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Superfolks

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3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  313 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Before there wasWATCHMEN,there wasSUPERFOLKS....David Brinkley used to be a hero, the greatest the world had ever seen--until he retired, got married, moved to the suburbs, and packed on a few extra pounds. Now all the heroes are dead or missing, and his beloved New York is on the edge of chaos. It's up to Brinkley to come to the rescue, but he's in the midst of a serious ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 9th 2005 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1977)
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Watchmen by Alan MooreSoon I Will Be Invincible by Austin GrossmanThe Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael ChabonAmerican Gods by Neil GaimanHero by Perry Moore
Superhero Fiction
49th out of 429 books — 747 voters
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Heroes & Adventures
45th out of 405 books — 183 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 676)
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John Kirk
This novel was out of print for quite a long time, and it almost reached legendary status amongst comics readers: several respected writers named it as a major influence on their work, e.g. Kurt Busiek and Grant Morrison. I'm willing to take their word for it, i.e. I believe them when they say that it was groundbreaking at the time it was first published, and it may well have inspired several people to reinvent the genre. However, looking at it now it's a bit embarrassing, so if you just read th ...more
Alex Sarll
So, obviously I'd heard mutterings of this before, but it was when it became the latest front in the Grant Morrison/Alan Moore DUEL OF WIZARDS that I got motivated to pop it on the old wishlist. Morrison's contention, as I recall, being that Moore had not sufficiently acknowledged his borrowings from Mayer in his major early works. Well...no. The Moore works of which I was reminded here were not Watchmen and Miracleman, they were the charming minor pieces 'Pictopia' and 'Whatever Happened to the ...more
Jack Haringa
This novel is touted as being the precursor to the more realistic (or at least grittier) and less purely heroic portrayal of superheroes that swept through comics in the early- to mid-1980s. Out of print for over two decades, Mayer's book was reprinted in 2005 with a (slightly inaccurate) foreword by Grant Morrison and blurb from Stan Lee, Paul Dini, and Kurt Busiek to help draw in current comics readers. Clearly, all of this worked on me.

Superfolks is self-consciously gonzo and wacky in a very
...more
Trin
Considered to be the original “retired superhero” tale, the inspiration for more well-known works like Watchmen and The Incredibles. Too bad it sucks. Mayer’s sense of humor seems to be based almost entirely around bad puns, and on naming his main characters after famous people. (Our protagonist: David Brinkley.) Not only is this not funny, it’s confusing: when someone like Richard Nixon is mentioned, who are we then supposed to assume he means?

There’s also just something…unpleasant about this b
...more
Daniel Brandon
I had been looking for this book on and off for quite a long time, now. You see, once upon a time, when I was but a young lad of 13 or 14, I stumbled across a copy of it in my local library. It made quite an impression. Unfortunately, that particular edition of the text had been released under the title "Everyman," which meant that my subsequent efforts to find it were doomed to be fruitless, until I finally managed to Google the right combination of the few bits that I actually remembered corre ...more
Barry Wynn
This book forever twisted my brain for fiction. Probably set me up for HST, Alan Moore, and Warren Ellis to come later.
Doug
I saw this in a store once upon a time, flipped through it, thought it was good and I'd buy it when I had money, and then it was gone. But due to the Magic of the Internet, I eventually found it again and read it.

It hasn't aged well. Funny-name jokes rarely work on me. So calling "Kryptonite" "Cronkite" isn't that funny to me, even thought I know who Cronkite was.

But it had some really good moments, particularly when it wasn't trying to be funny. And the ending actually was moving.
Chris
A satirical look at the life of a retired superhero. The book was written in 1977, so some of the humor is dated, but i got a chuckle out of much of it, especially him running into flying doghouses with a french-speaking dog.
I think if you go into it looking more for the humor in it than the overall plot, you might have a better time. Things seems to just sort of wrap up quicker than i expected.
B
Sep 16, 2014 B rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
This is reminiscent of the Roger Rabbit novel. The author has found this then-untapped, rich field for parody. He then sets out to develop the friction between the real world and the subject. But something about it feels unprofessional. I can't tell you what, but it does.

