Jess Nevins
Nevins in 2018
Nevins in 2018
Born1966 (age 57–58)
OccupationAuthor and librarian
GenreVictoriana, Pulp
Website Edit this at Wikidata

Jess Nevins (born 1966) is an American author and research librarian best known for annotated guides and encyclopedias covering Victoriana, comic books, genre fiction and pulp fiction.[1] Among Nevin's books are Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana, Horror Fiction in the 20th Century and Encyclopedia of Golden Age Superheroes. He has been a recipient and finalist for a number of honors, including the World Fantasy, Sidewise, and Locus Awards.


Nevins is married with one son[2] and is a life-long fan of comic books.[3] Nevins received his Master of Library and Information Science from Simmons College in 1996[4] and has previously worked as a research librarian at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas[3] and at the University of California at Riverside.[2] He is currently employed as a reference librarian at Lone Star College-Tomball.[5][6]

Comic book annotations

Early work

Nevins has annotated a number of comic books, starting with several Elseworlds published by DC Comics including Kingdom Come and JLA: The Nail.[2] He first encountered literary annotation in college, with the famous footnotes in T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" making a big impact on him.[3]

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Nevins has annotated many of Alan Moore's comics, including spending four years creating notes for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.[3][7][8] Nevins published his notations to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen online, with his work called "an excellent guide" that "highlights Moore's homage to Victorian style."[9]

Moore said of Nevins' work, "It was only when someone finally conveyed these internet postings to me... that I began to understand the invaluable asset that Jess represented... I realised that if we had [him] tracking down all of the references for the readers, then we could be as obscure and far-reaching as we wanted...",[10] Moore later said Nevins' work helped inform The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume II: "The New Traveller's Almanac": "The patient work contained within this current volume [Heroes & Monsters] has played an important part in the construction of this vast, imaginary global edifice that we're constructing... [the Almanac]",[10] Moore sees "these companion volumes as having a necessary organic place in the body of the work itself."[11]

Other annotations

In-between volumes of LoEG, Nevins has tackled Moore and Gene Ha's Top Ten. He subsequently provided annotations on Moore and Ha's 2005 Top Ten graphic novel The Forty-Niners and Paul Di Filippo and Jerry Ordway's 2005 sequel miniseries Beyond the Farthest Precinct.[12] Nevins also annotated Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert's 2003 mini-series 1602 from Marvel Comics.[13]

Reference guides

Nevins initially compiled several reference guides on his website including The Golden Age Heroes Directory, the Pulp and Adventure Heroes Directory, and Fantastic, Mysterious, and Adventurous Victoriana.[14][15] He later expanded some of these online resources into print, including in The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana.

In May 2007, McFarland & Company published his Pulp Magazine Holdings Directory, a listing of which issues of pulp magazines are held in American, Canadian, British, and European libraries. In 2016, McFarland released his book The Victorian Bookshelf: An Introduction to 61 Essential Novels. In 2013, he wrote Fables Encyclopedia with Bill Willingham for Vertigo Comics, with each entry examining the historical origins of characters along with how Fables reworked them.[16][17]

Nevins's books have also been released by Praeger Publishing, Flame Tree Publishing, and MonkeyBrain while he still self-publishes some titles, such as The Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes.[6] For this guide, released in 2017, Nevins spent 10 years researching early 20th century genre literature from across the world.[6] He also created a companion superhero reference work, the Encyclopedia of Golden Age Superheroes released by High Rock Press.

Other work

Nevins has also written fictional stories appearing in the Tales of the Shadowmen anthology series: "A Jest, To Pass The Time" from volume 2, "Red in Tooth and Claw" in volume 4, and "A Root That Beareth Gall and Worms" in volume 5.

Critical reception

In Asimov's Science Fiction, Paul Di Filippo described Nevins as a "fount of erudition and charm" and said that Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana is an "instantly indispensable part of any serious fan's reference shelf."[18] Elizabeth Hand in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction called the encyclopedia "one of the best books of the year."[19]

Writing in The Washington Post, Michael Dirda praised Horror Fiction in the 20th Century for containing "groundbreaking chapters" pointing to important horror writers outside the Anglo-American tradition while also criticizing the book for not containing specific titles for well-known horror authors.[20]

Midwest Book Review called The Victorian Bookshelf: An Introduction to 61 Essential Novels "impressively well written, organized and presented, making it an ideal and highly recommended addition to both community and academic library."[21]

Matthew David Surridge in Black Gate called The Evolution of the Costumed Avenger a "tremendous resource in not just the historical development of the superhero, but the analysis of the superheroic idea"[1] while John DeNardo in Kirkus Reviews said it is "a well-researched and utterly captivating book offering the complete history of the superhero and how the concept has evolved over time."[22] The Wall Street Journal also praised the book, calling Nevins a "super-researcher" for mapping "the DNA that links ancient Enkidu to our own Wolverine. He convincingly shows that the superheroes of today's page and screen got their start long before baby Kal-El was sent rocketing toward Earth as the planet Krypton exploded.[23]


Nevins's book Horror Fiction in the 20th Century: Exploring Literature's Most Chilling Genre (2020) won a Reference and User Services Association award from the American Library Association as one of the 10 most outstanding reference works of the year.[24] The book was also a finalist for the Locus Award.

