Marvel Amazing Super Hero Guide (DK)

 Posted: Jul 2021
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)


DK Publishing are probably the world's most prolific publisher of popular culture guides and encyclopedias.

They produce a lot of original material. But these two books from 2014 are an exception. They both rehash content from previous products. Worse in fact – they're sort of a rehash of each other.

Story Details

  Marvel Amazing Super Hero Guide (DK)
Summary: Spider-Man, Iron Man, Wolverine (Reprints)
Part Reprints: Spider-Man: Inside the World of Your Friendly Neighborhood Hero
Part Reprints: Iron Man: The Ultimate Guide to the Armored Super Hero
Part Reprints: Wolverine: Inside the World of The Living Weapon
  Marvel Avengers Super Hero Guide (DK)
Summary: Spider-Man, Avengers, Wolverine (Reprints)
Part Reprints: The Avengers: The Ultimate Guide to Earth's Mightiest Heroes!
Part Reprints: Spider-Man: Inside the World of Your Friendly Neighborhood Hero
Part Reprints: Wolverine: Inside the World of The Living Weapon

Both products are hard-cover, 9.2" x 11.1" with 208 full-color pages.

Both were released in January 2014.

The "Marvel Amazing Super Hero Guide (DK)" contains re-constituted content from three different previous DK super-hero guides:

The "Marvel Avengers Super Hero Guide" is 100% recycled from nearly the same source material.

In fact, there was clearly overlap between the "Iron Man" and "Avengers" guides, since the Iron Man content is common to both.

Note that Spider-Man did not appear in the earlier Iron Man or Wolverine guides. Nor did Spidey appear in the 2012 Avengers guide, since at that time the Avengers movies did not include Spider-Man, and hence presumably the licensing arrangements for Avengers books did not include Spider-Man either.

Each of those previous source books were 200 pages, and so the final result leaves two thirds of that content on the cutting-room floor in either case.

The "Amazing" book is a pretty even 1/3 Spidey, 1/3 Iron Man, 1/3 Wolverine mix.

The "Avengers Super Hero Guide" leans more like 60% "Iron Man" / "Avengers" source material, with 20% from Spidey and 20% from Wolverine.

General Comments

I haven't gone through page-by-page, but it doesn't seem as if there is anything new in here at all. This is literally just a cut-and-paste job from the earlier books, with a different cover and title, and a contents page to match.

As for the final result – well, both are an absolute riot of color and contrast.

The pages bleed to the edge, and the layout is rarely the same from one page to the next. Square corners change to rounded corners. Black text on white goes to white on grey to black on red or orange. Narrow columns jump to wide bars. Saturated CGI jumps to mid-tone pencils. Reading this book is like a cross-fit workout for the optic nerve.

So. Many. Different. Fonts.

In terms of the actual content, there's no real blending between the content. The different characters are different subsections.

Overall Rating

Look, I know recycling is good for the planet. But frankly there is no good reason for these books to exist.

The "Avengers" book isn't really about The Avengers. It's about the Avengers and two other guys. As for the "Amazing"... it's like the Reader's Digest of Super Hero Guides.

These books are not cohesive. They're not complete. They're not consistent. They're just a quick money grab.

I can forgive this sort of content reuse when it happens with coloring books. Coloring books are disposable. You can happily color the same page twice.

But an Encyclopedia like this? It's like selling a re-bundled dictionary that contains all the odd-numbered pages from Spanish, M-R from Italian, and all the nouns from Romanian!

One-point-Five webs.

 Posted: Jul 2021
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)