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The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe Hardcover – October 4, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: DK Publishing (October 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075660592X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756605926
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 1 x 12.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #354,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This copiously illustrated encyclopedia chronicles more than 1,000 DC Comics characters from the 1930s to the present. Arranged alphabetically, each entry gives the first appearance, status (hero, villain, etc.), real name, occupation, height, weight, and eye and hair color of the superheroes or supervillains. Special abilities and superpowers are also listed along with ample cross-references to other comic characters or superleague affiliations, such as the L.E.G.I.O.N. cosmic peacekeeping force.

The biographical entries make fascinating reading in alternative history. For example, the Crimson Avenger served in a league called the Seven Soldiers of Victory during World War II. Afterward, he was sent backward in time. He came forward in time and discovered that he was struck with a terminal disease. After his death, an unknown woman purchased two guns that had belonged to him. These guns transformed her into Crimson Avenger II, who became an agent of vengeance and execution. Of course, famous characters such as Wonder Woman or Batman are included. But lesser-known characters, such as Superman's college flame, Lori Lemaris (a mermaid), are also listed.

The colorful design makes this book a pleasure to browse. Special two-page features, such as "Amazing Weapons" and "Romantic Moments," are interspersed with the biographies. Recommended for public libraries with active comic readership. Jack O'Gorman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"... it's hard to top this encyclopedia." -- Winston-Salem Journal

"Fabulous artwork and pictures of more than 1,000 famous comic book characters fill this classic that will thrill all collectors." -- Detroit Free Press

Customer Reviews

The cover art on this is striking, done beautifully by Alex Ross.
B. Gibbs
Some people may gripe over that their favorite character got only a small entry in the book but I was surprised at how complete this book was.
Amazon Customer
If you are a DC comics fan, or just a superhero fan in general, this book is for you.
Randy Lander

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Martin Maenza on October 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Many folks for years have been wanting DC to revisit their Who's Who series from the mid-80's, an A to Z covering of characters. This new hardcover fits that bill in a solid, colorful volume. The wrap around cover by Alex Ross is beautiful and eye-catching.

As for the book's interior, it is obvious a lot of effort was put into this. Four main writers handled the text portions, with art taken from hundreds of artists across the decades.

Naturally, there will be a few errors that creep into something such as this. I found characters in group shots mislabeled, and the occasional wrong fact in an entry. These things probably should have been caught in final proofing. I can forgive them though as they are few and far between.

The one thing that becomes painfully obvious to this long time comic reading fan is that the focus of this tome swings heavy to the post-Crisis universe (understandable as that is what the current continuity is - stuff reorganized and introduced since 1986). This tome makes it obvious that continuity is in fact constantly in flux, being rewritten and reworked. The book is uneven in that at times it takes both old and rewrites into account. Examples include the Legion of Super-Heroes stuff and the Doom Patrol relaunch from earlier this year.

Still, it is a nice coffee table tome and good for quicky research on characters and such.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By David A. Smithey on September 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I really didn't know what to expect when I bought this book. It was just something to help me figure out who some of the characters were in the DC universe. What I found was a history of EVERY character DC has ever created! There were some really obscure characters in there dating back to the 1940s that I had never even heard of.

If you're into DC comics, it's well worth the price. I know I've had hours of fun reading the different entries on not only the characters I knew but many I didn't.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some people may gripe over that their favorite character got only a small entry in the book but I was surprised at how complete this book was.

Lets face it, unless DC reprints Who's Who you are not going to get a complete guide to the DC characters, this book is made to represent as many of their characters as they could. I enjoyed the entries about the lesser known characters and being given updates on some of the heros and villians I had followed but lost touch with.

The DC Comics Encylopedia makes a nice gift for any comics fan.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A. Carter on October 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
It's hard to determine the worth of a book, but don't judge this book by its cover. Why? Well for starters it is a great A to Z resource of DC characters packed in one book. There is not much else around so this book is fine. It does clearly address that the information may be outdated due to current depictions of these characters according to DC Comics. So the book is current up to 2004, but now outdated.

However in doing such a project there are errors that occur. The decision not to include characters altered or who never existed because of the Crisis on Infinite Earths was not the best of intentions, as it causes further confusion by ignoring the past, in particular if decisions by DC Comics are updated.

The layout of major characters in a 2 page spread, secondary characters in one page spread, and third place characters in half page spread, and minor characters in smaller captions were clear enough to read and refer to. However it would have been clearer and better if each caption for some characters who shared the same name were separate instead of labeled as I, II or III in the same caption. Some were, which was easy to read and clear, and yet some were in the same boxed caption which was hard to read. That part was annoying.

Now the decision to list a characters first appearance, despite revamps of origins or history were frustrating. Some had their actual first appearance correct, but others did not, and were listed by their revised appearance. Here is a list of the characters who appeared earlier than listed in this book: Angle Man; Circe; Dr.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Carroll VINE VOICE on January 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Using the encyclopedia format to look at the myriad characters created over the course of DC Comics history is a clever and fun idea. Illustrated with art from a variety of time periods and treating the characters as if they actually existed, the authors have created a book that is valuable for any fan of comics. Little known characters, events that might have been missed, and some fairly obscure references combine with the well-known mainstays of the DC Universe (Superman, Batman, et.al.) to make for a fairly comprehensive history. Sure, there are a number of errors in listing heroes and villains, illustrations not showing the character being discussed, and even details about the characters that will not satisfy the fan looking for perfection, but for the fan who just wants a concise way of looking at the characters of a company that has been around since the 1930's, this is an enjoyable read.
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