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League of Somebodies Paperback – April 9, 2013

3.9 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Sattin's debut novel is a hilarious satire on manliness and superhero culture. Based on the teachings of the esoteric Manaton, a mysterious book that concerns all things manly—from shaving body hair to attract specific types of females, to domesticating wild rhinoceroses—Fearghas, a gruff and foul-mouthed Scottish-Jewish-Polish immigrant, raises his son Lenard to be the pinnacle of masculinity: a real-life superhero. To aid in Lenard's development, Fearghas has been secretly slipping low doses of plutonium in Lenard's food and subjecting him to numerous tests and initiations into manhood—all of which are laid out in the Manaton, including the final test of besting a group of lions to save a damsel in distress. Fearghas has done all this to his son because a malevolent and shadowy group is threatening their safety, a group known simply as T.H.E.Y. After his father's death and with a confrontation with T.H.E.Y looming, Lenard must train his own son in the ways of the Manaton, a task at which he is far less adept than his own father. Sattin is genuinely funny and writes exuberant, engaging prose; the addition of the cheeky and light-hearted send-up of masculinity and its ridiculous tendencies makes this novel insightfully inquisitive and a pleasure to read. (Apr.)

Review

Sattin is genuinely funny and writes exuberant, engaging prose; the addition of the cheeky and light-hearted send-up of masculinity and its ridiculous tendencies makes League of Somebodies insightfully inquisitive and a pleasure to read.

—Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review


League is a dazzling investigation into masculinity and hero-making. It’s also a rollicking good time, and his characters—crazy, troubled, hilarious, endearing—are unforgettable. Sattin magnificently tackles many big themes of our age: inheritance, the burdens of manhood, creating our own identities, and last but not least, love. In Sattin’s fiction, there is no such thing as a marginal character, no matter the world’s attempt at marginalization.

—Cristina Garcia, author of Dreaming in Cuban and The Lady Matador's Hotel


Trying to fit comic book storytelling into a traditional novel format can be quite challenging [. . . ] Sattin seems to have struck the right balance with his new novel, League of Somebodies which has been earning praise as a smart look at hero-making that’s part old-school epic, part coming-of-age tale, and part comedy.

—Tim Donnelly, New York Post


League represents an interesting turn away from other literary treatments of comic book themes in that it seems more inspired by the graphic medium's present than its past [. . .] Sattin appears to draw inspiration from more current postmodern superhero writers like Grant Morrison or Warren Ellis [. . .] League of Somebodies bears far more of a debt to Doom Patrol than to The Avengers.

—Aaron Fox-Lerner, Los Angeles Review of Books

This is a big-bodied, big-hearted novel—a novel about fathers and sons and superheroes and villains; about heredity and hope; about the secret, sometimes awful expectations we have for our offspring and what happens when they inevitably fail to meet them.

—Ellen Cushing, East Bay Express
 

How to explain this mystic monster League of Somebodies? Part old-school epic, part coming-of-age tale, and part comedy in the spirit of Mel Brooks's Young Frankenstein . . . Sattin is a mad scientist!

—Victor LaValle, author of Big Machine and The Devil in Silver


League is so rich with originality that it's actually radioactive. If you captured Owen Meany in a literary time machine and fed him a strict diet of comic books and plutonium, you would come up with a main character a hell of a lot more well-adjusted than Lenard Sikophsky. Read at your own risk and beware: laughter is the first sign of infection.

—Mat Johnson, author of Pym, Incognegro, and Dark Rain


Those of you who are considering poisoning, terrorizing, and forcing their boys to read maniacal misogynistic rantings may want to read League of Somebodies as a cautionary tale. The rest of you, though, will have fun with this satiric American saga of squalid super-heroics.

—Corwin Ericson, author of SWELL and Checked Out OK

If there was an alternate reality where comics god Jack Kirby taught a postgrad ""religion and superfamilies"" lecture, this would be Sam Sattin's final paper.

—Evan Narcisse, Kotaku


In our been-there-done-that world, Samuel Sattin has managed to create something new: a graphic novel without the graphics. A superhero story about twisted fathers and frightened sons, betrayals of the heart and home. This non-comic comic-book is a big-themed story-telling bonanza whose major elements are not only thematic, they're chemical. If you crave a wild and original read, you've come to the right place. 

—Amanda Stern, author of The Long Haul


Sattin's first novel is a whirling force that blends the family saga, superhero lore, and a coming of age story to a frothy cocktail. Imagine The Godfather remixed with Chabon's classic Kavalier and Clay.

—Joshua Mohr, author of Fight Song, Damascus, and Termite Parade


Tucked into these pages [is] a great little story about breaking from tradition and finally discovering the real joy of fatherhood.

—James Floyd Kelly, GeekDad

 

League is a powerful story that examines the age old tale of fathers trying to prepare their sons for the world, and sometimes irrevocably damaging them in the process . . . I would love to see a low budget film adaption by James Gunn, director of Super.

—Nick Sharps, SF Signal


It’s not often that I come across a book-length skewering of genre conventions that is also an extended homage to genre itself. [. . .] Bottom line, League of Somebodies is flat out hilarious.

—Fiction Writers Review


Imagine if Katherine Dunn had written The Fortress of Solitude while misreading Susan Faludi's Stiffed after a three-day laudanum binge. Fathers and sons, heroes and villains: they're pretty much the same thing in this darkly funny yet touching (and highly original) novel.

