'500 Great Comicbook Action Heroes' is both a great pocket reference tool for aficionados - and a superb introduction to a host of fascinating information for newcomers to the subject. Want to know when Superman or Batman first appeared, and who created them? Or how Flash Gordeon got his name? Or who illustrated the first X-Men stories? - the answers are all here! The book begins with a concise history of comics and action heroes and heroines, tracing their development from the first US comics - such as Busch's Max und Moritz, which was published in the 1870s - right up to present-day developments. The main part of the book is divided into six chapters, each covering a different category of action hero. Forty key characters are profiled on dedicated double-page spreads, while a typical spread profiles some four characters, providing all the core information the reader will require. Special stand-alone features are interspersed with these reference pages. Covering topics of particular interest in depth - whether it's the life and career of Stan Lee, the amazingly creative partnership of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, or how comic creators' perceptions of the Cold War influenced their storylines - these spreads provide a wealth of background information, and insights into the role comics have played in shaping popular culture. The book is illustrated in colour throughout - not just with classic artworks of famous characters' key scenes, but also with many rarely seen gems from the past.