If you are looking for a exceptionally witty, and colorful gift for the comicbook lover in your life Super Graphic, A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe by Tim Leong is it. In fact, your giftee doesn't even need to be into comics to appreciate Leong's wonderfully, funny graphic book chocked full of charts galore. It's one of the most clever books I've seen recently.
I worked with Leong during my short time at Wired. I never had the opportunity to work directly with him (he served as Director of Digital Design), however any time I ever spoke with him he was delighful and kind. (His desk was also a visual playground with much to look at, and be inspired by.) Leong gave a sneak peek of the beginnings of Super Graphic during a retreat last spring to the staff of Wired, as he walked us through his visual world it was clear this was going to be a must have for the bookshelf. I've been waiting for his book for a year and a half!
You how ever will only have to wait a few weeks.
Super Graphic has so much great stuff going on, that I would almost prefer you to discover it on your own. It's that good. But for sake of this blog post (and the original reason as to why Chronicle Books sent me it) let's hop to it. As I already mentioned Super Graphic is funny, and it's also incredibly bright both literally and in its copy. Not an easy thing to pull off. Leong knocks it out of the park in many regards. The book itself is quite literally overflowing with data — beautifully and sharply laid out in venn diagrams, maps, graphs, tables, matrix' (!!!), and any chart you can think of from bubble, pie, bar, and so on.
Leong diagrams such topics as the obvious to the most obscure comic facts. From secret identities, to the evolution of Superman's logo, to how to read a comic book (both in English, and the Japanese Manga). What makes the book so delighful and unique is Leong's quirky sense of humor and obvious deep interest in comic books. Along with the above, he creates hilarious and completely unexpected charts. You'll see rap stars influenced by superheros, 70 years of Wonder Woman's legs, Scrooge McDuck's family tree, to ten years of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pizza combos. You'll even find Leong's own downward trajectory of his faith in humanity mapped out when he sees a Calvin peeing on a car logo sticker of Calvin & Hobbes.
Like I said, funny, fantastic stuff. Super Graphic is available on August 1st. Order yours now.