He has also been a finalist for the International Horror Guild Award for Heroes & Monsters: The Unofficial Companion to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the World Fantasy Award for Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana,[25] and the Sidewise Award for "An Alternate History of Chinese Science Fiction."[26]



Essays and introductions


  1. ^ a b c "The Gestation of Cape and Cowl: Thoughts on Jess Nevins' The Evolution of the Costumed Avenger" by Matthew David Surridge, Black Gate, April 7, 2017, accessed June 17, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c "Interview: 11 Questions for Jess Nevins, Mighty Comics Annotator" by Lev Grossman, Time, March 13, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d "Librarian has an Extraordinary alter ego; Jess Nevins uses his powers of scholarship and analysis to shed light on the multiplex-bound 'Gentlemen'" by Joe Gross, The Austin American-Statesman, July 10, 2003, E1.
  4. ^ Revolting Librarians Redux : Radical Librarians Speak Out edited by Katia Roberto and Jessamyn West, McFarland & Co., page 210.
  5. ^ "Transformations: An Update from Dr. Susan Karr, President" (PDF). Lone Star College-Tomball. 2010-08-30. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
  6. ^ a b c "College librarian compiles guide to global pulp fiction" by Nora Olabi, The Houston Chronicle, March 22, 2016.
  7. ^ "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" by David S. Serchay, Critical Survey of Graphic Novels: Heroes & Superheroes; May 2013, page 402.
  8. ^ "Alan Moore: an extraordinary gentleman – Q&A" by Subhajit Banerjee, The Guardian, July 25, 2011.
  9. ^ Teaching Nineteenth-Century Fiction edited by A. Maunder and J. Phegley, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, page 69.
  10. ^ a b Nevins, Jess; Moore, Alan; O'Neill, Kevin (2003). Heroes & Monsters: The Unofficial Companion to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Austin, Texas: MonkeyBrain Books. p. 13. ISBN 193226504X.
  11. ^ Sanderson, Peter (December 17, 2004). "Comics in Context #66: A Christmas Potpourri". IGN. Retrieved January 18, 2008.
  12. ^ "Beyond the Farthest Precinct: Annotations" by Jerry Ordway, accessed June 18, 2023.
  13. ^ "I Think I'm Somewhere in Pennsylvania" by Neil Gaiman, October 12, 2004, accessed June 18, 2023.
  14. ^ Magic Words: A Dictionary by Craig Conley, Red Wheel Weiser, 2008, page 341.
  15. ^ Women Writers and Detectives in Nineteenth-Century Crime Fiction: The Mothers of the Mystery Genre by L. Sussex, Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2010, page 202.
  16. ^ a b "Exclusive: New 'Fables' books are coming" by Whitney Matheson, USA Today, February 21, 2013.
  17. ^ a b DC Entertainment Essential Graphic Novels and Chronology 2015, DC Comics, 2015, page 108.
  18. ^ "On Books" by Paul Di Filippo, Asimov's Science Fiction, January 2007, page 131-132.
  19. ^ "Books" by Elizabeth Hand, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May 2006, pages 50-51.
  20. ^ "'The Visual History of Science Fiction Fandom' beautifully demonstrates the evolution of a genre" by Michael Dirda, The Washington Post, March 4, 2020.
  21. ^ a b "Reviewer's Choice," Midwest Book Review, Volume 11, Number 6, June 2016.
  22. ^ "Exploring the History of Superheroes" by John DeNardo, Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2017.
  23. ^ "From Beowulf to Batman" by Michael Dirda, The Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2017.
  24. ^ "2021 Outstanding Reference Sources List Announced". American Library Association. 4 February 2021. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  25. ^ "Winners and Nominees, 2006," World Fantasy Convention, accessed 6/16/2023.
  26. ^ "The Sidewise Awards: Finalists for the Best Short-Form Alternate History," Awards at Denvention 3, Denvention 3 program, 66th World Science Fiction Convention, 2008, page 107.
  27. ^ The Astounding Illustrated History of Science Fiction, Flame Tree Publishing, accessed June 18, 2023.
  28. ^ "One the Net: Alternativity" by James Patrick Kelly, Asimov's Science Fiction, January 2007, pages 14-15.
  29. ^ "You Can't Stay Neutral on a Moving Train" by Margaret Killjoy, SteamPunk Magazine, issue 7, page 6