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Flyboy Action Figure Comes with Gas Mask

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  398 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
Ryan is a shy university student who can turn into a fly.

Cassandra is a waitress at a greasy spoon who can make things disappear.

In a world of political revolutionaries, indie rockers, zinesters, hardcore feminists, rave kids and slackwater poets, they are the Superheroes for Social Justice battling cigarette barrons, redneck tabloids, the patriarcky, and other forces of e
Paperback, 260 pages
Published November 9th 1999 by PerfectBound
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 623)
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I knew I had a problem when I was delving into my novel/short story idea last night at 4am and thought "what a great name Cassandra would be for my main character!" Then I remembered, whoops, I'm totally glorifying Cassandra from Munroe's book.

I think this one should really be 3.5 stars. I had a hard time getting into it and put it down for several months. Once things got deeper into Ryan and Cassandra's relationship, I was hooked. I realized this wasn't going to be one of those "boy sees girl -
Jul 08, 2014 Maggie rated it really liked it
There were so many parts of this book that rocked – the characters, the off-beat humor, the sheer scope of the fantasy. All of it made for a really exciting sci-fi feminist adventure that has held up pretty well for having been published in the late 90s! It’s also interesting that a straight while male is casting himself as the sidekick crusader for social justice alongside the real superhero (his bisexual girlfriend). Intriguing, alternative, and attention-getting.

As a narrator, you also want t
May 11, 2010 Kate rated it liked it
Aspirations of superpowers in small children are nothing new. One little boy thinks he cam fly. Another little girl thinks she can fight evil. A little boy thinks he can turn into a fly. A little girl... Wait. A fly?

Jim Munroe's Flyboy Action Figure Comes with Gasmask begins an average story about an average guy named Ryan who lives with his average roommates and is an average student and does a below-average job of picking up women. One day while at his regular haunt - the coffee house - Ryan
Do you get annoyed by reviews that say something like a mix or Nicholas Hornby male confession with Christopher moore's humor and Harukai Murakami's quirkiness. So do I. It doesn't really tell you anything. Except in this case it would apply. Especially the Nick hornby and Christopher moore mixed together part. The humor is fun but not outrageous. the character interactions are fun and fit the college setting they are placed in. Reminds me of my younger days. Friends joking with each other, some ...more
May 30, 2009 Megan rated it liked it
Flyboy Action Figure Comes with Gasmask is a slice of the lives of Flyboy, a shy college student, and his partner and romantic interest, Ms. Place, the waitress at the local diner. They bond over having bizarre superpowers and decide to use them to create a better world not by fighting crime, but by taking ethical stands on the issues they care about and creating publicity campaign to draw attention to that. I loved the idea of real life superheroes doing something that's not unrealistic and vio ...more
Feb 06, 2012 Joseph rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wendell Mckay
Sep 13, 2008 Wendell Mckay rated it really liked it
I must have read FLYBOY a couple of years after it came out, happening on it by chance in the Akron Public Library. At the time, I'd pretty much given up on modern fiction, and as a result found it deeply disturbing how much I related to the characters in FLYBOY--Jim, Cassandra, the whole lot. The dialogue also felt real--in both subject and pacing--in a way that much "literary" dialogue (then and since) doesn't. Jim and his friends may be self-absorbed Toronto hipsters, but I can easily picture ...more
Jul 30, 2014 Lindsey rated it liked it
I had just read a bunch of serious books, and it was looking for some light fiction. I found it. This was an off-beat story of two super heroes; one who can turn into a fly, and one who can make things disappear. They try to fight the forces of cigarette companies, anti-feminists, and pornographers while struggling to figure out their own personal issues at the same time. I enjoyed the Sailor Moon references.
May 13, 2009 J. rated it it was amazing
I thought I just liked the book, but then I read the last third--its fantastic. The ending is a little weak, but I get it...the novel stops but the story goes on. I think the "fly on the wall" metaphor for the narrator both as superpower and as narrative device is beyond brilliant. I like that the male character is the sidekick, too. What I really enjoyed was that, unlike many other novelizations of superhero fiction, there is a world, here. I like that the heroes here didn't try to tackle super ...more
Roland Mann
Jun 07, 2011 Roland Mann rated it it was ok
Shelves: superpowers
With such an excellent title, I expected much more out of Flyboy Action Figure Comes with Gasmask. There are plenty of other places to get story synopsis here, so I won't go into that. I thought the characters were interesting and there were a lot of interesting "things" going on in the background, however, the book lacked a real cohesive plot. I found myself way too many times while reading asking myself "what the heck is the story here." If you'll notice in reading the other reviews on Go
Nathan Burgoine
Jan 10, 2014 Nathan Burgoine rated it it was amazing
This is another one of my favorites: Ryan, a shy guy in college studying insects, has the world's most useless power: he can turn into a fly.

