TWO GREAT REFERENCE BOOKS ON DC COMICS BY DK

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DC Comics Heroes Do you think you can name every single character that's populated the DC Universe? If you do, then please allow me to inform you that you don't. No. No you don't. No matter how much knowledge you think you may have accumulated, I bet you anything that there are a number of pretty obscure characters you'd have some difficulty naming, especially since there are over a thousand of the little buggers. So, to overcome this obstacle, I suggest that you take a look at the following two books published by DK.





DC Comics Encyclopedia All-New Edition
All related characters and elements
are trademarks of ©DC Comics

Price: £30.00
Format: Hardback
Page Count: 368
Size: 250x301mm
Age Range: 10 and over

Synopsis:   Written by Matthew K. Manning and‎ Alex Irvine, the DC Comics Encyclopedia does exactly what it says on the tin: It lists every single major character featured in the DCU (within reason), and provides an accessible, compelling, and lavishly illustrated look at the dynamics of this particular comic book universe.

It was created in conjunction with DC Comics and is formatted in an easy-to use A-to-Z layout. This includes information focused on each of the characters, totaling 1,100 overall, along with thrilling comic book artwork for each one featured. The book is also complemented by a foreword written by ex Green Lantern alumni, Geoff Johns, and has been revamped, redesigned, and fully updated to accommodate both the New 52 and Rebirth era's.




Advantages:
Harley Quinn
  1. I like to think of this encyclopedia as an ‘All you can eat buffet’ for the DC Universe. Well, let’s face it, just like one of these eateries, this book has a ton of stuff for you to plough through. All you have to do is flip to the appropriate page and then read about whoever you want, which you can do again, and again, and again, until you can’t take any more and need to loosen your belt, or brain, depending on what fills up first.
  2. I’ve always been a big fan of tabloid styled layouts. They’re generally very lavish, very clear, and they’re a constant pleasure to sit down and read. But more importantly than that, it’s a style suited to this particular brand of book. Well done, book. Please keep up the good work.
  3. If you like your artwork bold, detailed, and varying in design, then you’re definitely going to love looking at this. After all, some of the artwork featured belongs to some of the best creators in the business, including Jim Lee, George Perez, Neal Adams, David Finch, Greg Capullo, Kevin Maguire, and many, many more.
  4. Geoff Johns wrote the forward for this book, and I must say that it was a real pleasure to read, particularly his own personal take on what it represents, ‘A celebration of the DC Universe’.
  5. One of the best things about this encyclopedia is how easy it is to find whatever you’re looking for. Each character featured has been listed in alphabetical order, so like A. B, C, it’s as simple as 1, 2, 3 to find, scan, and read, but only if you know the persons name!
  6. Something else about this book I thoroughly enjoyed would have to be the way it showcases certain brand name characters. Like Batman, for example, who has four whole pages dedicated to his origins, his equipment, and his general hullabaloo. Lesser known characters may have a paragraph at best.
  7. The binding on this encyclopedia is fairly stern and robust, plus its paper stock also appears to be of a high standard.
Disadvantages:
The Joker
  1. This book is so heavy I’m pretty damn sure you could beat a small elephant to death with it. Or at the very least, concuss it mildly, depending on the amount of pressure you apply, ha! Seriously though, it isn’t very light, and I would advise you not to carry it around for a prolonged period of time, unless you’re a weightlifter, of course.
  2. Along similar lines it’s also pretty big, over 30cm squared, give or take a inch, and you may have some difficulty housing it in a conventional bookcase.
  3. On occasion you’ll notice that the font size is reduced in order to accommodate certain entries. In fact, the text can be so small, that you may have some difficulty reading it if you have poor or weak vision. So, magnifying glasses at the ready, people, and adequate lighting would be a benefit as well.
  4. The main difficulty this over-sized guide fails to overcome is the way it depicts multiple versions of the same character. Take Clayface, for instance, the Batman villain. Since his inception he’s been portrayed by such people as Basil Karlo, Matt Hagen, Preston Payne, Sondra Fuller, Cassius Payne, Peter Malley, Todd Russell, and Mitch McConnell. But unfortunately this villains entry only concentrates on the Basil Karlo version, although Preston and Matt do get an honorable mention.

