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Supermen!: The First Wave Of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941 Paperback – April 20, 2009
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“A beautifully designed volume of early American comics... The edition is both aesthetically pleasing and sturdy, featuring clarified reprinting of the colour strips, covers, and scattered elements of advertisements and back matter.” (Michael Leader - Den of Geek)
“A fun anthology that perfectly captures the experience of stumbling across a random stack of old comics in someone’s attic.” (Tangognat.com)
“Supermen! provides a concise glimpse into what the early comic books were like back when the medium was really fresh... Today’s readers will be surprised at how some of the material from a supposed more naive times really comes across rather grim and gritty... The 20 stories on view here provide an intriguing insight of where many of our modern day comic book heroes may have originated from, even if indirectly.” (Kevin Mathews - The Power of Pop)
“Pure pop culture heaven.” (Kevin Church - BeaucoupKevin.com)
“Excitingly surreal…our appreciation for the bizarre otherness of these characters in retrospect suggests that our contemporary icons might well appear no less ‘totally opaque and infinitely awkward’ to future readers.” (The Village Voice)
“Supermen!, this anthology lovingly assembled by Greg Sadowski, makes the case that these earliest endeavors by the future creators of masterworks like The Spirit, Captain America, and Plastic Man were more than crude throat-clearings―they were unfiltered manifestations ?of psyche, lousy with erotic charge and questionable politics. [Grade:] A–.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“The biggest surprise might be how good these stories are, even if they failed to take off in the way that, say, Superman did... [T]he Notes section at the end, written by editor Greg Sadowski, ...is truly fantastic... His studious efforts are worth the price of the book alone... These stories deserved another look and more attention. Sadowski has done an admirable job of making Supermen! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936–1941 not only reverent, but exciting and fun as well.” (John Hogan - Graphic Novel Reporter)
“Supermen! is a rambunctious anthology of the earliest superhero stories―gaudy, crude, infernally potent things, cranked out by young cartoonists.” (Douglas Wolk - The New York Times Book Review)
“I’ve always gotten a kick out of early comics. They’re anti-art in action. Irrational, crude and daffily violent. Kinda like early punk rock.” (M. Ace - Irregular Orbit)
“Supermen! excited me... for suggesting a burning, manic soul of superhero comics... It felt like the start of a future, and the comedown only hit when I realized I enjoyed it more than any new superhero comic of 2009.” (Joe McCulloch - Jog: The Blog)
“Featuring an eclectic assortment of rare, long-out-of-print American superhero short stories... an all-star cast of early work from luminaries including Siegel and Shuster, Simon & Kirby, Fine & Eisner, Wolverton, Cole, Hanks, etc. The reproduction of each story is top notch, with bright, vivid colors, slightly oversized pages and thick paperstock.” (Marc Sobel, - Comic Book Galaxy)
“[A]n amazing collection of Golden Age comics and heroes, beautifully restored.” (Carol Borden - The Cultural Gutter)
“I can’t think of a better single volume of what the period style of fast looked like in practice than last year’s Supermen! anthology. Yes, there’s an added winnowing by genre but that just sharpens the sense of the reductive visual and narrative requirements that were standard for the hot new gravy train that hit the business.” (Rich Kreiner - The Comics Journal)
“A marvel... a non-stop visual delight as much for the art as for the colors as for the audacious (sometimes by default) layouts… [T]he early days of comic books were like the underground: Everything was possible, especially the impossible. You absolutely must buy this book.” (Jean-Pierre Dionnet, co-founder, Les Humanoïdes Associes)
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Top Customer Reviews
SUPERMEN! is a selection of covers, ads, and stories featuring forgotten characters such as Dr. Mystic, the Clock, the Face, the Flame, Skyman, Blue Bolt, the Comet, and many more. Creators include a who's who of comic history: Jack Cole, Will Eisner, Bill Everett, Gardner Fox, Jack Kirby, Ogden Whitney, & Basil Wolverton, just to name a few. These stories are from the earliest days of the comic industry, and many of them, even though written by acknowledged founding fathers, are pretty laughable in terms of plot; however, the art, whether realistic or cartoonish, shows an inspired creativity that would shape the medium for decades. In any case, this book achieves exactly what it sets out to do: to give forgotten work from the Golden Age of comics its due. Jonathan Lethem provides an excellent introduction that really hits home, making me feel like we are long-lost brothers. In fact, it's one of the few truly worthwhile intros I've ever read in a comic collection. The end notes by editor Greg Sadowski wrap the book up nicely, providing interesting tidbits on the creators, stories, and characters.Read more ›
That may sound kind of funny considering I am from the baby boomer generation (I'm 55). That means I was a kid during the Marvel Age of Comics. In the late 60s their title Fantasy Masterpieces ran Golden Age stories of Captain America, Human Torch, Submariner and others. These tales, 25 years old at the time, were so foreign from the 60s comics that I was immediately taken with them. The art on Captain America just flowed, liquid-like from panel to panel - sheer action. It was fascinating to see where Jack Kirby came from in his early days, and Bill Everett's Submariner had such an elegant style to it. And being an aspiring comic book artist myself I remember looking at Carl Burgos' primitive efforts on The Human Torch and thinking, "I could do better than that!"
