Sam Jackson

Addicting Guides to Major Media Franchises

From Harry Potter to Pokemon

1. Pokémon Deluxe Essential Handbook

I had the OG guide to the original 151 Pokemon as kid, and it was like crack to a young boy. Grades dropped, I got a little nearsighted, and had to move up to a husky size. It was worth it. If I didn't know it would destroy my life, I'd buy this book and slip into sweet sweet Poke-bliss in a second.

2. The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels (Star Wars)

You need this. It includes includes original art, cross sections, weaponry/speed/dimension specs, and backstory for every ship in the original trilogy. It's awesome. I realize that some hardcore Star Wars fans have disputed some of the figures presented in the book, and to them I say: don't be a buzzkill. "Facts" are up for interpretation in a fictional universe.

3. Harry Potter: The Character Vault

The number of characters in the Harry Potter series depends on what you qualify as a character. Some people like to count chocolate frogs cards. Some people are also wrong. Whatever the actual number is, it's in the order of hundreds (one of the most impressive things I've ever seen in my life was my friend getting 192/200 on this Sporcle quiz with no prep, 2 years after last reading a Harry Potter book). This is a great guide to help you close in on 200 yourself, with tons of images, facts, and figures on each character.

4. James Bond Encyclopedia: Updated Edition

It's easy to watch the James Bond movies as they come out and think of them as disparate, standalone films. And in some sense, they are -- they're clearly intended to work on their own, with no background knowledge required on the part of the audience.

BUT, for those that know the universe well, there's an entirely different dimension to the Bond films: backstories to villians and plots and Bond himself that arc across the series. This guide will catch you up on the big picture quick, though if you've got the time I'd highly recommend a Bond movie marathon.

5. Marvel Encyclopedia

This encyclopedia is a monster, including detailed facts, timelines, and backstories about over 1,200 Marvel Universe characters. Unclear if it covers the Old Man Logan storyline, the inspiration for the Logan movie, and the most badass comic out there, but regardless, there's a lot of good shit to work with.

6. DC Comics Encyclopedia All-New Edition

The sister guide to the Marvel encyclopedia, DC's edition features over 1,100 characters and is packed with bios, storylines, and original art. Choosing between this and the Marvel guide is a tough call, and one that I wouldn't want to make. Safer to just get both.
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