Download A Brief History of Superheroes by Brian J. Robb PDF

By Brian J. Robb

A desirable written exploration of the superhero phenomenon, from its beginnings within the depths of serious melancholy to the blockbuster videos of today.

For over ninety years, superheroes were interrogated, deconstructed, and reinvented. during this wide-ranging examine, Robb seems to be on the varied characters, their creators, and the ways that their creations were reinvented for successive generations. unavoidably, the focal point is at the usa, however the context is overseas, together with an exam of characters built in India and Japan in response to the conventional American hero.

Sections study: the beginning of the superhero, together with Superman, in 1938; the DC kin (Superman, Batman, ask yourself Woman and The Justice Society/League of America), from the Forties to the Nineteen Sixties; the superheroes enlistment within the conflict attempt within the Forties and 50s; their neutering through the Comics Code; the problem to DC from the wonder family members (The terrific 4, Spider-Man, and The X-Men), from the Nineteen Sixties to the Eighties; the superhero as advanced anti-hero; superheroes deconstructed within the Nineteen Eighties (The Watchmen and Frank Miller's Batman), and their politicization; self sustaining comedian e-book creators and new publishers within the Nineteen Eighties and 90s; superheroes in retreat, and their rebirth on the video clips in blockbusters from Batman to Spider-Man and The Avengers.

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Additional resources for A Brief History of Superheroes

Sample text

This second incarnation of Superman was on the side of right, but he had no superpowers beyond superior strength. Nor did the character have a special outfit – there was no cape, simply a man in a T-shirt and trousers who physically set about evil-doers. It was, however, one more important step in the evolution of the classic Superman. Although they’d only been trying for a few months, the efforts of Siegel and Shuster to turn professional had gone nowhere and their high school graduation loomed.

He became involved with Donenfeld’s myriad companies following the Wall Street Crash of 1929, offering the maverick businessman a steady hand at the financial tiller. Despite their chalk and cheese personalities, Donenfeld, the would-be gangster and playboy, and Liebowitz, the dull accountant, were complementary in business. 61 In launching Detective Comics during 1937, Wheeler-Nicholson had been forced to take Donenfeld and Liebowitz on as partners in lieu of settling his debts. By 1938 the pair had pushed Wheeler-Nicholson out and taken over the company’s assets, including National (although the company did not officially become DC Comics until 1977, it will hereafter be referred to as DC, taking its name from the initials of Detective Comics and featuring the distinctive DC logo from the Forties).

Beyond the pulps and radio serials, proto-superheroes appeared in newspaper comic strips. The super-strength of Popeye came from magical spinach (Popeye himself was a riff on the much earlier strongman Hugo Hercules strip featured in the Chicago Tribune in 1902–3). The Phantom (1936), created by Lee Falk, featured in a daily syndicated newspaper strip and wore a skin-tight purple bodysuit and ‘domino’ eye mask (standard for many superheroes). The look came from Robin Hood (often depicted in tights), while the mask without pupils came from Greek busts.

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