I think part of it might be the author's decision to place the characters in the world of DC Comics without authorization which lends itself to a weird feeling that the important name-brand heroes are too important to show up.
...more
Braden A.
Oct 08, 2007 Braden A. rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Superhero enthusiasts
A funny little spoof of the superhero world which occasionally abandons its humor for more serious matter, and that's when it falls apart.

The ending is totally convoluted and incomprehensible.

Still, the good stuff is really good.
Chris Gwinn
Jan 14, 2013 Chris Gwinn added it
Shelves: gave-up-on
Sometimes there are books that shift entire genres enough that they feel strip mined when you read them late. Superfolks was like that for me - all that was left was the strange use of celebrity names.
David
It was okay. Probably better in the 70s when all the references were current. Now it reads as a very dated novel. Liked the basic concept though.
Toki
I was hoping for something along the lines of The Incredibles but this was just Boring with a capital B. Boring, and a touch racist. A black character went to jail for repeatedly stealing fried chicken and watermelon. Really?! o_O I found myself skimming chapters, thinking maybe it would get better. It didn't.

This book was written in 1977 but out of print until 2005. It should have stayed that way. It was really bad.


I need to stop reading books recommended by Book Riot, something I should have
...more
Christine
May 05, 2009 Christine rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Superman, The Incredibles, The Watchmen, Astro City, and the superhero genre in general
Recommended to Christine by: Kurt Busiek's introduction to Astro City
Shelves: superheroes, fiction
I picked up "Superfolks" after I'd heard it touted as the first book to deconstruct the superhero mythos, and I was not disappointed! I don't know whether Alan Moore or the writers of "The Incredibles" consciously drew on this book for inspiration, but it's a lot of fun to see how many elements from "The Incredibles," "The Watchmen," and even stories like "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" actually showed up in "Superfolks" first.

Originally published in 1977, the story follows David Bri
...more
Lauren
Published in 1977, this is the story of a former superhero who now whiles away his days at a middling 9-to-5 job and lives in the suburbs with his family until disaster strikes. And that's where the similarities to The Incredibles end. Compared to other superhero novels meant for adults, this one is decent as far as the main plot. When the book gets to the heart of its story and dispenses with the frills, its positively brilliant in capturing how we all simultaneously grow old and make peace wit ...more
Versel Rush
Read a long time ago (like 1980/1981?). Loaned it to a friend whose dog ate the book (yep, no kidding). Then it went out of print. Finally came back, bought it, read it again, and still love it.

Wonderful satire of superheros and the comics I grew up loving. Will read it again, I'm sure.
Daniel
Superfolks works as something of a constant pull between nostalgia and modernity, where the sweet smell of Golden Age Superheroes is slowly replaced by the dirty alleys of the all-to-flawed heroes of the 21st century. Even with the dated humor, it fits right in with the Supermen of today.
HeavyReader
I would give this book two and a half stars if I could, the extra half for all the hilarious pop culture references sprinkled throughout.

There were some exciting bits in this book and some funny bits as well, but I never felt really thrilled about it. It was one of those books that by the time I realized it wasn't going to be great, I had already read so much that it only made sense to me to read the rest. It would make a really great comic book, I think, but was just sort of long and heavy and
...more
Seth
Besides being the 1970s literary roots for much of what Alan Moore and others did in superhero comics of the 1980s and 1990s, this book also taught me what an Etaoin Shrdlu is. And yes, those are real words.