At around that time I got introduced to comics fandom, subscribing to "fanzines" with articles about the Golden Age of Comics written by readers who happened to be kids at the time. And even the self-published comics of the day had a "gutsy" quality to them, akin to the Golden Age. Anyone remember Biljo White's "The Eye"?
It was just a few years later when DC experimented with a 48-page format filling the extra pages with more Golden Age material, and then their 100 page spectaculars. These efforts were quite exciting to behold, but the Comics Code Authority at the time wouldn't allow the more gruesome and off-the-wall type of comics popular in those early days.
Not so in "Supermen!" This is a fine sampling of the early medium, touching on the evolution from newspaper comics to the comic book format.Read more ›
Sadowski starts with a 1936 strip by Superman creators Siegel and Shuster featuring a character in a precussor to Superman's costume.
He continues with over 20 Golden Age stories including space heroes, masked crime-fighters, and the surreal works of Fletcher Hanks. Commentary by Sadowski puts each story in context and explains the significance.
Speaking of Superman, his creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, kick off this collection with a story about their mysterious "occult detective" Dr. Mystic. The rest of the stories run the gamut from fun to frivolous and include some of the biggest luminaries comics has to offer: Will Eisner, Gardner Fox, Jack Kirby, Jack Cole, Basil Wolverton, and a host of others, some of whom never attained the recognition they deserved. The styles incorporate the building blocks of comic art today, and the stories represent the superheroes, aliens and monsters, and mystic forces that drove the marketplace.
Bestselling author Jonathan Lethem provides a foreword to the book, properly cataloguing the scope and impact these stories had. Putting the works into context is helpful, but it's the Notes section at the end, written by editor Greg Sadowski, that is truly fantastic. He documents each story included in this collection and provides the history, background, and explanations needed to understand the stories in the proper context. His studious efforts are worth the price of the book alone.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I don't collect comic books any longer at my age, but they were important when I was young. I either wanted to be a superhero for good reasons, or I wanted saviors for the evil in... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Mr. Linguist
An outstanding sampler of Golden Age super-hero comic books. Just a few years ago, such a collection was beyond most people's pocket books. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Uncle Mickey
I'm sure that there were a lot more examples of super-hero characters than are covered in this book. Nevertheless, I
found it to be of great interest. Read more
This book reprints early comic book stories that have most definitely have not seen the light of day since their original publication. Some really great stuff! Read morePublished on September 27, 2010 by Richie Jingles
There's alot of great stuff here and it's all in color. The main thing that I can't handle about alot of non marvel and d.c. reprints is that they won't reprint them in color. Read morePublished on February 27, 2010 by Michael Dobey
this is a really amazing book, so if you like old comics this would be a great one.Published on November 28, 2009 by Ezra J. Miller
This book reprints rare comic book stories from 1936 to 1941. The stories feature heroes, but they are not all superheroes; there are also detectives, space heroes and jungle... Read morePublished on August 19, 2009 by Johnny Heering