He meets a lovely waitress who can make things vanish, and they begin a rather 20-something dynamic duet of righting of wrongs and fighting the big evils: like, say, patriarchy.

Flyboy and Miss Place, the hero and heroine's noms des plumes, set the tone to wit and sarcasm that I found really appealing, not to mention their "villains" (big banner ads, and/or
Apr 01, 2011 Daryl rated it it was ok
A novel about two young college students who discover they have super-powers -- well, he can turn into a fly, and she can make things disappear -- so they decide to adopt super-hero guises and fight crime. What's not to like? Unfortunately, a few things. The book has many fun moments, and the author turns a clever phrase now and then. Sadly, the crime fighting section of the book really disappointed me. Our heroes decide to take on the "evils" of modern society and fight against social injustice ...more
Aug 22, 2008 John rated it liked it
This tale is about a couple of Toronto hipsters who have superpowers. They form Superheroes for Social Justice, and fight against cigarette smoking, sexism, and draconian anti-drug laws. It's better than it sounds, but it's not great, unless, maybe, you live in Toronto and hang out with hipster types. I didn't hate it, but by the end I felt that the story violated an important rule of filmmaking: Show it, don't say it. The first person narrator spends too much time being introspective and tellin ...more
Mar 24, 2013 Soubhi rated it it was amazing
I really didn't expect to like this book as much as I did. I picked it up for practically free at a library fundraising sale, stuffed into my huge $5 bag sale bag.

Having had a slightly punk politically minded if not active stage in my late teens, I really related to and liked the characters. Their smart mouthed cynicism reflects people I know and love. And the scifi aspect is more fun than technical, never really explained because the characters themselves don't understand how they came to be th
James Lundy
Mar 28, 2008 James Lundy rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: those who think the title will make them seem cool to anyone who sees them reading it
I think I picked this book by its title, and I had read a few superhero genre books before ("The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" and "The Fortress of Solitude") so I was expecting much. I got less than much. Much less. So our superhero can turn into a fly and our superhero's friend can turn invisible and then our hero can turn into a bee instead of a fly and the book ends with a whimper instead of a bang. For a while there I would think, if I kill a fly I might be killing a person who c ...more
Apr 13, 2016 Geoff rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi, fantasy, read-2016
superheroes, culturejamming, bildungsroman, and a nice dose of 90s nostalgia.
Jan 16, 2012 Jessica rated it liked it
Recommends it for: College age
I picked this book up several years ago because the title grabbed me. I read the inside flap and thought to myself that it sounded like the worst piece of crap I had come across. I started reading it to see just how terrible it was...and I finished it late that night because, to my surprise, it was pretty decent. This is a love story about two college age kids outside of society who join forces to combat evil. It is quite entertaining, pretty well-written, and makes you think about the society o ...more
Aug 09, 2007 Wealhtheow rated it liked it
Two youngsters (Flyboy and Ms.Place) use their super powers to fight cigarette ads, unfair laws, and evil. The plot is sweet and simple; the characters are the main attraction of this book. Each character has their own interests and style of talking--even the protagonist's friend's rival gets character development. The dialog sounds like conversations I'd have myself, and the people talking sound like people I'd like to know. It's all in all a fabulous, energetic take on modern life.
Jan 16, 2014 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this years ago, but remember thinking much of the dialogue clever and snappy, with so much innuendo I was impressed. Deserves another look someday!
Nov 17, 2007 Tracey rated it liked it
Shelves: e-text
The main character, a Gen-X/slacker Canadian college student, can turn into a fly. He falls in love with a waitress who also has an interesting talent - and they decide to start using their powers for good. It's definitely got a late 90's, college vibe to it, but the characters were well drawn and it was an interesting read. I think I downloaded it from, and I definitely got my money's worth from it.
Dec 31, 2008 Amber rated it it was amazing
I read this book YEARS ago and LOVED it. I decided Mike needed to read it, but totally could NOT rememeber the name of the book. after about an hour scouring the internets, I found it, and I just ordered another copy of it so Mike can read it (And probably Hann too!).

