By Brian Robb, 9781472110701
From the start superheroes represented the hopes and fears of the time. during this unique historical past, Brian Robb takes the reader throughout the various heritage of superheroes, from the 1st creations—Superman, Batman, ask yourself Woman—to the DC and wonder feud and the darker types of the Nineteen Eighties, finishing with their rebirth on the movies.
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Additional resources for A Brief Guide to Superheroes: From Superman to the Avengers, the Evolution of Comic Book Legends
They were avid readers of Amazing Stories and Weird Tales, pulps that offered them regular doses of strangeness and imagination. They loved to catch the latest Douglas Fairbanks swashbuckler at the movies. Most importantly of all, they devoured the daily and Sunday newspaper comic strips, especially the space opera adventures of Buck Rogers or Edgar Rice Burroughs’ jungle adventures of Tarzan. ’ The pair dared to hope their interests might offer them a way out of their impoverished circumstances.
Siegel and Shuster’s first professional sale was to minor publisher Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson’s comic book New Fun, a just-launched anthology. National Allied Publications (later DC Comics) was running original material in New Fun, not reprinted newspaper strips. Wheeler-Nicholson was a forty-five-year-old pulp writer, the son of a suffragette, who was now pioneering the new American comic book form. The son of a journalist father and magazine 57 publisher mother, he attended a military academy and joined the US Cavalry in 1917.
For his part, Shuster had regularly practised weightlifting for a time, and his awareness of the culture of ‘physical perfection’ and the magazine articles featuring Charles Atlas may have played a large part in the way he decided to draw Siegel’s Superman. Their final masterstroke was to make this new embodiment of Superman an immigrant, like their families. He would come from outer space, an alien sent to Earth as a baby when his father discovers that a cosmic cataclysm is about to destroy their home planet (this may have been influenced by Ming’s attacks on 52 Earth with fiery meteors in the early Flash Gordon strips).