Thoughts on The Superhero Book

Yes, I know what I wrote last week. Off on vacation, no more Comic Effect Weekly columns for the rest of the year. See ya in 2005.

Yet here I am with another column. So what happened?

Simple. I got The Superhero Book, published by Visible Ink Press.

I encourage you — plead with you — to adjust your comic book budget for the next couple of weeks so you can purchase The Superhero Book instead. Right away. Okay, maybe not this minute, but at least before the weekend. It’s the best Christmas gift you can give yourself and a comics fan that you know. It’s only $29.95 and worth every penny.

The Superhero Book is a 700+ page encyclopedia with hundreds of informative entries on superheroes spanning the entire world of comics, past and present. It’s not just about the most popular superheroes; it’s about over a thousand superheroes throughout comics history, in the media, in pop culture, under the radar, of historical footnote, of cult status, and it even includes a few worthy obscurities (such as Geoff Grogan’s Dr. Speck). There are ‘Superhero’ subjects that cover a wide range, from “Rock Superheroes” to “Camp and Comedy Heroes.” There are also interesting bits of trivia (such as the DNAgents and the Teen Titans having a “secret crossover” in the 1980s). This book is alive with detail, generous with comic book cover reproductions, comprehensive, colorful, accurate, and, most of all, entertaining. It wants to cover as much ground as possible, and cover it right. The impressive thing is, it succeeds.

This remarkable tome stopped me in my tracks of everyday living. Right now, as I write this, I’m sorry I have to work, I’m sorry I have to eat, I’m sorry I have to sleep, I’m sorry I have to prepare for Christmas, I’m sorry I have to pack for a road trip. I only want to put my world on hold and immerse myself in The Superhero Book and not come out for a week or two. Maybe three. This encyclopedia is inspiring, and as a reference tool it is going to get a lot of use.

Hats off to The Superhero Book‘s editor, Gina Misiroglu. She pulled this admirable project together. And the contributors are a Who’s Who of learned and enthusiastic comics historians: David Roach, Michael Eury, Andy Mangels, Michael A. Martin, Adam McGovern, Marc McKenzie, and Frank Plowright. It’s a labor of love all around. Trust me, you’ll be amazed.

Actually, I do take one thing back in the paragraph before last. I’m not sorry I have to pack for the road trip, because I can pack The Superhero Book. But it’s going to be the last thing I pack, and the first thing I take out when we get to the motel.

Okay, I’m leaving now. See ya next year.

About The Author

Jim Kingman is a writer for Comics Bulletin