Introduction & Acknowledgments

22 Sept 2012

A longer introduction will follow, in the book, and the web site will undergo a thorough cosmetic rehaul in the near future to make it pretty and modern-looking. But...I'm writing this because, despite the presence of some good books (Jeff Rovin's Encyclopedia of Super-Heroes, Mike Benton's Superhero Comics of the Golden Age) and some very good web sites (esp. the International Catalogue of Super-Heroes, from which I've borrowed a few images for this site), there's never been a single, good, authoritative source for the characters of comic books' golden age, which I'm defining as 1935 to 1949. The books and web sites cover a fair percentage of them, but not all of them, and if you're like me--and I know I am--you want to know more. So I decided to write that one, authoritative (if not magisterial) encyclopedia on the subject.

I haven't covered everyone. Some characters--some comics--of that era didn't survive. Other characters I haven't been able to read. But I think I've covered about 95%, more or less, and those I've missed don't count in any real sense. 

I apologize for the relative lack of information for most of the entries. Even those characters I was relatively enthusiastic about seem to have gotten short shrift. The problem is that all of the entries appear together in the book version of this encyclopedia (which I trust will be available electronically by the end of this month, via iBooks, and in print to those who paid for such in the Kickstarter phase). Altogether I'm at around 200,000 words, or 405 manuscript pages. If I devoted the time and space to each character as they deserve, the book would be multiple times larger, and no one wants that, not even me. So wonderful oddities like Lion Man will, alas, have to make do with relatively skimpy descriptions.

Lastly...a quote, and a dedication. You may wonder why I've spent such time--and, all told, I'll have devoted around nine months to this project, which is no small space in one's life--on these crudely written, crudely drawn, unsophisticated, long-forgotten characters. I can only respond with a Grant Morrison quote from Animal Man: "This is fantastic! More! More! You’re all so wonderful! Why did they ever have to remove you from the continuity? You’d have made for marvelous stories!" There are people who can look at the aforementioned Lion Man, or Madam Fatale, or Congo Bill, and fail to see the possibilities in them. Not me. All of these characters (or most of them, anyhow) could sparkle, in the right hands. I revel in their possibilities. 

Finally, I'd like to dedicate this encyclopedia to the individuals who over the years have made me feel like a 12-year-old reading superhero comics again, and given me the enthusiasm for comics that Golden Age superhero comics deserve: 

Abe Binder, Kurt Busiek, Justin Davis, Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, Matt Fraction, Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Jeff Parker, Walt Simonson, Chris Sims, and Mark Waid.  

Thank you, one and all.

This book began as a Kickstarter project, and without the kind folks who pledged money to it the book would never have been finished. I’m indebted to the following for their financial faith in the book:

