Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe by Tim Leong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
If you love graphics, statistics, and comics, this is your book. Ever wonder who all has been, for example, an Avenger? It's here. Want to know the relative strength of Galactus versus Apocalypse? It's there, too. Need to know which comic book heroes are associated with Rodents? Check: from Atomic Mouse to Mighty Mouse to Squirrel Girl.
And it's not just all about the characters. There is an intriguing swirl-graph showing the increase in Comic-Con attendance, The Chris Ware Sadness Scale (from Jimmy Corrigan to Quimby the Mouse), relative height and ride length of 15 different roller-coasters associated with superheroes . . . you get the idea.
As one would expect, the book is Marvel- and DC Comics-heavy, but there is plenty in here from independent and smaller presses referenced, as well. I was glad to see this, as I made mine Marvel as a kid in the '70s (remember Spider Man on The Electric Company?), had a brief love affair with several indies in the mid-'90s (Mostly Grimjack, Albedo Anthropomorphics, and Konny and Czu), and have recently been roped back into the comic fold by such excellent series as Fatale, The Manhattan Projects, and Prophet. There seems to be a bit of a renaissance happening now, with some great titles out there. Give it ten years, and this book may need to be rewritten with an even stronger emphasis on the indies. I'll look forward to that volume, should it appear, as well.
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