Superheroes: Truth, justice and the outsider way
It had to happen! Superheroes have shaped our shared culture – both popular and political – but where did the idea of the “good superman” come from? How did idealism, power fantasy and radicalism merge so that an outsider generation of young (often Jewish) Americans could transform America?
Join Dorian and Ian on a senses-shattering odyssey that takes in socialist Superman, juvenile delinquents, the polyamorist roots of Wonder Woman, the Nazis (again), the great lost horror comics of the 50s, Stan Lee, how Churchill and FDR inspired Spider-Man… and which one of the X-Men was based on Menachem Begin.
Superheroes: A Reading List
American Comics by Jeremy Dauber. Really comprehensive and full of love for the genre. But maybe a bit too comprehensive. Dauber covers absolute everything, so it can feel a bit too thinly spread.
The Ten Cent Plague: The great comic book scare and how it changed America, by David Hajdu. Absolutely masterful retelling of the 50s moral outrage against comics. Impeccably researched, brilliantly written, and full of striking insights.
Watchmen by Alan Moore, Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller and All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison. If you were to read these three together, even as a non-comics fan, you would get a really good crash course in the different approaches taken to the genre since the 80s.
Supergods by Grant Morrison. One of the all-time great comic-book writers has also the written the most entertaining and provocative history of the superhero.
Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe. Essential reading for anyone interested in the people who built the Marvel universe. Howe has all the stories. I’ve given this book as a gift more than once.
All Of The Marvels by Douglas Wolk. The Marvel Universe as explained by somebody who has read all 27,000 comic books. While Howe covers the creators, Wolk digs into the evolution of the characters and ideas.
True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee by Abraham Riesman. Juicy and unflinching biography of Mr Marvel.
The Comic Book Heroes by Will Jacobs and Gerard Jones. Dated but interesting 1985 encyclopaedia of superheroes.
The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore. New Yorker writer’s eye-opening history of the love triangle that gave us Wonder Woman.
“Even by thinking about superheroes, you’re thinking about politics. What is politics about but power and how you use it?” — Dorian
Written and presented by Dorian Lynskey and Ian Dunt. Audio production by Jade Bailey. Music by Jade Bailey. Logo art by Mischa Welsh. Group Editor: Andrew Harrison. Origin Story is a Podmasters production