I might add more later, but this is a seminal book for anybody who is interested in the aforementioned periods of superhero stories. Grant Morrison's intro is a proper intro, too, and doesn't ruin the tale.
Malcolm
For those of us who grew up with superhero comics – here’s what happens to them when they get old. Funny, satirical, and extremely amusing. The Lone Ranger has been killed by Tonto after coming back from a Red Power conference, of the Marvels (Capt & Mary) - one is dead and the other in psychiatric hospital as a consequence, while our hero has retired to suburbia, lawn mowing and now owning a super-suit that is several sizes too small in the wake of middle aged spread. Simply absurd with one ...more
Ash
This book was interesting; I want to give the first half of it 4 stars and the last half 3 stars, though. I'm still trying to figure out how this book of all things was what ushered in the NEW AGE OF GRIMDARK COMICS DELVING DEEP INTO THE SUPER PSYCHE etc. It was a pretty hilarious ride; the ending was kind of nuts, but in a very comic book ending way, so it was suitable. (I can understand if non-comic readers don't appreciate the ending though.)

The book's '70s was showing though; especially near
...more
Jesse Toldness
This is a strange book to read. In some ways, it is a creature of its time, weighed down with strange dated references to the pop culture of the year of my birth. In others, it is ahead of its time, it was having a serious conversation about superheroes as people, people who deal with violence, failure, sexuality and more, nearly ten years before comics picked up the thread. Both strange and off-putting and brilliant and insightful, it is a paradox in the raw, as all the best conversations are.. ...more
Osvaldo
Dec 05, 2013 Osvaldo rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who insist on reading everything superhero related and/or obsessed with the 70s,
Shelves: comics-related
I'll be writing a review in the form of a short blog post over on The Middle Spaces on Tuesday or Wednesday. When I do I'll edit this to have a direct link, but in brief, "Embarrassingly bad."

Ok, here is the full review: Robert Mayer’s Superfolks: Grist For The Mill.
Christina
Hilarious novel, probably requires some 1970s US pop culture literacy to reach 100% hilarity quotient. A superhero comes out of retirement, prompted by some billionaire's machinations for total global domination. Not so much "BIFF!" "ZOK!" "ZOWIE!" as introspection and actual mental prowess accompanying otherworldly powers dominate the story. Don't mistake this novel for a preteen-appropriate yarn, though.
John Moyemont
Super folks is a tremendous book tht doesn't just deconstruct the super hero mythos, it openly makes it and makes you laugh with just about every turn of the page. This book is one of the first things tat humanized heroes for me, but more importantly, showed me how terrifying a villain should be. It reminds me of what I would expect the supers section of roger rabbits toon town would look like
Andrew Perron
This is a really frikkin' weird story. In some ways, it's a forerunner of everything that's been happening in the superhero genre for the last thirty years; in others, it's deeply stuck in its own time, including an extended sequence that mostly exists for an All In The Family reference. It's all over the place, but still worth a read if you can get over the dated and awkward parts.
Julian Darius
If you've never read a good super-hero novel, start here. This is the classic that prefigured revisionism (e.g. WATCHMEN and DARK KNIGHT RETURNS). It's more tongue-in-cheek than those works, but it's no less clever or even, yes, touching. A mandatory read for anyone with interest in the genre, and a stunning example of how the novel form has failed that genre since.
Dan
I really enjoyed this book. Well written and funny. I would give it 4 or 5 if it wasn't so graphic with some of the sexual themes. They didn't feel forced and were part of the character development but it went really far.
Allen
Is this book dated? Sure. So, the jokes are a little stale and some of what was clever 30 years ago comes across as retread now. But that's because it was first and everyone else copied it.
Not as dark as those who came later (The Watchmen) but not as frothy and cheeky, either (The Incredibles). It's a terrific book that I can't wait to reread.
Matthew
This book is considered by many to be the original "superhero deconstruction." Don't expect grim and gritty realism though. Cynical as it is, this book is also very silly, and takes place in a barely recognizable cartoon version of the seventies. If Watchmen were one of those nonsensical Adult Swim shows, it would be Superfolks.
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