The Law of Superheroes
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The Law of Superheroes

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  134 ratings  ·  49 reviews
An intriguing and entertaining look at how America’s legal system would work using the world of comic books.

The dynamic duo behind the popular website LawAndTheMultiverse.com breaks down even the most advanced legal concepts for every self-proclaimed nerd.

James Daily and Ryan Davidson—attorneys by day and comic enthusiasts all of the time—have clearly found their vocatio...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 11th 2012 by Gotham
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Jeanne Mixon
My husband and I have a mixed marriage -- I was raised on Marvel, he was raised on DC. The authors treat both religions equally and I was amazed at how much the book is about the law and not just about comics. I also learned about how much my husband and I have missed by dropping out of the comic world. A lot has happened in our absence. The book made me want to run to the Marvel site and get all the back issues.

I guess the law is solid. I don't know much law, although I know more than I did bef...more
Michael
I thoroughly enjoyed this take on "What if" and the law. Not only did it have a lot of entertaining scenarios, but it served as a good introduction to how American legal society actually works. My one complaint is that the authors did not spend enough time on A.I. and the law, but I definitely think they did a great job of showing how a legal world with superheroes and the immortal would actually function! Definitely worth the read!
melydia
The concept is clever: take superhero stories and apply real-world US law to them. Could someone testify in court while concealing their true identity? How does property law work for immortal beings? Does Superman have to file flight plans with the FAA? Not only is it a fun take on familiar comic book characters but it's also a very good introduction to law in general. Parts are a bit dry, when the ratio of law to comic book leans a bit too far to the legal side, but by and large it's very acces...more
Amanda [Novel Addiction]
This was pretty interesting.. at least, it was once I learned to skimmed the parts I didn't care about, and really just read the ones I did. I learned a lot about law, so if that is one of your interests, definitely pick this one up.
Tanner Sanderson
The Law of Superheroes takes the fantasic stories, worlds and characters of comic books and analyzes them through the lens of the law. The result is a compelling read, one that answered dozens of questions I've pondered about while reading comics over the years. The authors explain how heroes, villians, teams, secret organizations, etc. would function legally in the real world, primarily under the American legal system (although there is a section on international law). The authors discuss both...more
Kelly
Death & Taxes

(Full disclosure: I received a free advanced review copy of this book through Library Thing’s Early Reviewer program.)

Could Superman really run for president of the United States? Might the makers of the genetically modified spider that bit Peter Parker sue him for patent violations? Is the Superhuman Registration Act constitutional?

In The Law of Superheroes, lawyers, co-bloggers (www.lawandthemultiverse.com), and self-proclaimed comic book nerds James Daily and Ryan Davidson at...more
Rebecca
These are real attorneys citing real cases and talking about real law things. So even though we are talking about Spider-Man and Superman and a bunch of other imaginary people you learn a lot about the law. I’m not saying that you can pass the bar exam after reading this but you will definitely know stuff you didn’t know before you read it. (Unless you are an attorney yourself.) There are words like pursuant and other legal words but the book is not hard to understand. Many times the law will be...more
Jason
The neat thing about reading a book like this - basically a collection of legal thought experiments for comic book fans - is that you actually end up learning a lot about how the law actually works (and, hey, in a time when every armchair pundit with a Twitter account imagines himself an expert on Constitutional Law, this might not be a bad thing).

