Dorling Kindersley, who have just published the new Vertigo Encyclopedia, tell me there is now a video online discussing the making of the new reference book, with contributions from DC’s Karen Berger and some interesting glimpses into the actual production and laying out of the work. I’ve been dipping in and out of the Encyclopedia recently and really enjoying it – it’s perfect for dipping into, actually, and predictably enough I first looked up the entries on my favourite major series like Sandman and Preacher, but I also found myself turning to the many one-off titles and mini-series and having that sudden pleasurable surge of memory as I was reminded of quite a few I’ve read over the years. Its past time we had a decent reference book on this subject, given Vertigo’s place in helping to establish a space for mature comics within a mainstream environment.
(Karen Berger in the Making the Vertigo Encyclopedia video)
There are outlines of the series, synopsis of the main plot arcs, notes on the main characters and more, plus, being a DK reference book it is, of course, very well illustrated (something DK do very well in both their adult and children’s books), which is exactly what you expect and desire in a reference book covering such a visual medium as comics. Its well laid-out and clear so you can pick up pieces of relevant information easily (and, just as important, enjoyably) and as I mentioned the encyclopedia nature encourages browsing rather than a more linear start at the beginning and read to the end approach. I usually find with that system it also means I will find myself going back to it from time to time to re-read a particular entry (I’ve found myself going back to the Sandman entry several times while reading volume 3 of Absolute Sandman, for instance) and obviously its also a handy reference for the future. I was also pleased that in her introduction to the book Karen Berger paid tribute to Alan Moore, saying how his work at DC was a major foundation Vertigo became built on, which is refreshing to see given Alan and DC don’t exactly see eye to eye these days. I hesitate to say it when its still only September but this would be a great gift idea for a lot of comics readers if you are starting to think of what presents you can buy this year. Or sod buying it for a present for someone else and get it for yourself!