Visualizations, done properly, really hammer home a message or illustrate differences. Few are better at this than Tim Leong who, as Wired magazine’s Director of Digital Design, has often been asked to make datasets appealing to the eye and easy-to-understand. So it’s a no-brainer to think that his new book, Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe was going to be great. And it is.
Jam-packed in the book’s 192 pages are hundreds of visualizations, all relating to comic books. It’s a smorgasbord of infographics covering everything from a comparison of archers Hawkeye and Green Arrow to an in-depth evaluation of Spy vs Spy which includes win distribution, victories over time, and win streaks, and even considers the brief appearances of the female gray spy, who won every conflict.
Lots of the charts are fascinating, while others are just silly (“70 Years of Wonder Woman’s Legs”, comparing the amount of leg shown over time). A two-page spread titled “If You Were the Punisher, What Would You Do?” follows a many legged flow chart to a very predictable outcome. There’s even a three-page foldout that captures “The World of the Caped Crusader” on one side and “The History of Comic Book Movies” on the other.
Leong has been careful to mark pages where spoilers are revealed and there’s even an eight-page spread in the middle illuminating Comic-Con attendance over time and the cosplay associated with it. Each page is a wonder and many charts and diagrams are laced with a decent amount of humor. It’s tough to keep a smile off your face while reading.
Super Graphic is an absolute joy and a feast for the eyes. It’s stuffed with enough information to keep you occupied for hours and fun enough to want to revisit again and again. If you’re a comics fan or simply love data visualizations, you definitely need to check it out.
Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of this book.