Cover image for The world encyclopedia of comics
The world encyclopedia of comics
Horn, Maurice.
[Revised and updated].
Publication Information:
Philadelphia : Chelsea House, [1999]

Physical Description:
1061 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 32 cm
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN6710 .W6 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

On Order



Originally published in 1976, this revised and updated edition details every major comic/comic strip, the people who worked on them, descriptions of the plots, themes, characters, their place in the history of comics and more. It also contains biographical summaries of artists and writers, a bibliography, glossary and index.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Updating a comprehensive reference classic (originally published in 1976), this second edition adds some 200 new entries to the original 1,200 as well as revising 600 entries that appeared in the first edition. A large proportion of the new entries comes from areas of the world that were underrepresented in the 1976 edition: Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. The purpose is the same as that stated in the foreword to the first edition: "to cover the entire field of comic art in all of its aspects--artistic, cultural, sociological and commercial--on a global scale." The book's format remains largely unchanged, even though the content has been thoroughly revised. The 31-page essay on the history of comics that focused on the U.S. in the previous edition has been updated and broadened to include coverage from all over the world. This is followed by a revised world chronology of comic art, updated through 1997, and an unchanged extended essay analyzing comics as art. The main body of the work consists of the alphabetized entries of comic strips and the creators and producers of comics. On almost every page, Horn has inserted black-and-white relevant examples of comic strips; and in this edition, he has substituted newer or more illustrative examples of comic art. An appealing and thoroughly revised 80-page section of color comic art reproduction appears in volume 3. Revisions and expansions of other essays by the book's contributors (such as a history of newspaper syndication), a glossary, a bibliography, and several appendixes (including the Code of the Comics Magazine Association of America and the "official facsimile of excerpts from the record of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency" in 1954) follow the main entries. The three indexes have been expanded to seven, allowing readers to access information by proper name, title, media, contributors' names, geographical location, illustrations in the book, and general subject. Those libraries with the first edition of The World Encyclopedia of Comics should replace it with this revised version. Other academic libraries, some high-school libraries, and all but the smallest public libraries should also purchase this reference bible on a fascinating subject.

Library Journal Review

While no encyclopedia covering ongoing periodical literature can ever be truly complete, the multivolume set here, enlarged and updated from its first edition published 20 years ago, comes impressively close. Horn, an internationally recognized comics authority with several similar books to his credit, has ensured that this work offers a staggering overview, including the obvious newspaper strips and superhero tales as well as underground, independent, and international titles. While not every single comic ever printed is covered here, and while other comics histories might cover single creators or a particular company more extensively, no other publication offers such a wide and varied scope. Extensive historical data are to be found in the first half of Volume 1, and then the listings begin, reporting on writers, artists, publishers, and characters galore, all mixed together alphabetically and covering information up to December 1997. Entries are at times uneven. For example, the glowing discussion of Bill Waterson's wonderful decade-long run of Calvin and Hobbes is equal in length to that of DC's Batman, even though the latter has a 60-year publishing history. Entries can be brutal on perennial favorites (Batman is judged a "worn-out cliché," and Captain America "limps on"), and key developments are sometimes overlooked (Cap's significant resurgence under Mark Waid and John Garney in 1996 is not even mentioned). Even so, this set has appeal owing to its thorough and insightful coverage and ample illustrations and by virtue of its being the only one of its kind. Only minor differences exist between the single-volume version and the set reviewed above; the hefty tome has the same content and page count as the set, with certain reorganizations (the 80 pages of color illustrations are found together, and comics history articles are found toward the back). Either version is well recommended, but the price difference would make the single-volume work the obvious choice.‘Chris Ryan, New Milford, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6 Up-Updated from the one-volume 1976 edition, this labor of love contains over 1400 signed entries, two thirds of which are either revised or new. After opening with authoritative, opinionated historical and analytical essays, plus a chronology through the end of 1997, Horn joins more than two dozen other contributors to offer an alphabetical catalogue of comic art, books, and strips, as well as their creators, from Pat Brady (Rose Is Rose) to 19th-century British caricaturist Thomas Rowlandson and Ukiyo-e artist Kuniyoshi Utagawa. A color section that takes up half of volume three supplements the black-and-white illustrations decorating every spread. Back matter includes seven specialized indexes, a bibliography, and other useful information. Although the coverage of areas outside of Europe and North America isn't quite as deep, this is an awesome gathering of information that will delight casual fans as well as serious collectors and scholars.-John Peters, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

An alphabetical compendium of comic book and comic strip characters and creators from around the world, sporadically illustrated, this book has such useful supplements as historical essays and indexes of names, titles, media, contributors, places, illustrations, and subjects. Unfortunately, it bears out Horn's reputation for questionable scholarship. Essentially, the book reprints in an unnecessary seven volumes the original edition (2v., CH, Feb'77) with many errors intact and "updates" tacked onto selected entries. One example, the "Green Arrow" entry, has such 22-year-old errors as the character Oliver Queen being called Oliver Quinn, and the artist of the accompanying art example, Lee Elias, misidentified as Bob Fujitani. Horn updates the entry without recording fundamental changes in the character (even his apparent death in 1995), which should certainly be noted in a reference that pretends currency through 1997. "Over 200" new entries help bring matters up to date, but among the missing are entries for the likes of Love and Rockets, Concrete, Spawn , and Bone, and such popular creators as Neil Gaiman, Alex Ross, Peter David, and Erik Larsen. Too many events in the comics medium since 1976 are not represented. Not even Horn's 29 contributors (including the estimable John A. Lent and Mark Evanier), nor such useful and truthful material as is present, can overcome the specters of inaccuracy and omission that haunt this title. Not recommended. A. Ellis; Northern Kentucky University