 Daniel Aberg, David H. Adler, Jason Aiken, Edward Ainsworth, alant, Alhazred, Mo Ali, Allison, Rich Amtower, David Anaxagoras, Paul Andinach, antony, Jen Aprahamian, arandhawa, Arc Dream Publishing, ArdRhi, Josh Atkins, James Atkinson, Aaron Atwood, Mark Atwood, Jared Axelrod, Cesar Azuaje, Tom B., Scott Baker, Paul Allan Ballard, Benjamin Bangsberg, Joe Bardales, Michael Barenberg, Michael Bast, Simon Batistoni, Kyle Baxter, Bob Beamon, Michel Bélanger, Daniel Berg, Heidi Berthiaume, Ross Binder, Tim Bishop, Blake, Pierre Blanchet, Alan Blank, Jayme Blaschke, Blue Tyson, bookbuster, Ian Borchardt, Monty Bouvart, Mark Bowers, Terence Bowlby, Michael Bowman, Jordan Boyd, Shay Brog, Dave Brzeski, Saxon Bullock, Steve Burnett, Andrew Burton, Christopher Burton, Andrew Byers, Andrew Caicedo, Brian Calvary, Nick Caldwell, Andrew Callovi, Neil Campbell, Shay Caron, cbyknight, cdthomas, S.J. Chambers, ChaosClockwork, Jeffrey J. Chaves, Ray Chiang, Terence Chua, Kevin Church, Aaron Churchill, Jason Ciaramella, Cathy Clark, Robert Clark, Ryan Closs, Kimberly Clutter, Karen Collins, Lee Cooley, Bill Crider, Joshua Cupp, Scott A. Cupp, Brian Curley, Rod Currie, DaChamparooni, Kirt Dankmyer, David, Christopher Day, Jennifer Day, Sarah Deaton, Ed Delaney, Joshua Delaney, Mike DeLisa, Kim De Malpertuis, Joshua Diaz, Alexa Dickman, Jim Dirig, Abby Dover, Ryan Dunlavey, Bryant Durrell, Ecksearoh, Teddy Eddy, Matthew Edwards, Sigrid Ellis, Susanna Eng-Ziskin, Eric G. Englert, Ryan W. Enslow, Eric, R. James Evans, Jason Ewen, Edwin Falter, Jesse Farrell, John Farrell, Howard Fein, Michael Feldhusen, Max Fenton, Jason Fetterley, Fred Filler, Filthy Monkey, Jennifer Fisher, Jason Fleshman, Jason Fliegel, Tom Floyd, Elizabeth Flynn, Casper Fox, Kara Y. Frame, Lowell Francis, P. Frank, Evan Franke, Judah Freed, fulldamage, Gabriel, Arslan Ildarovich Galeyev, Tom Galloway, Pat Gamblin, Alan Gandy, Antonio Garcia, Kevin Garcia, George Gatewood, Jim Genzano, Sean Gerlach, Louis Gill, Kieron Gillen, Duncan Gillis, Joshua Gillman, Robert Gilson, Randy Golden, K. Gong, Paul Goodwin, Damian Gordon, Government Spy, Erin Grady, Philip Graves, Richard Green, Dave Gross, Grubnash, alex T. Guerrero, Peggy Hailey, Marc Kevin Hall, Sean Hamilton, Matthew Happen, Charles Hargrove, John Harrison, Frank Hart, Chris Hartjes, Greg Hartman, Brendan Harris, hassanchop, Peter Hawkins, Martin Hayes, Jennifer Heddle, Sarah Heiner, Steven Henderson, Douglas Herring, Tony Heugh, Fred Hicks, Derek Hiemforth, Tanner Higgin, Dan Hill, Michael Hill, Tony Hirt, Gary Hoggatt, Paul Holmes, Larry Hosken, Michael Hoskin, Robert H. Hudson Jr., Dennis Hughes, Jon Hughes, Brian Huizingh, Christopher Hull, Robert Huss, Gage Hutchens, Ryan Hyland, Christopher Ivey, Joe Izenman, Gwenaël Jacquet, Joy Jakubaitis, Renaud Jeanmenne, Joe768, John, Dan Johnson, Seth Johnson, Wright Johnson, Michael M. Jones, Salome Jones, John Kane, R.J. Karol, Katkat, Matthew Katz, Andrew Kelly, Dan Kelly, Adam Kempa, Steve Kenson, Jack Kessler, Keyes, Abhay Khosia, James King, kjgrant, Rick Klaw, Sean Kleefeld, Komainu, Jim Kosmicki, Sonia Koval, Ed Kowalczewski, Jeff