Here at Grovel I’ve tended to have a policy of not telling you about books until they’re released and ready to buy. After all, who needs to know about a book they can’t actually get their hands on? But then sometimes you get to see a book that you can’t wait to talk about and The Vertigo Encyclopedia falls firmly into this category.
For someone like me, who has spent most of his adult life as well as a good chunk of childhood reading comics and graphic novels, delving into this book is like walking into a pub and finding a jukebox that plays all your favourite songs. I could tell you what I was doing when I first read some of the books in this comprehensive digest.
Vertigo is an imprint of DC Comics that started as an easier way for readers and retailers to distinguish between comics that were clearly aimed at mature readers, and had less of an emphasis on traditional superheroes. The roster, when you look at it like this, is nothing short of amazing, covering classics like The Sandman and Preacher, alongside newer series like Y: The Last Man and Scalped.
The encyclopedia itself is beautifully presented, as you’d probably expect from Dorling Kindersley. Crammed with detail about a great many of Vertigo’s publications and characters, and also documenting the rest, it’s a treasure trove of information. The entries are weighted according to the importance of the piece. The Sandman, for example, gets 10 pages devoted to it, including information on the writer, artists, story, characters, setting, notes on its creation, the spin-off publications and some outstanding moments.
The text is squeezed in around illustrations pulled from the books, so you can simply sit and flick through, marvelling at the exquisite artistry and grazing on the information around it.
If you’re a fan of Vertigo or know someone who is, this is well worth taking a look at. It’ll bring to light new comics you didn’t even know you wanted to read, and rekindle the love you probably have for some old favourites.
The Vertigo Encyclopedia is available for pre-order and will hit the shelves in September.