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Modern myths, cheap trash or the objects of fetishist desire? Most people know something about Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and Wonder Woman, even if what they know is heavily filtered through film and television versions, rather than the comics in which they first appeared. Yet, even though the continuity of the DC and Marvel Comics universes rival or surpass in size almos Modern myths, cheap trash or the objects of fetishist desire? Most people know something about Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and Wonder Woman, even if what they know is heavily filtered through film and television versions, rather than the comics in which they first appeared. Yet, even though the continuity of the DC and Marvel Comics universes rival or surpass in size almost anything else in Western culture, surprisingly little attention has been paid to comics, which we are supposed to grow out of. In Superheroes!, acclaimed cultural commentator Roz Kaveney argues that this is a mistake, that, at their best, superhero comics are a form in which some writers and artists are doing fascinating work, not in spite of their chosen form, but because of it. Superheroes! discusses the slow accretion of comic universes from the thirties to the present day, the ongoing debate within the conventions of the superhero comic about whether superheroes are a good thing and the discussion within the comics fan community of the extent to which superhero comics are disfigured by misogyny and sexism. Roz Kaveney attempts to explain the differences between Marvel and DC, the notion of the floating present (or why Spider-Man, fifteen when he adopted the costume, is still only in his early thirties), and the various attempts by both companies to re-invent and re-boot individual characters and their entire continuity universes. She also looks at the influence of comics on the group of film and television screenwriters she calls "the fanboy creators," all of whom moonlight as comics script writers, using Joss Whedon as her case study, and examines the adaptation of well-known comics into large-budget feature films, not always to the advantage of the material.


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Modern myths, cheap trash or the objects of fetishist desire? Most people know something about Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and Wonder Woman, even if what they know is heavily filtered through film and television versions, rather than the comics in which they first appeared. Yet, even though the continuity of the DC and Marvel Comics universes rival or surpass in size almos Modern myths, cheap trash or the objects of fetishist desire? Most people know something about Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and Wonder Woman, even if what they know is heavily filtered through film and television versions, rather than the comics in which they first appeared. Yet, even though the continuity of the DC and Marvel Comics universes rival or surpass in size almost anything else in Western culture, surprisingly little attention has been paid to comics, which we are supposed to grow out of. In Superheroes!, acclaimed cultural commentator Roz Kaveney argues that this is a mistake, that, at their best, superhero comics are a form in which some writers and artists are doing fascinating work, not in spite of their chosen form, but because of it. Superheroes! discusses the slow accretion of comic universes from the thirties to the present day, the ongoing debate within the conventions of the superhero comic about whether superheroes are a good thing and the discussion within the comics fan community of the extent to which superhero comics are disfigured by misogyny and sexism. Roz Kaveney attempts to explain the differences between Marvel and DC, the notion of the floating present (or why Spider-Man, fifteen when he adopted the costume, is still only in his early thirties), and the various attempts by both companies to re-invent and re-boot individual characters and their entire continuity universes. She also looks at the influence of comics on the group of film and television screenwriters she calls "the fanboy creators," all of whom moonlight as comics script writers, using Joss Whedon as her case study, and examines the adaptation of well-known comics into large-budget feature films, not always to the advantage of the material.

30 review for Superheroes!: Capes and Crusaders in Comics and Films

  1. 4 out of 5

    Baba

    An in depth look and analysis of the Marvel and DC canon of superheroes, continuities and creators. I personally like this read even more for its appreciation and look at one of my favourite comic serials, Brian Michael Bendis's Alias, Vol. 1. It also looks deeply at Watchmen, Dark Knight, The Avengers etc. as well as DC and Marvel 'events'. There's also a chapter on the many film adaptations, although the book is written before the coming of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 7 out of 12. An in depth look and analysis of the Marvel and DC canon of superheroes, continuities and creators. I personally like this read even more for its appreciation and look at one of my favourite comic serials, Brian Michael Bendis's Alias, Vol. 1. It also looks deeply at Watchmen, Dark Knight, The Avengers etc. as well as DC and Marvel 'events'. There's also a chapter on the many film adaptations, although the book is written before the coming of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 7 out of 12.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mjhancock

