Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Short Book Reviews

The Essential Batman Encyclopedia by Robert Greenberger - A handy and good looking reference for Batman fanatics that delves pretty deep into the characters populating the Bat-books through the decades. While I've read DC comics off and on since the 60s, I'm just a casual Batman reader, but much of the content here was just over my head.

This volume is written from the contemporary DC continuity perspective, i.e. everything printed in DC comics in the Golden Age of the 40's actually happened on Earth-2; not on our Earth. I found that to be rather jarring as Earth-2 was a 1960s invention. So much of the content here is twisty revisionist. I'd prefer reading historical entries in historical context.

For example, the entry under "Supergirl" starts off talking about Kara Zor-el (Power Girl) of Earth-2 and states (mistakenly) she was introduced in All-Star Comics #57 (1951). That would be before Supergirl was introduced. As far as I know, Power Girl was introduced
in All Star Comics #58 in 1976, a couple of decades after Supergirl debuted. I looked at a few other example entries and found other similar contextual (and perhaps typographical) errors, and other entries are fine if you can get past the revisionist writing.

Maybe it's just me, but it's weird to read that the Earth-2 Catwoman debuted in 1940. There was no Earth-2 in 1940! If I can get beyond that weirdness I guess It's OK.


Carl V. said...

I don't have a lot of use for the strange continuity and reboot things they do with the Marvel and DC Universe characters. Perhaps that is partially why I only occasionally read those books. I understand the trouble they get themselves into, but trying to come up with a reasonable explanation for these things just makes the whole genre look more ridiculous.

David said...

I'm not so big on continuity in long terms (years or decades). For example, All Star Superman is outside the regular continuity and relies on a great storyline and fantastic artwork.
But I think it's healthy and necessary for reboots. Reinvention is a good thing for a title that goes on for decades, like Batman or the Legion or Superman. DC does a pretty good job of reboots every few years. Marvel had much less success with reboots.

Carl V. said...

I think reboots can be really healthy, I just think the silliness they go through to make everything fit together can get really old after awhile.

David said...

Yeah, I'll have to agree with you on that. Continuity weight can be a huge burden, especially on new or casual readers.

Robert said...

Hope all is well David :) Just wanted to wish you a Happy 4th!

Anthony said...

yeah man, come back and post some more soon