FYI: For Jawbreaker fans (the band!), there's totally reference to them in this book! WOOT!
Dec 07, 2010 Nick rated it it was amazing
I stumbled on an advance copy of this book at Powells when I was in highschool and was absolutely blown away by the world that Munroe created in this book. I'm not sure if he was the first to discover nerd-punk fusion (a la Adbusters) but he'll always have a special place in my heart for introducing it to me with a heavy dash of comic book magical realism.
Feb 08, 2008 Shannon rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who like comic books
This is one of those books that everyone I know as borrowed at on point or another, and they all love it. It's the story of a young man with the uncanny power to turn himself into a fly who falls in love with waitress who can make herself invisible and has a half alien child. It's witty and touching but never heavy handed or sappy.
Sep 03, 2007 Cindywho rated it liked it
I loaded this one onto my Palm and was reading it here and there on public transit. Easier to pull out than a book and lighter too. When real e-books happen, I will be on that bandwagon... Anyway, Flyboy was light and entertaining, with endearing characters, goofy and sweet. It was bizarre enough to keep me happy. Cute! (August 10, 2004)
Adam Hodgins
Jun 15, 2007 Adam Hodgins rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
I liked it, but I kept thinking that the main Character is someone who I just wouldn't like in real life. He's the kind of guy you might know from around and maybe have friends in common with, you wouldn't really have strong feelings about him but you'd find him slightly boring or annoying. Not the kind of character I could connect with.
Sep 01, 2011 Qilo added it
here's a superhero book set in late 90's radical Toronto. it's satisfying to see my musings (what super power would you have?) play out in a world i love (direct actions, community spaces, punk rock, train hopping). what could we do if we had superhero help? thanks to the Berkeley public library staff picks shelf.
Jan 21, 2008 Carrie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people my age
Shelves: funny
Couldn't put it down. I think this book bridges the genre gap from mainstream fiction to fantasy pretty well. The main character is totally believable, but he turns into a fly. Reading this, I learned something about the lives of flies and also about the Vancouver scene :)
Aug 27, 2010 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
not normally my type of thing. but i really, really liked this. so maybe it's sorta my type of thing and i just didn't know it. actually maybe it's exactly my type of thing because it's got a great title and story to match and it's clever and witty and strange and fun.
Aug 04, 2011 David rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite works of fiction. Science Fiction, surralism and the culture of radical politics all wrapped up in one unassuming paperback book! I was deeply disappointed when Jim gave up on writing novels. I strongly recommend all of them.
Sep 25, 2008 Mathieu rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook
Nicely done, if a little elliptic in spots. Scratched head, bullied on and caught up with the author after a few paragraphs.

Enjoyed it, kept me good company on a pair of flights.
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Goodreads Librari...: Page Number for ISBN 0968636322 6 18 Sep 20, 2013 10:41AM  
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Anarchist (Though as far as I can tell the non-violent type), Vegan, Dad. Jim Munroe is also a talented young author particularly notable for his novel "Flyboy Action Figure comes with Gasmask" and his indie DIY-leanings. See his website for more information, especially regarding those 'indie DIY-leanings' which he is particularly passionate about.
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