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The Law of Superheroes
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The Law of Superheroes

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  263 Ratings  ·  67 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 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 vocation,
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 11th 2012 by Gotham
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(showing 1-30)
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Sean Gibson
Aug 10, 2015 Sean Gibson rated it liked it
Mary Catelli
May 20, 2015 Mary Catelli rated it really liked it
Two lawyers looking at the comic book world and the law.

Obviously mostly based on our universe's laws, sometimes speculating on changes that superheroes would make. (Sometimes not. It observes that the FAA governs those who fly by means of contrivances, not those with innate flight powers, without noticing that rule would change, like, fifteen seconds after we had our first innately powered flight.)

Covers everything from constitutional rights, to intellectual property and whether you can sue for
Jan 25, 2015 Tiamatty rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
This was definitely an interesting read. It's an introduction to the law, using superheroes of examples to make it more fun, and as a result, easier to understand. I'm an idiot, so I still didn't understand everything, and retained very little, but that's just me. People who aren't as stupid as I am should be fine. There is some humour in the book, though I would've liked a few more jokes here and there. Still, it was an entertaining and interesting read.
Oct 26, 2015 Mouse rated it really liked it
I spent weeks sewing a costume and got it all ready along with my underwear on the outside. I got me a cool mask in the discount bin at the Lotions and Lace store nearby. I found an old bath towel in a park near a deceased homeless person that I glued a big "S" onto to use as a cape. I was all ready to start my new life as a superhero and I came across this book at my local library and decided to give it a read.

Big mistake! Biiiiig mistake! Turns out if I did any of the things that I'd been fan
Dec 20, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
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!
Amanda [Novel Addiction]
Jan 03, 2013 Amanda [Novel Addiction] rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 14, 2013 Kelly rated it really liked it
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 (, and self-proclaimed comic book nerds James Daily and Ryan Davidson at
Sarah Brubaker
Nov 10, 2016 Sarah Brubaker rated it really liked it
This is a fantastic resource for me while I'm working on a novel in which I'm trying to get a realistic view of how the world would adapt to the existence of superhumans. It's easy to read, intriguing--even entertaining. The authors clearly know what they're talking about, but they don't over-use jargon that inhibits understanding.
Feb 26, 2013 Jason rated it liked it
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
Tanner Sanderson
Jul 06, 2014 Tanner Sanderson rated it it was amazing
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
Jeanne Mixon
Mar 02, 2014 Jeanne Mixon rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 11, 2012 Molly rated it really liked it
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
Jan 30, 2013 Andrew rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Eric Farr
May 10, 2013 Eric Farr rated it really liked it
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
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
Nov 22, 2012 Rick rated it liked it
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 ...more
Jul 22, 2015 Cris rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book much more than I expected. I anticipated something rather silly, but instead I got a surprisingly good introduction to various elements of federal law using characters I already know rather than people I've never heard of.

Questions about the Second Amendment and whether they apply to Wolverine's claws might be expected, but I was surprised by the discussion of business law as it applies to superheroes. (Just how liable is Wayne Enterprises for actions taken by Batman?) And I
Mike Klein
Aug 10, 2013 Mike Klein rated it liked it
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
Feb 23, 2014 melydia rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Fraser Sherman
Jan 24, 2015 Fraser Sherman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This book serves a double purpose: using legal issues in comics to explain real-world law (can J. Jonah Jameson be sued for libel? Does patent law protect Tony Stark's Iron Man technology?) and to look at legal issues created by comics stories: is the Joker sane enough to stand trial (probably)? Do mutants have legal rights against discrimination (probably)? Could the MU US government really draft super-heroes (very likely)? How would the courts treat a super-hero who came back from the dead ...more
Jan 10, 2014 Edwin rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Margaret Sankey
Jan 11, 2013 Margaret Sankey rated it liked it
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 ...more
Aaron Dietz
Oct 05, 2013 Aaron Dietz rated it liked it
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 ...more
Josh Dubs
Feb 27, 2013 Josh Dubs rated it liked it
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
Suzanne Moses
Aug 21, 2015 Suzanne Moses rated it liked it
In general, I found this to be a good study of the possible implications the law might have for superheroes. The law language may be a little dense for people who haven't had practice reading it before. There are some topics that are examined in good detail and I really enjoyed the humor and insight the authors brought to the work. However, there are some articles or chapters later in the book that seem to be a little rushed and short. Specifically the chapter about nonhuman intelligences -- I ...more
Aug 27, 2013 nicebutnubbly rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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,
Usr Tau
Aug 13, 2016 Usr Tau rated it it was amazing
Exactly what I expected from this kind of a nonfiction book. Though focus is mainly on the DC characters, much of it can be applied to other sci-fi stories. Some notable topics include: analysis of some ridiculous statements made by the Joker. How a consciousness of an AI could be interpreted by current judicial system. Parallel worlds, and will another United States be a different country - or not. Resurrection of a dead person or immortality. All these on multiple planes: will resurrected ...more
Ross Lampert
Jul 29, 2016 Ross Lampert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun and informative at the same time. A clever angle for getting into what could be tremendously dry topics, and at the same time, a surprising look into how well comic book/graphic novel writers have done at recognizing the legal issues involved in superhero behavior, and how well--or not--they got those details right.

For any of us who write works that take place in something like the real world, this book serves as a good reminder that we can't--or shouldn't--just gloss over these legal consid
Adam Graham
Feb 17, 2013 Adam Graham rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 13, 2016 Ke rated it really liked it
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.

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

Not well-organized, I could see that some legal discussions were inaccurate, and badly citechecke
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