and when Tom Sutton became the artist in the eighth issue, things went from good to fantastic!

A previous love interest collected Archie comics, and I will admit that they provide some wonderful entertainment. This is the best thing to read when you've got a headache or a fever and don't need to focus completely.
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