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Encyclopedia - Volume 3: Superman

The Original Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes - Volume 3: Superman

Writer: Michael L. Fleisher

Published by: DC Comics (September 2007)
Note: Originally published in 1978 as "The Great Superman Book"

Reviewed by: Jeffrey Taylor

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Ever wanted to know when a particular Superman character made his or her first appearance? Ever wanted to know just how long a certain villain has been plaguing the Man of Steel? Ever wanted to figure out exactly how many L.L.'s have been in Superman books over the years or if any current characters were once part of the Golden or Silver Age Superman canon? Did you know that white kryptonite kills Kryptonian plant life?

Then look no further, for this gigantic, alphabetical Superman compendium has at last been released (again). For those of you wondering why this is volume 3 and where 1 and 2 went, the first covered Batman and the second focused on Wonder Woman.

I want to start by admitting that I did not read the entire 512, 2-column, small print pages for this review. I did however search for little-known characters throughout Superman's comic book history and found nine out of ten of them (Couldn't find "Zod," even under "General Zod").

The information covered in this compendium pertains only to the comics, so don't expect information from the television shows, cartoons or the radio series. The only drawback is that this is exactly the same printing first released in 1978 and it has not been updated, except for a new introduction by the author. If your only interests in Superman occur after that, this is not a wise buy for you. [Writer's note: DC people, I volunteer to update it. Call me.]

My only complaint is how hard it can be to navigate the immense compendium for specific information because unlike normal encyclopedias, it does not place a standard letter or base entry in the upper corners in order to easily navigate where you are alphabetically in the book. Some entries for major characters reach 10 pages or more (18 pages just for Lois Lane), so you may need to flip around a little bit to find what you're looking for.

Still, for US$19.99, this is a must have for fans. I would gladly have dropped and extra $5 or $10 for a hardcover. This will remain on my shelf and never see the inside of a longbox. Get it while you can.


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