Monday, December 27, 2004


New slippers
New brown shoes
New black shoes
The DC Comics Encyclopedia....and here we go to the opposite pole from functional. It's a book of all the weird and fascinating beings who inhabit a fictional universe--it's the very opposite of Something I Needed. But it's really great and I have of course been reading it for the past day or so. It's very much in the spirit of the old Who's Whos, attempting to capture the breadth of the DC Universe at that moment. Who's Who was the sum of the information of the pre-Crisis DCU; this new book is everything from the twenty years since. I can quibble with a few things--there seems to be a mania to stick every Golden Age here DC every had in there without a similar mania for including later eras; no Psycho Pirate or Lady Quark--but overall it's really fun. I loved the old Who's Whos as a youth; they made me there was a real richness to DC Comics which published Western heroes and alternate versions of the same heroes and war comics and the Marvel Family and Captain Carrot and they all existed in this huge fictional tapestry. Now I think the current streamlined, hypertimed DCU which is the Encyclopedia's territory is somewhat less fun than the brazenly self-contradictory DC multiverse. So the Encyclopedia only suffers in comparison to Who's Who because its subject matter is a bit less fascinating. But as a snapshot of a fictional universe (the last of the pre-Identity Crisis DCU, though what DC thinks IC changed I haven't a clue), even a grimmer and grittier one, the Encyclopedia does an excellent job.

I could do without the Alex Ross cover, though. Whoever I read recently that said Ross makes every character he paints into a pasty white guy has a point.

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