—Gerry Donaghy, Powell's Books

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Coast Press (April 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0985035501
  • ISBN-13: 978-0985035501
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,985,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Nickolas X. P. Sharps VINE VOICE on June 12, 2013
Format: Paperback
REVIEW SUMMARY: The most meaningful superhero origin story I've ever encountered.

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Raised on a steady diet of plutonium, Lenard Sikophsky grows up to become the world's first superhero. The key to Lenard's transformation? The Manaton, a sacred tome outlining the path to manhood. Now Lenard has a son of his own to teach, but an enemy exists that desperately wants to claim The Manaton as its own.

PROS: Mature, funny, and unexpectedly moving.

CONS: Don't buy this expecting an action packed, superhero thrill ride.

BOTTOM LINE: For those looking for a story with something to say, look no further.

Prior to reading Samuel Sattin's League of Somebodies I was stuck in a week long reading rut. I had picked up, started, and set back down six different books. There were no major problems with any of the books, I enjoyed each in varying degrees before giving them up, but each failed to hook me. Enter League of Somebodies, a coming-of-age story of dysfunctional families and uber-masculinity. I've read several superhero stories this year and strangely enough, my favorite is the least super of all. I've never been a fan of literature but League of Somebodies is interesting enough to carry mature themes without becoming too self absorbed to enjoy. It's the sort of book a bold English teacher might assign to students - likely offending some, confusing others, but managing to change the perspective of at least one student.

Putting a label on League of Somebodies is difficult and describing it is even harder. Imagine Kal-El crash landed on Earth, not to be discovered by the kindly Kent family, but instead their misogynistic Jewish Scot neighbor.
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Format: Paperback
I LOVE this book. It's rare you come across an analysis of genre convention and the archeology of deeper (super) dysfunction that manages to still be highly entertaining. Let alone raw and original. League of Somebodies is funny and inventive, but somehow still grounded in its language and execution. It's both a superhero novel and family saga, a dark and absurd tussle with manhood and masculinity that takes on larger issues of sexuality and personal growth. But all that sounds pretty pretentious, eh? Bottom line, it's flat out hilarious. I haven't read a book that's anything like this in a very long time. Jump on it before they're all sold out.
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Format: Kindle Edition
League of Som­bod­ies by Samuel Sat­tin is an irrev­er­ent novel which com­bines humor and fan­tasy to cre­ate a unique book. I h ave been read­ing a lot about the War on Men lately and this book just seemed to come in just in time for all the hoopla.

Fearghas Mur­doch Sikoph­sky wants to raise the world's first legit­i­mate super­hero - the can­di­date: his son Lenard. How­ever, before becom­ing a hero Lenard must pass sev­eral tests from an ancient book which teaches men how to be men. In the process Lenard falls in love with the men­tally unsta­ble Laura Moskowitz.

Twenty years later Lenard, who is no men­tal giant, has his own son, Nemo, who is being trained to be a super­hero like his father. But before Nemo can take the men­tal, the Sikoph­sky men have to be put to the ulti­mate test.

League of Som­bod­ies by Samuel Sat­tin is a book that needs close atten­tion and some back­ground in Jew­ish cul­ture to enjoy. I knew I would like the book the moment the author intro­duced Fearghas Mur­doch Sikoph­sky a Scottish/Jewish/Polish strong­man who feeds his child plu­to­nium hop­ing to turn him into a superhero.

This book is unique, inven­tive and orig­i­nal. The char­ac­ters are absolutely nuts, quirky but strangely com­pelling. The plot was strange, zany and funny com­pli­cated by love sto­ries and strange rel­a­tives which pop-up every now and then.

"Chris­tians had an entire uni­verse of the macabre to work with. Jews, they had mother-complexes. Hon­estly, Lenard found the for­mer more favor­able, even if for him, though his par­tic­u­lar com­plex involved a rav­ing, burly Scotsman."

This novel is very wordy, which makes it tough to read but I found it to be part of the humor, either on the dim wit­ted Lenard or the reader.
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Format: Paperback
While "League Of Somebodies" is rooted in a superhero genre - one which Samuel Sattin lovingly, if not a little gleefully, de-and-reconstructs - don't be fooled: This is NOT a book meant solely for comic book fans, and hipster nerds (although, they're gonna *love* it). Rather, Sattin's story is so much more: An examination of masculinity, gender identity, and family. It is also, and perhaps most importantly, an incredibly fun, exciting read. Seamlessly gliding between laugh-out-loud funny and profoundly touching, "League Of Somebodies" is a dazzling debut effort from a wonderful new literary enfant terrible.

I can't wait for more.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
...because he has such a way with words that he would do it much better justice than I can.

I was thoroughly entertained by this book from start to finish. The raw nature of Sattin's words made it feel more real, in a very fantasy world, than any other book I have read in the last 5 years.

Not for fans of easy to read books that don't leave a lasting impression. I re-read almost every paragraph in this book to completely understand all the subtle nuances of Sattin's words.

I had never heard about Sam Sattin prior to reading this novel, but a friend of mine pointed me in his direction saying he was an up and coming writer that I would appreciate and he was right!

THIS BOOK IS FOR THE TRUE READER THAT APPRECIATES THE POWER OF EVERY WORD ON THE PAGE.
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