Kromer, Stefan Krzywicki, Andrew Kunka, Steven Kwan, J.P. LaFond, Ann Larimer, Chris Larkin, Henri Laupmaa, Steve Leahy, Jenn Manley Lee, Jon Leitheusser, Steven Leung, Karin Levenstein, Ryan K. Lindsay, Lionheart, Joe Littrell, Alex Livingston, Steven S. Long, Ken Lowery, Matt Ludwig, Raymond Lui, Lukas, Edward Lukman, Johnathan Lyon, Alex Lyons, Jay Mac, magnumt, Mangetout, Andrea Manghiuc, Zach Mann, Kevin J. Maroney, Alex Martinelli, Randi Mason, matthurlburt, Karl Maurer, John Maynard, Gordon McAlpin, M. Casey McCarty, Maitland McDonagh, Brian McDonald, Mike McGee, Clay McGovern, Kevin McHale, Chris McLaren, Guy McLimore, Meff, James Meiers, Jeremy Melloul, Patrice Mermoud, Jeff Metzner, mfks, A.J. Michel, MightyHunter, Greg Miller, millibeau, Tom Minton, Andrew Monk, moofkenubi, Michael Moreci, Steve Morey, Morgan, Jason Peter Morris, Jon Morris, Scott Morrison, Greg Morrow, Diego Navarrette, Jason Nebergall, Andrew Newton, Norimitsu Kaiho, Patrick Nork, Brandon Oakley, Drea O’Dare, Kevin O’Donnell, Padraig O Mealoid, OmegaBahamut, Robert Orth, Owlglass, Thomas H. Padgett Jr., Patrick, Henri Patricio, Justin Peck, Stephen Perkins, Blake Petit, Evan Pettit, Steve Pheley, Andy Podell, Steven Politzer, James Poplawski, John Post, James Powell, Richard Powell, Tim Pratt, Rrai Prior, David Rapp, S. Jessica Ray, Benjamin Read, Jay Reid, Ricky Reilly, Patrick Rennie, Michael Rhode, Joshua Roye, Rusti, Bailey Shoemaker Richards, Carl Rigney, Chris Roberson, Alan Robertson, Robstu, John Romkey, Shana Rosenfeld, Marcus Rowland, Daniel Rubenstein, Cathy S., Sam, Steven Schend, Marc Schiermeier, Frank Schildner, Schleproque, Michael Schiffer, Jeff Schultz, Daniel Schwartz, David Schwartz, Scott, Joe Sergi, Gopakumar Sethuraman, Pam Shafer, Patrick Sharp, Steven Shaviro, Hal Shipman, Ashtara Silunar, Silverback Press & Legendsmiths, Chris Sims, Noah Singman, Gareth-Michael Skarka, Nathaniel Skiba, JRD Skinner, Small Demons, Benjamin Smith, Jason Smith, Nathaniel Smith, Stephen Smoogen, Brian Smyth, snell, Felipe Sobreiro, Tony Solomun, Jeremy Southard, Cat Sparks, Mark Squire, Daniel Stack, Ginger Stampley, Stephan, Igor Stephens, Steven, Richard Stevens, Bruce Strong, Robert E. Stutts, Subterranean Press, David Sweeney, Ryan Swift, John Taber, Nick Tangborn, Moises Taveras, Mark Teppo, Adam Thibault, Josh Thomson, Timothylegion, Paul Tobin, Dylan Todd, Schaeffer Tolliver, Torqumada286, Heather Ross Towers, Liza Trombi, Jeff Troutman, John Troutman, William Turk, Chrysoula Tzavelas, Derek Upham, Jason Urbanciz, Jason Uresti, Lee Valentine, Darren Vallance, Dave Van Domelen, Kelley Vanda, Patrick Vaughan, Emma Vieceli, Victor, Andrew Volpe, Larry B. Vossler, David W., Johnny Walker, wallred, Matthew Wang, Alasdar Watson, Ben Welch-boln, Karl Ruben Weseth, David Westbrook, David Whelan, Mark D. White, Alec Whitford, Wilder, Ian Wildman, Bob Wilkins, Charles Wilkins, Bill Williams, Mads Winther, Andrew Wilson, Lorena Wolfe, David Wolkin, Elizabeth Woodward, Jonathan Woodward, Meredith Yayanos, Darcy Yarrow, Jonathan Young, Nida Zada, Roy Zemlicka, Zizi. 

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