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Prepare to Die! Hardcover – May 29, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books; 1 edition (May 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597804207
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597804202
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #986,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


The deconstruction of superheroes has been accomplished before, but rarely has it been done with the vigor and affection of comics veteran Tobin in his nearly pitch-perfect superhero tale for grownups... fierce action, sexy romance, warm nostalgia, and wry observations on being a superhero in the age of YouTube. Publisher's Weekly starred review

"A journey home, into the past - and the heart - of a superhero, by turns inventive, shocking, warm, clever, and very, very human." Kurt Busiek, Harvey & Eisner Award-Winning Author of Marvels, The Avengers, and Astro City.

About the Author

Paul Tobin lives in Portland, OR, despite not having a single tattoo. He has written the adventures of Spider-Man, Batman, the Hulk, Superman and hundreds of other comic book characters, bringing a sense of realism and character to a genre filled with over-the-top action. He and his wife, artist Colleen Coover, are the creators of two graphic novels, the acclaimed Banana Sunday as well as the recently released and oddly wonderful Gingerbread Girl.

Paul enjoys studying history, burlesque theater, thunderstorms, pretty girls on bicycles, good bagels, evil muffins, and occasionally claims that he would like to punch-fight a mastodon, though those claims have significantly tapered off after he stood next to a life size model at the Natural History Museum in Paris.

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Customer Reviews

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  • "Writing" 9
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Timothy C Allison on August 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
When superhero Steve Clarke (aka Reaver) is defeated by Octagon & his band of evil henchmen, rather than killing him on the spot, he is given two weeks to live. We follow Steve as he attempts to complete his modest bucket list, which primarily consists of unfinished business from his life before he became a superhero.

Clarke's world is clearly post Miller & Moore. The heroes are burdened by their abilities and the consequences of their actions. The villains are very very evil. There are less wacky bank jobs and more burning schoolchildren alive. Clarke himself is a big dumb lug of a hero. Thanks to the silver age origin story, he goes from being a sexually repressed teenager to a beefy guy who hits things.

The pacing and use of superhero tropes is excellent. Tobin's use of flashbacks allows us to learn about the history of the Reaver. His encounters with other heroes and villains propel the story forward even as they flesh out the world.

Somewhat problematic is Tobin's treatment of women and sexuality. Female characters are consistently underdeveloped, and over sexualized. And while I have not done a head count, the feeling is that more female characters are villainous than not. Some of this is attributable to the story being told from Clarke's POV. He is after all, a superbro. Still, I would have liked to see more three dimensional characterization of some female characters (in particular Adele).

***slight spoiler***
The ending was wonderful. After wallowing in the grimgritty world of the Reaver, Tobin shows that the answer is to uphold classic heroic values. Why? Because the world needs the symbol of heroes, even if the reality does not truly match that symbol. Even if imperfect, I applaud the effort to meld a realistic tone with the idealism of past generations.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By willwheels on June 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story of Steve Clark (aka Reaver), a superhero who is strong, fast, can heal, and has a bit of a temper when he fights; told against the backdrop of visiting his first love, and hometown, after he is defeated by his archenemies.

Very much a modern superhero story but still told in an unexpected way and the flashbacks (to Reaver's origin, beginnings, and growth as a superhero) establish a sense of tension throughout the book.

I hope Paul continues to write novels.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robert Deters on December 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a great read from start to finish. Occasionally it dipped into a rather juvenile sexual outlook but overall, this was a great read. If you like comic books and like to build new mythologies (i.e. nothing from any of the already established comic book universes) then you'll love this book.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I almost didn't read "Prepare to Die!." To be honest, superheroes have never really clicked for me in novel form. Maybe it is their inherent visual nature, or maybe--like superhero films until recently--writers just hasn't figured out how to make it work yet; but for whatever reason every superhero-themed book I have read has been a disappointment. The only exceptions I can think of are the early Wild Cards books, which were fun to read but owed as much to Sci Fi as to superhero.

But I was lured into this book by Paul Tobin. I haven't read too much of his work, but his adaptations in "The Savage Sword of Robert E. Howard" impressed me enough to give "Prepare to Die!" a shot.

And you know, what? He did it. Tobin pulled off one of the best superhero novels I have ever read--with a massive, massive caveat.

First, the good stuff. Best of all, "Prepare to Die!" is full-on superhero. This isn't some Sci Fi-hybrid, some "well I guess you could say that blah-blah-blah was a superhero novel" mash-up. All the tropes are here; costumes, secret identities, team-ups, evil organizations of super villains. Everything. Tobin took all of the Grand Opera of classic superhero comics and scripted from a humanistic viewpoint that works really well. There are shades of Astro City in the approach, and that clicks for a novel. I didn't miss the visuals at all, because Tobin was drawing pictures right in my head the way a good author should.

And I loved that "Prepare to Die!" showcased the infinite possibilities of the superhero genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William Henley on March 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
There is a small but growing genre of superhero stories told in prose rather than comics form, and featuring original superheroes created by the author (though often reflecting "archetypal" heroes such as Superman and Batman). PREPARE TO DIE! is one of these. I picked this up to read mainly due to the back-cover recommendation by Kurt Busiek, one of my all-time favorite comics writers. The book's not bad-- it grabbed and held my interest until I finished reading-- but I didn't like it quite as much as Kurt B. did. Your mileage may vary. The story takes place in what seems to me like a rather grim superhero "universe," in which the superheroes are outnumbered by the supervillains, and the heroes are rather imperfectly heroic while the villains are very villainous, using their superpowers for acts of sadism and mass murder. The protagonist, who tells the story in first person, is a hero named Reaver. This sounds more like a villain's name than a hero's, and Reaver does have a creepy aspect to him; in addition to standard powers of strength, speed, and near-invulnerability, he has the "power" that when he punches someone, they lose a year off their natural lifespan. If he punches someone a lot of times (and sometimes he does), the person dies. As a result Reaver is viewed by the public with a mixture of hero-worship, morbid fascination and outright fear. He himself isn't sure he's all that heroic; he blames himself for sometimes losing his temper and letting his potentially lethal power get out of control, and for failing to prevent the death of some of his fellow heroes.

As the novel opens, Reaver is nearly the last of the superheroes, the others having died tragically, gone mad or disappeared.
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