Review: Superman – The Ultimate Guide to the Man of Steel / Author: Daniel Wallace / Publisher: Doring Kindersley / Release Date: Out Now
This is a book that does exactly what it says on the cover! Daniel Wallace, who has also written the Man of Steel: Inside the Legendary World of Superman volume really pulls out all the stops with this one, which even boasts a foreword by legendary Scottish comic writer Grant Morrison. The book takes us from brief biographies of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster straight on to an in-depth look at Action Comics #1 from June 1938 and the debut of the character.
No detail is spared and nothing is overlooked as the entire comic history of Superman is lovingly recounted with pages devoted to the evolution of the "S" emblem, from the small, almost bashful, triangular design of the '40s to the bigger and bolder version we’ve seen since the '50s.
Pages are devoted to the evolution of his superpowers, as they’ve changed over the years – his airborne prowess for example has evolved from merely being able to leap over buildings initially to actually flying and hovering. There’s a guide to the various forms of Kryptonite. And there’s the real beauty of this book: with Superman being in constant print for over 75 years, the character has spawned his own mythology and Wallace has undertaken the unenviable task of cataloguing every aspect of this epic character and the world he inhabits and distilling it to 200 pages - and he has succeeded admirably! The book doesn’t touch any of the radio shows, TV series, cartoons or films; it’s limited to the comics and that is more than enough to fill a book of this size, believe us.
So if you want to peruse a street map of Smallville, catch a glimpse of what’s contained in the Fortress of Solitude, or take a look at the layout of Metropolis then this book is certainly for you. Naturally, there are character bios of all the major characters and allies Superman engages with, along with a similar examination of his bewildering rogues gallery.
Of particular interest is the opportunity if offers to track Superman’s evolution through the various ages of comics, Gold, Silver, bronze, Dark and Modern with an in depth view of the major and critical story lines in each of those periods. From Action Comics #1 to DC’s New 52 – it’s all here.