    Operating from an impressive wealth of knowledge, Roz Kaveney argues for the value of the superhero comic, in terms of the notion of the superhero, and the ongoing, continuity-based narrative. The book is divided up into seven chapters. Chapter one is a general discussion of superheroes, in which Kaveney touches on a number of different aspects, including but not limited to her own experience as a reader, the comic book in comparison to the sagas of the opera, the differences between Marvel and Operating from an impressive wealth of knowledge, Roz Kaveney argues for the value of the superhero comic, in terms of the notion of the superhero, and the ongoing, continuity-based narrative. The book is divided up into seven chapters. Chapter one is a general discussion of superheroes, in which Kaveney touches on a number of different aspects, including but not limited to her own experience as a reader, the comic book in comparison to the sagas of the opera, the differences between Marvel and DC, a general history from the Golden Age to the current moment, and other superhero perspectives. The rest of the chapters all focus more narrowly on specific topics. Chapter 2 deals with her chief claim that comics should be studied as valuable long term narratives, with a thorough analysis of Brian Bendis' Alias. Chapter 3 continues in that general direction with another "thick" work that is more specifically about the nature of superhero comics: Alan Moore's Watchmen. Chapter 4 looks at long-term runs, with features on Miller's Dark Knight Returns, Busiek's Avengers Forever, and Morrison's New X-Men. Chapter 5 is on reboots and company-wide events, including DC's Crises and Marvel's Civil War. Chapter 6 argues that comicbooks have significant influence on developments in other mediums, by tracing the outputs and influences of Joss Whedon. And the final chapter considers the superhero movie, up to Elektra (perhaps not the best end point). I'd like to say that Kaveney's book is accessible, but as someone who's been reading comics for nearly twenty years, my opinion on the matter is a little suspect. I can say that chapter 2--which dealt with the comics I was least familiar with--discussed Alias in such a way that I was never in the dark. The caveat to accessibility is that those exceptionally familiar with comics may occasionally be waiting politely for the recap to end so the argument can continue again, but it's such a nice argument that it isn't much of a burden. It's scholarly level investigation and research, without getting bogged down in sources and theories. I think I might seek out other stuff by Kaveney, based on the strength of this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dilliwag

    This book came highly recommended by members of an academic message board I frequent. Imagine my surprise when the book turned out to be not all that academic. While Kaveney did offer some insightful analysis of such comic classics as The Watchmen, the Avengers, and the Justice League, she provided little in the way of theoretical grounding. In the eyes of this academic reader, that is a significant weakness. Still, the basic content of the book is enjoyable. If you're a superhero geek, like me, This book came highly recommended by members of an academic message board I frequent. Imagine my surprise when the book turned out to be not all that academic. While Kaveney did offer some insightful analysis of such comic classics as The Watchmen, the Avengers, and the Justice League, she provided little in the way of theoretical grounding. In the eyes of this academic reader, that is a significant weakness. Still, the basic content of the book is enjoyable. If you're a superhero geek, like me, I'm sure you'll consider the read worth your while.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    Interesting thoughts about what happens when superheroes and culture, literary theory, and the art form intersect.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mark Ganek

    A useful study of the superhero in modern culture. While lacking any overarching theory, the book contains a great many insightful observations and dissections of various heroes, comics, and movies.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gary

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

  8. 5 out of 5

    Arcobaleno Novellan

  9. 4 out of 5

    N. T.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Steven Pilling

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lesley

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kaeleigh

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alysa H.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lois

  16. 4 out of 5

    Navin Wadhwani

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  18. 5 out of 5

    Krzysztof Mathews

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sam Hesketh

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nina

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ondra Král

    Podivná knížka, u které pořádně nechápu, kdo má být její cílovka.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Martin Glassborow

  23. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jordan D Oldbury

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lynda

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cora

  27. 5 out of 5

    Coa

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gabe

  29. 4 out of 5

    Charlie Wilson

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jason

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