Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Comic Books that Shaped My Life: Who's Who Update '88 vol. 3

If there is anything that has spawned my desire to be an encyclopedic source of comic book knowledge, it was reading this book when I was nine-years-old. It was a book with no story, a ton of characters, tons of artists, and huge blocks of texts packed with the trivial pieces of knowledge that I still store in my head.

The Who's Who in the DC Universe are one of the great missing pieces of comic book literature in this age of wikis and instant internet information. By no means was it the first index of comic book characters, but it was the first to make them look really damned cool with a really cool cover. Fleischer created comic character encyclopedias in the seventies, but nothing as beautifully illustrated as this. Maps, character descriptions, schematics, this comic had it all.

I think this speaks to my certain aspects of my personality--my desire to understand the history of a character, my anal-retentive need to index trivial things, my borderline attention deficit span of focus that keeps me going back and back to read entries over and over. 

In more recent years, I took this issue, one of the very first comics I ever purchased, and the full run of the Who's Who in the DC Universe issues and had them bound into hardback books. Essentially, I created my own reference bible to nerd out on and find the random obscure characters that even the internet seems to forget. 
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