The issues involved get complicated early on. It makes a great deal of difference, for example, whether the superhero saving the day is a private indi...more
Rick
This is an interesting treatise on how superheroes would fit into/under the legal system that we have today. Not the legal system that might have developed had there been superheroes for a while, but what we have now. It is an interesting, and not always intuitive, look at the law and how it would interact with super powers. For instance, would super powers be covered under the Second Amendment? (For those of you who are not constitutional scholars, that involves the right to bear arms.) I'll le...more
Eric Farr
I really want to give this book five stars as a fan of the blog, but on its own merits, the book fails to reach peak form. It's a great introduction to so many things: comics, law, and the Law and the Multiverse blog (which of course incorporates the previous two concepts). It reads rather like a light-hearted primer, playing with quirky legal hypotheticals that have impacted or could affect superheroes. Characters considered range from Batman and Superman to She-Hulk and Daredevil. Areas of law...more
Andrew
We are all familiar with comic book superheroes to some degree, as many of the most popular of these characters have become pop culture icons. We enjoy the stories, but have we really thought about the legal implications of what these superheroes do or represent? I must admit that, for the most part, I hadn’t really given such issues much thought, except where they became part of the storyline (such as in the movie “Hancock”, where the superhero’s irresponsible behavior leads to a prison sentenc...more
Molly
I requested this via ARC due to an interest in both comic books and the law (my interest in comic books became an addiction that I forced myself to give up). I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the subject matter was all advanced in an approachable and amusing way. The book does not presuppose any knowledge of comic books, their characters, or the law on the part of the reader. The reader's view of the work would likely be substantially altered if they possess any prior knowledge, but it...more
Edwin
Pretty much right in my wheelhouse (even though I've never actually, you know, read or owned a comic book, oddly enough). I enjoy law, I've absorbed enough comic book sensibility from pop culture, and enjoy the tropes and ridiculousness. What makes it so funny is just how seriously the authors treat their subject--they never throw up their hands and say, "Well that's just ridiculous so why are we even talking about it?" but present everything so matter-of-factly and work through every possible l...more
Ke Huang
Synopsis for those in the legal field: This book is a kind of a law school exam answer which assumes that superhero stories are law school fact patterns.

Synopsis for civilians: A non-stressful way to learn about some basic (albeit shallow) legal concepts. Ideal for Marvel and DC fans.

Superpowers:
It touches on a lot of legal topics, the writing is clear, and the book's concept is original.

Kryptonites:
Not well-organized, I could see that some legal discussions were inaccurate, and badly citechecke...more
Mike Klein
Much like Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates used piracy as a method for an introduction to economics, this book uses comic book and movie superheroes as a vehicle for an introduction to US Law. Each chapter covers a different aspect of the law (constitutional, torts, etc.) and attempts to somehow tie it in with either some superhero in particular or some story of a superhero. (The authors have an encyclopedic knowledge of comic books and comic book movies.)

As an introduction to th...more
Margaret Sankey
Like the clever professor who used superheroes to teach physics, this is two lawyers using them to review the basics of the legal system through the questions that smartasses inevitably ask--is Batman acting as a State Agent? Is SHIELD? If the Hulk witnesses something, can Banner testify to it? Is evidence gained by X-Ray vision admissible? Is Superman a natural-born US citizen under the Foundling statute? Are sidekicks employees or co-conspirators? If you get mutant powers due to a workplace ac...more
Aaron Dietz
Really fascinating book to some extent, and it did seem very well researched, from both the legal and superhero end. Highly entertaining! But possibly could be more entertaining and that kind of hurts. I wanted more scenarios and less legal jargon (or at least more interpretation of the legal jargon--I'm stupid!). And then the book takes another hit by the fact that people are doing this superhero thing in real life, so what's more, most of the time, I'm thinking, "But talk about what Phoenix Jo...more
Patrick Lum
A concise, though not extremely detailed (fair enough, given the general paucity of the source 'cases') exploration of the legal world as it applies to comics. Focuses primarily on US law, which I am unfamiliar with, but which is far more relevant to most prolific superheroes, it's basically a standard primer that uses superheroics (and supervillainy) as case studies - which is great by me.
Josh Dubs
As a lawyer I thought I would get an interesting book which would fascinate my intellect. And to a certain extent I got that. However the book is written more towards a non-legal audience which, while good for most readers, failed to deliver what I was looking for. In addition, the beginning is very entertaining, going over broad, well known legal themes from a comic book standpoint. But as the book went on, the topics got a little more trying. The final chapter, for example, ends very abruptly,...more
nicebutnubbly
I am enjoying this, particularly after reading the Nine and getting a constitutional-law-for-laypersons refresher, but I can't totally recommend it. For one thing, I'm listening to the audiobook and they are reading all of the parenthetical citations, which really ruins the flow and lowers my interest level.

