Nevins, Jess

Tagged: Author | Critic

Working name of US reference librarian and author John J Nevins (1966-    ), most of whose work to date has been nonfiction, with an emphasis on Fantastika, initially focusing on the study and annotation of Superhero Comics; he began to publish fiction with "A Jest, to Pass the Time" in Gentlemen of the Night, anth 2006, edited by Jean-Marc Lofficier and Randy Lofficier. Much of his nonfiction work has been online, and is findable at his website [see under links below]; his extensive examination of Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (1999-current) is also available as Heroes & Monsters: The Unofficial Companion to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003; vt Heroes & Monsters 2006), A Blazing World: The Unofficial Companion to the Second League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2004; vt A Blazing World 2006) and Impossible Territories: An Unofficial Companion to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen The Black Dossier (2008).

Of more comprehensive interest, however, is The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana (2005), which comprises a set of extensive entries on characters featured in the fantastic literature of the nineteenth century, focusing on Heroes and heroines and Villains who appear in tales of the fantastic as defined in this encyclopedia, but including protagonists of other genres as well: thrillers, swashbucklers, adventures stories of every sort. Some general entries are also included, but more importantly Nevins's detailed examination of individual characters, whose adventures often continue through several volumes, provides a uniquely intense portrait of the first age of Pulp, when these enactors of the half-secret wish-fulfilling dreamworld of the West in recent centuries were first created. The lack of an index, or of cross-reference entries in the actual text, can sometimes impair easy access – Nevins's informed discussion of Alexander Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo (1844-1845) is only findable, for instance, under a single headword, Dantés, Edmond. But as a whole The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana remains irreplaceable.

A draft version of Nevins's «Encyclopedia of Golden Age Superheroes» is available online [again see under links below]. The work that may become thought of as his magnum opus, the 800,000 word «The Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes» which has been projected for several years, now seems likely to be published in 2017 as an ebook and in three POD volumes respectively covering sf/fantasy heroes, other adventurers, and cowboys; a fourth volume for Golden Age detectives may also appear and be added to the ebook. [JC]

see also: Apes as Human; Gregory Casparian.

John J Nevins

born Boston, Massachusetts: 30 July 1966




League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

individual titles

works as editor


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