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 whe...moreI 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 Brinkley, a Clark Kent/Superman analogue who was the world's greatest superhero before his powers began to mysteriously wane. For the last several years, he's resigned himself to the life of an average middle aged man, but now a crisis is calling him back into action. The beginning is paced rather slowly, but by the middle of the book I was engrossed, and the ending has two powerful revelations (one about what's causing Brinkley's failing powers and its consequences, the other about what lies beyond the edge of the universe) that left me gaping in awe.
The only thing I took off one star for was the humor. Usually I'm a big fan of "dramedy," but Mayer's attempts at comedy are extremely hit and miss (and there are a lot of them since this is technically a satire). There are tons of pop cultural cameos, politically incorrect jokes, outrageous sex scenes, and countless other authorial winks. Sometimes they're hilarious and oftentimes they completely ruin the mood.
What stuck in my mind by the end of the book was not the humor, though, but the sense that Mayer had reached right to the core of the bittersweet nature of life and what it means to be human. Maybe it's because I've been thinking a lot about the themes in "Superfolks" lately, but I came away feeling the way you do when you meet a stranger who somehow understands a part of you that you rarely share. "Superfolks" is a bit all over the place at times, but by the end, it hits its mark and it hits it dead center.
Fun times! I mean, how can you not like a book where Batman clocks Guy Gardner? The only reason this isn't getting 4 stars is because of that one stor...moreFun times! I mean, how can you not like a book where Batman clocks Guy Gardner? The only reason this isn't getting 4 stars is because of that one story where the extra-dimensional superheroes try to rid the world of nuclear weapons. It was sincere, but the heavy-handedness was so cringe-worthy.
Some of my personal highlights: Scott Free getting into a fight with Barda because he has Monitor Duty and can't spend time with her, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold working together for the first time, the Creeper's cameo, the "pipe down, Scott, we're eulogizing you!" line towards the end. A great balance of silliness and intrigue. I'm looking forward to seeing more of this wacky group in the later volumes.(less)
Only 3 stars because the storyline didn't leave much of an impression on me one way or another once it was through. It was thoroughly enjoyable, thoug...moreOnly 3 stars because the storyline didn't leave much of an impression on me one way or another once it was through. It was thoroughly enjoyable, though, and the artwork is absolutely stunning.(less)
This was just as amazing as the first volume of All Star Superman. It's just as jam-packed with quirky, imaginative scenarios, and its scenes range fr...moreThis was just as amazing as the first volume of All Star Superman. It's just as jam-packed with quirky, imaginative scenarios, and its scenes range from being whimsical to achingly poignant. I read most of this on a bus and had to stop several times because I kept tearing up. In a weird way, this reminded me of The Little Prince—it's idealistic, it frequently borders on being surreal, and the way the storyline eventually wraps up has the same transcendent quality that The Little Prince's ending does. Morrison does a fantastic job of distilling the essence of what makes Superman well, super, and portraying him as a symbol of hope, inspiration, and the embodiment of the human spirit's will to rise above adversity. Parts of it went over my head because (I got the feeling at least) this volume is pretty strongly tied into the first one—which is good, except it's been a long time since I read the first volume. Some day I will have to read both of them back to back—and they are definitely worth reading again.(less)