For another, it's organized legally rather than superheroically. I'd rather have them take us through all the legal challenges a given set of superheroes encounter (suggest Batman, Superman,...more
Josh Kaplowitz
Fun to read about how different scenarios translate to real life, but a slog at times. Worth the read, but it's heavy with info for the layman.
Kris
I am not a lawyer, but after reading this book... I'm still not a lawyer. But that's okay, I really didn't want to be one anyway. However, what I do like is that I came out of this book with a better understanding of the law, which surprised and delighted me, honestly. They even say that they wanted to make the law a bit more interesting, and they succeeded. I've read their blog before, but maybe because of the way it's presented here I found this book a lot easier to read (it also helps to have...more
Adam Graham
This is a fun book that teaches legal principles through the stories and situations of comic book universes and answers such vital questions as the legality of testifying in masks and the propriety of psychic mind scans. Too many, the most interesting chapters were those on civil laws.

As someone who writes superpowered hero fiction, the book was a helpful resource. Of course, not all stories may line up with legal realism, but it's good to know whether your bending a rule or just being total ab...more
Wes
It's rare for a non-fiction book to earn "can't put down status," but I essentially read this in one sitting. Now mind you, it isn't earth-shatteringly good, but I found myself wanting to see where the authors were going to take the topic next.

The writing is conversational, and the legal side of the equation is very friendly to the layperson. The comic-book stuff is *not.* If you don't have a good feel for comic book history, tropes, and (too an extent) current events ... this book is not target...more
Danie
This was interesting (and an ARC that I won via LT Early Reviewers). It was nerdy for sure, but it wasn't so nerdy that I got put to sleep.

But, also something to note is the fact that if someone doesn't at least know the majority of characters (the big ones) in both the Marvel and DC Universes then some of the examples may work better than others.

Plus, there was no Vandal Savage in the Immortals chapter. I was bummed about that.
Leah
What a fun book! The authors explore common legal topics (evidence, immigration, income tax, business organizations, etc.), using comic book superheroes and supervillians. I wish my law school textbooks had been so entertaining! A fun read for the comic book geek who's interested in law, or the lawyer who likes superheroes. If you're a geek with a J.D., then this is pretty much the perfect book for you!
Maxine
Jun 06, 2013 Maxine rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Law students, superhero buffs
Four and three-quarters stars; the only thing preventing an unqualified five is my personal lack of interest in some aspects of, say, estate law. The book addresses almost every conceivable legal scenario--with superheroes!--while keeping the lay reader in the loop with easily grasped explanations of tricky points. Frankly, it's hilarious, and worth tolerating weird looks from my family to read.
Lee Lamarche
I'm no law-talkin-guy, but I do enjoy comic books. But this book somehow manages to squish the two together for a very interesting (and sometimes over my head) experience. The concept is interesting all by itself: How would the laws of the real world hold up in the realm of Batman, the Avengers, etc.? A very footnoted book that I highly recommend.
Will
Is Batman a state actor? Is Superman subject to the Federal Aviation Act? Can legal study be fun?

This book is an outgrowth of the "Law and the Multiverse" blog, which covers a broader range of "sources", and where we can continue discussing these and many other questions. (Is Angel liable from crimes committed by Angelus?)

Ray
A very nice, lighthearted and fannish discussion of superheroes and the laws that bug and constrain them. I learned a good bit - both about the law, and about some story lines that I will probably want to track down and read sometime in the near future.

If you are not a fan of the superhero genre, this is not for you.
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