Steven Wilson's Reviews > Superheroes! Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of Comic Book Culture
Superheroes! Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of Comic Book Culture
Steven Wilson's review
Jan 01, 2014
An ambitious work, valuable for its illustrations alone. It covers the history of comics from the pulps of the early 20th Century through the Avengers film of 2012. Its coverage of the youth and coming of age of the industry, up through Dr. Wertham and the creation of the Comics Code Authority, is strong. Then the text starts to taper off in both energy and in quality. I was fascinated by the frank discussion of the backgrounds of the Golden Age creators, and the factors that cause the children of Italian and Jewish immigrants to gravitate to the field. I was disappointed, however, to note that the authors were sometimes writing about comics they hadn't read or fully researched. In their discussion of the industry post-1970, their objectivity fails, as they pretty much follow the sales figures in choosing what books, characters or creators to talk about. I'm a little unclear how you write an overview of an industry and call a solid-but-never-spectacular talent like Gerry Conway "a giant," and yet you never mention, even once, creators like Matt Wagner or Steve Englehart, and you give John Byrne the barest nod. Even Chris Claremont, without whom X-Men would be a book that died in the Seventies, is a little short-changed here, in favor of slavish devotion to the likes of Grant Morrison, a man who, by his own admission, hates comic books.
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