Adventure Heroes: Legendary Characters from Odysseus to James Bond

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9780816028863: Adventure Heroes: Legendary Characters from Odysseus to James Bond
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Provides information on the lives, costumes, weapons, and first appearances of superhero characters from comics, television, movies, and novels

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This guide to fictional characters presents the exploits of individuals who provide inspiration through their examples of courage and determination. Characters endowed with supernatural or superscientific powers are not included, nor are legendary historical figures. This volume features such diverse personalities as Peer Gynt, Sky King, and the Mod Squad.

The approximately 570 entries are arranged alphabetically, either according to the character's first or last name (both Dick Tracy and Dorothy Gale are found in the Ds or by their title (Dr. Richard Kimble, Sergeant Preston). An index is provided and will need to be consulted on a regular basis. The entries range from one paragraph to a couple of pages; some feature black-and-white photographs. Codes indicate various media that have featured each character: comic book, folklore, literature, mythology, motion picture, opera, radio, stage, toy, trading card, television, and video or computer game. Each entry includes the character's first appearance, a biography, and a section of commentary--background information on the evolution of characters, actors who have portrayed them, and related articles.

Several obscure characters not usually found in other sources are included: Ilya Murometz from Russian folklore, cartoon-character Thundarr the Barbarian, and Admiral Fudge, whose comic strip first appeared in 1908. Family histories span various media formats, such as the article on the Cartwrights of Virginia City or the selection on the Hardy Boys. Characters who play supporting roles can be found in main entries: the essay on Captain Jean-Luc Picard includes the entire cast of Star Trek, The New Generation; Huck Finn appears in the entry on Tom Sawyer. Some entries need to be updated. Prince Valiant's biography states that he and Aleta have four children, but the family has grown: Arn, and the twins, Galen and Nathan.

This latest offering joins Rovin's other unique guides, such as The Encyclopedia of Superheroes (Facts On File, 1985), The Encyclopedia of Monsters (Facts On File, 1990), and The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cartoon Animals (Prentice-Hall, 1991). All of these titles feature easy-to-read text and attractive formats and appeal to researchers and browsers from upper elementary school through adults. Not comprehensive (the Virginian is included, but not Shane; Tin Tin, but not Mr. Magoo; the A-Team, but not the Rat Patrol) but thoroughly entertaining, this book will be welcome in libraries where there is an audience for his earlier works.

From Library Journal:

Charlie Chan, Modesty Blaise, Jonny Quest, and Beowulf are just some of the more than 500 characters listed here along with the works in which they appeared. Rovin (The Encyclopedia of Monsters, LJ 9/1/89) has drawn entries from the realms of comic books, comic strips, folklore, literature, mythology, motion pictures, opera, radio, television, video, and computer games. For each character or show he offers date and place of first appearance, a biography, and comments that are chock full of interesting information, including relatively obscure facts such as descriptions of the minor characters Dorothy met in Oz. Unfortunately, there are some organizational problems: The sometimes unpredictable placement of an entry (e.g., Kojak is found under L for Lt. Theo Kojak) will force readers to flip back and forth to the index, and the First Appearance and Last Appearance dates are separated by comments. Still, this is a good ready reference for popular culture collections.
Judy Hauser, Oakland Sch. Lib. Srvcs., Waterford, Mich.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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