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Super Soldiers: A Salute to the Comic Book Heroes and Villains Who Fought for Their Country Paperback – June 18, 2019
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“Jason Inman provides a manual which utilizes and analyzes subtext to offer psychological profiles of our favorite superheroes viewed in the context of their fictional experiences as warriors and veterans in the US Armed Forces. He demonstrates vividly and entertainingly how the superhero pantheon is firmly rooted in the disciplines, lore, and traditions of American combatants throughout history. The creators of all these characters took a good look at real-life military heroes for their inspirations and now Mr. Inman makes this link clear.”
―Dan Aykroyd, actor/writer of Ghostbusters and The Blues Brothers
“Finally, someone takes a deep dive into two of our best American institutions. From Captain America to the rest of this elite unit, get ready to salute.”
―Brad Meltzer, bestselling author of The First Conspiracy
“Super Soldiers is a hell of a fun book and with it Jason Inman has written a love story to soldiers, to comic book heroes, and to his country. Witty, fast-paced, and nerdy (I mean learned) on his subject, Inman is a perfect guide for a deep dive into the interwoven historiographies and mythologies of American warriors and pop culture. Every American must ask: will I wear tights today or will I wear digi camo? Inman lets us have it both ways.”
―Anthony Swofford, former US Marine and author of Jarhead
“Not all heroes wear capes...but some do. Jason Inman’s Super Soldiers is a brilliant examination of fictional service enlisted in very real wars. A topic near and dear to my heart and one chapter in you’ll realize that Inman’s words are ALL heart.”
―Mitch Gerads, Coauthor of Mister Miracle and The Sheriff of Babylon
“Jason Inman’s military experience and pure, unfiltered comics fandom gives the lucky readers of Super Soldiers a chance to view comics’ greatest veterans through a different lens. Comparing the actions of fictional heroes who serve like Steve Rogers to what real soldiers have to face provides us a new understanding of what it means to ‘serve with honor.’ And what a lineup we get―From the obvious ones, like Sgt. Rock, Nick Fury and Green Lantern (both Hal Jordan and John Stewart), to deep cuts like Flash Thompson, Isaiah Bradley, Batwoman, and even Beetle Bailey! Thank you for your service, and for this illuminating book.”
―Mike Avila, Host of SYFY WIRE’s Behind the Panel and author of The Art and Making of Aquaman
“Inman brings more insight to the superhero genre than any writer, fan, or critic ever before. A truly thoughtful look at the tradition of heroism in the face of war.”
―Joshua Hale Fialkov, writer of The Bunker, Tumor, I, Vampire, and The Ultimates
“Super Soldiers is a fascinating book written by a soldier (who happens to be a comic book expert) about soldiers (who happen to be comic book superheroes). Jason Inman delves deep into the lives and legends of these beloved military heroes, shining a light on how and why they became the superheroes they are.”
―Lisa Yee, author of DC Super Hero Girls novel series
“Having worked with military charities for a decade now, I know how real the connection is between costumed heroes and the everyday heroes of our country are. In this informative, and funny book, Jason Inman highlights that connection for people who may have never known of its existence. We have our vets to thank for the Marvel Universe (both Stan Lee and Jack Kirby served), and we have Jason to thank for this book that acts as a love letter to the patriot comic book characters of the past and present.”
―B.J. Mendelson, comic book writer and author of Social Media Is Bullshit
“A wide-ranging mix of comic book history and autobiography, Jason Inman's Super Soldiers intelligently examines the lives of superheroes through the lens of their own military service. Inman's personal experiences in the US Army lend a fresh and unique take on several major heroes, and his comic book commentaries are full of razor-sharp wit. Super Soldiers provides a wonderful overview of the uniformed men and women who have dedicated their lives in service to our country...even if only in the pages of a comic book!”
―Sterling Gates, screenwriter, producer, and comic book writer
“Jason's unique perspective helps us tell the difference between comic books and real life and where that line blurs―from a soldier's perspective. Great read!”
―Tom Merritt, author of Pilot X
“Jason’s experiences as both a dedicated soldier and serious comic book geek make this an unforgettable read. As informative as it is entertaining, Super Soldiers gave me a deeper appreciation for the heroes that I love and the values they inspire. It should be required reading for every comic fan.”
―Samm Levine, actor in Freaks and Geeks and professional nerd
“Jason Inman, I salute you. This is a heroic, inspiring, smartly researched, deeply personal and historically relevant book that manages to be as thrilling as it is thoughtful.”
―Benjamin Percy, writer of Wolverine, Green Arrow, Teen Titans, and Nightwing and author of The Dark Net
“The relationship between America’s super-heroes and service members has existed almost as long as the comics medium itself. The connective tissue between the two have changed and morphed over the years, as have our perceptions regarding America’s role in global conflicts. Jason Inman’s in-depth examination of this fascinating topic is a remarkable study of our country’s heroes, both real and imagined, and their compelling links through the ever-changing course of our nation’s military history.”
―Dan Jurgens, writer/artist of Superman and Captain America and creator of Booster Gold
“Drawing from his own military experience and his clear love of comic books, Jason Inman crafts a heartfelt and humorous (though no less gloriously nerdy) overview of superheroes who have served their country.”
―Joseph Mallozzi, writer/executive producer of Dark Matter, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, and Stargate Universe
"What I love most about Super Soldiers―and there's a lot to love―is Jason Inman’s thorough joy and passion. Both burst onto the page, making for one compelling, and important, read.”