DC Comics Justice League The Ultimate Guide
All related characters and elements
are trademarks of ©DC Comics

Price: £17.99
Format: Hardback
Page Count: 200
Size: 235x280mm
Age Range: 10 and over.

Synopsis:   This comprehensive guide has been written by Landry Walker and it celebrates the exciting world of the iconic Justice League, comprising a roster that includes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg, among others.

Spanning nearly 60 years of comic book history, Justice League: The Ultimate Guide is jam packed with information and trivia on the team itself, along with their allies, their enemies, the numerous bases they've frequented, the teams origins, and of course, much-much more. In addition to this, the book also includes artwork ranging from their first appearance, circa March, 1960, all the way up to their crucial Rebirth issues and way beyond. With a stunning design it contains lots of in-world information and in-depth profiles on key characters and events, all of which goes to show how the Justice League has evolved over the years.




Advantages:
Superman
  1. Just like the previous book, this one is jam packed with bold and dynamic visuals illustrated by some of the best and most prolific artists in the industry, ranging from Carmine Infantino to Alex Ross to Ivan Reis, to name but a few.
  2. Something else it has in common with the previous book is the way it was binded together. Its pretty stern and robust, plus complemented with some slick looking paper. I was also impressed with the gold leaf imprinted around the edges and on the cover. I thought that was a very classy touch.
  3. A great example of how this book conveys information can be seen in a four page timeline that chronicles the visual history of the Justice League. Despite the graphic having a fairly simple looking design, that’s not to say it isn't clear and concise, especially how it denotes key events in a straight forward, chronological order.
  4. I’ve been following the Justice League since the early 90s, not physically, mind you, but metaphorically, so I like to think that I know a great deal about their history, their characters, plus most of their key events. Which I suppose I do, up to a point, saying so because I didn’t find any real discrepancies depicted in this book. Although I could be wrong, and sense a possible crisis! An infinite one perhaps? Ha!
  5. As I’ve already compared the previous book to an ‘All you can eat buffet’, I think that it would be only fair to compare this one to something else. Something like a psychiatrist, for instance, because if this is the first time you’re learning about the League, get ready, as your whole world is about to be opened up to something new, old, and adventurous. But if you're a veteran, just like myself, stand back, take a deep breath, and prepare yourself for a walk down memory lane, ha!
  6. It was nice to see that certain sections were dedicated to some of the other teams that populate the DCU. This includes the Justice Society, the Teen Titans, the Outsiders, the Green Lantern Corps, the Titans, Young Justice, and the New Gods, among others.
  7. Along similar lines I also applauded those sections dedicated to the various incarnations of the Justice League, such as Justice League International, Justice League Task Force, Justice League Dark, Extreme Justice, Justice League United, Justice League 3000, the Justice League of America, and of course, the Crime Syndicate.
  8. Now, as I’m on the subject of crime, I best mention that there are sections which feature the League’s more notable adversaries, like the Suicide Squad, along with any notable events, such as the aforementioned Crisis. What’s more, it does so without forgetting to pay some respects to their allies or their headquarters, including those located in Happy Harbor and Detroit. Yes. I said Detroit. Want to make something of it?
Disadvantages:
The JLA
  1. Even though there is a chapter which presents different versions of the League from other parallel universes, namely, JL Axis, The Justice Alliance of America, and the Bizarro League, there isn’t any real mention of their Elseworld variations. Come to think of it, the book doesn’t acknowledge any of their crossovers with teams from other publications, most notably Marvel’s Avengers, or Boom Studio's Power Rangers.
  2. In places the information conveyed seems rather sparse on the page, minimalist even, but then again it is a reference guide and not a fully comprehensive account.
  3. Also, why did this book shy away from including a couple of detachable posters? There was one located on pages 194 to 195, but it wasn’t removable.

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