―Michael Moreci writer of Wasted Space and Star Wars and author of Black Star Renegades
“Jason does what few can―he takes his own stories of service and weaves them into complex looks at the heroes we’ve all grown up reading and continue to enjoy to this day. Comparing his guard duty with Captain America’s? Explaining how the US Air Force values are intrinsic to Captain Marvel’s ethos? Demonstrating how John Stewart being a Marine makes him a better Green Lantern? These are enthralling character studies that no one else can pen, and it’s why I loved Super Soldiers.”
―Greg Miller, cofounder of KindaFunny.com
“During my childhood, my world revolved around superheroes. Countless hours were spent reading, watching and drawing any and everything related to the world of capes and tights. Of course it was easy to get lost in all of those various tales of cosmic rays, radioactive spiders and speeding faster than bullets, but I believe it was their common thread that resonated most deeply. All of those heroes used their extraordinary abilities to defend the defenseless against those who would do them harm. They put their lives on the line to oppose evil, not for thanks, but because it was the right thing to do.
“Growing up as the son of Master Sergeant John H. Sands, I learned early on that there was a commonality between those who wore costumes in comics and those men and women I saw everyday in uniform. I came to know that the same people that we passed in the commissary actually possessed a superpower: bravery. If called upon, they were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to uphold those self-evident truths that our country was founded upon.
“Super Soldiers shines a spotlight on several beloved comic book superheroes (and a few villains) who were once counted among the ranks of the U.S. Armed Forces. Jason’s prose informs who these characters are to a great degree and in many cases, why they’ve endured for decades.”
―Ryan Sands, artist/actor on Marvel’s Runaways
About the Author
- Publisher : Mango (June 18, 2019)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 220 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1633539946
- ISBN-13 : 978-1633539945
- Item Weight : 8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,180,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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We see the characters explained (for better and worse) through the perspective of someone who has served. It’s given plenty of food for thought, and my biggest complaint is that I think many of these characters could’ve weathered far more analysis — that’s not much of a complaint; you do want to leave your audience wanting more, and every chapter features a solid rundown and some intriguing takes. I’ll be waiting for the sequel.
The heroes and villains of DC and Marvel are broken down into 16 chapters where Jason goes through their military history and explores the many facets of military life. From being a "military brat" to an enlisted solider he tries to paint a mural (figuratively and actually in one chapter) of what the military experience was and is using iconic characters as stand ins for us civilians to understand.
Truly a great read, and a quick one, as Jason treats each chapter like a mini-Geek History Lesson episode (his podcast with his wife where they talk about the history of a comic character every week) infused with his charisma, whit, and personality. It doesn't matter whether you're a hard core geek or a total newbie, each chapter is written like a classic comic issue where you don't need to know anything to enjoy what you're getting.
Jason Inman did a fantastic job of connecting these larger than life characters to the real life traits and values of those who serve. Eric Summerer's narration brings it all home with energy and emotion aplenty.
I recommend this to comic fans, service members, super heroes, or any combination of the above.
Top reviews from other countries
I enjoyed this book. As a fan of superheroes but also as the daughter of a former Royal Engineer in the British Army.
[I would like to add a disclaimer here that (much to my father’s dismay, I’m sure) my grasp of military terminology, titles and labels is not a firm one. If I accidentally refer to someone’s position or role or group in the wrong way, I sincerely apologise for my ignorance, and no disrespect is intended, a lot of it just goes over my head and becomes synonymous.]
In the book Jason Inman explores and reflects on 16 iconic comic book characters that have served in the US military, each chapter is thoughtful and engaging and most importantly (for me, anyway) firmly grounded in the author’s lived experience as an enlisted soldier himself. I found these parts some of the most thought-provoking because I often find for civilians or those with little to no ties to the military world, it’s entirely impossible to understand a lot of … well, everything that goes on behind barracks and combat zones.
When you then apply that world to a concept so far-flung as superheroes with powers, worlds and backgrounds far removed from reality it’s easy to miss plot points or characteristics that are intrinsically tied to the military perspective, and the greater insight and layers their inclusion adds to a character or story. The experiences the author shares are not at all what you’d expect either, and I appreciated their uniqueness to his own experience.
On a personal note, this book, quite unexpectedly, made me think about my father in an entirely new way.
While the focus of this book is geared toward superheroes that served in the US military and I, of course, know it’s a different experience it opened up a whole new perspective on the military and what it means to serve, for me individually. My dad enlisted at 16, a decision no doubt influenced by my late police officer grandfather who believed national service in peacetime was exactly what the youth of the time needed. He served 5 years in the Corps of Royal Engineers, and it’s not something we ever really talk about it but upon reading this book (and attending recent keynote speech given by a Royal Marine veteran) I had no idea how much of my dad’s character was informed by this time in his life. I kind of ‘got him’ a bit more, and I can’t explain what that means but I feel it.
I read this in paperback and via audible. I loved the illustrations on each chapter and the cover, though I would be lying if my inner OCD didn’t wish the text was ‘Justify’ formatted (personal preference!) although, ‘align left’ does add a ‘train of thought’ / conversational tone which I thought was well-suited too. The audible book was really well-narrated by Eric Michael Summerer, which is high praise because generally speaking, I prefer my non-fiction narrated by the author. As a regular listener of Geek History Lesson, a podcast Jason co-hosts, I did sometimes find myself picking up on where emphasis/intonation who have been different had he been narrating but I don’t think this adds or detracts from the audiobook itself.
Overall, I would highly recommend this to anyone with even a remote interest in comic books or the US military experience, or both because the intersection of the two is far richer than you might expect.
To read more of my reviews, visit my blog, Bloodthirsty Little Beasts.