This novel was out of print for uite a long time and it almost reached legendary status amongst comics readers several respected writers named it as a major influence on their work eg Kurt Busiek and Grant Morrison I m willing to take their word for it ie I believe them when they say that it was roundbreaking at the time it was first published and it may well have inspired several people to reinvent the enre However looking at it now it s a bit embarrassing so if you just read the stories it inspired then you won t be missing muchOne of the odd aspects to this book is continuity Right from the first page it directly refers to DC characters like Batman and Superman specifically it says that they re dead so this is apparently set in an alternate version of the DC universe At the same time the lead character is clearly an analogue of Superman so why not just come out with it Similarly it s blatantly obvious that Captain Mantra and his sister Mary are really Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel so why separate them It would have made sense to o down the Suadron Supreme or Watchmen route ie don t refer to the existing characters at all and just whistle innocently if anyone points out similarities between them and your brand new charactersview spoilerThere s also an odd scene where Brinkley the protagonist is with his Black Metropolis, Vol. 2 girlfriend and he pulls out a condom from his walletPeggy recoiled in horrorWe can t she said All those boys andirls seeing us in the comics What would they thinkHe put the Trojan away They continued to ive each other hand jobsOne night
AS THEY WERE LYING TOGETHER PEGGYthey were lying together Peggy fingers encircling his pulsing thickness like diamond rings he heard a faint sound a cry for help in the distance He turned up his superhearing It was a woman s voice screaming in terrorHis impulse was to find out what was happening to rush to her defence But how could he explain it to Peggy if he leaped out of her tender rasp rabbed his uniform dove out the sixth floor windowp87The reason he can t dash away is that Peggy doesn t know he s really a superhero That being the case there s no reason for her to think that he has to act like a role model to anyone Also it seems rather bizarre that using a condom would be seen as an intrinsically bad thing Beyond that even if Peggy did know his secret the reference to comics is breaking the fourth wall ie she would then have to "be aware that they were both fictional characters You can do interesting things with that concept as Morrison "aware that they were both fictional characters You can do interesting things with that concept as Morrison in Animal Man but it has to be handled carefully and in this case it s just a brief reference that is completely ignored for the rest of the novel Even if she does know that they re on camera and doesn t want to use a condom it s then odd to be so explicitly sexual with youngsters watching hide spoiler So obviously I d heard mutterings of this before but it was when it became the latest front in the Grant MorrisonAlan Moore DUEL OF WIZARDS that I ot 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 Wellno 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 Man of Tomorrow both lovely but hardly the stuff on which Moore s legacy rests First off yes this brings a dose of realism to superheroics but Enduring Truths given there s no such thing as an objective take on reality realism describes an awful lot of styles This is the realism of the postwar American novel it s worth noting that as well as comic book superheroesrown old and Myst giving up the cast here also includes Holden Caulfield and Portnoy in respectable middle age Plus Snoopy plus Ronald McDonald plus various figures from seventies American politics whose relevance I d never haverasped if I d read this pre Google The tone is larger than life satirical closer in many ways to Mad magazine superhero parodies than Watchmen style realism I should note though that while I don t The Chinese Love Pavilion generally buy into the Britis. Before there was WATCHMEN there was SUPERFOLKSDavid Brinkley used to be a hero thereatest the world had ever seen until he retired ot married moved to the suburbs and packed on a few extra Roes are dead or missing except one a Superman analogue who "is teasingly never named Most of the other characters are named "teasingly never named Most of the other characters are named and freuently with the names of celebrities and famous figures fictional and true The protagonist s secret identity is David Brinkley the stripper with a heart of chrome is Lorna Doone a jailhouse uard is Bill Buckley Sometimes it s funny sometimes it s notThe premise of the novel is that this lone remaining superhero is in the midst of a mid life crisis pining for his former Dolphin Confidential glories that ended when he began experiencing patches of weakness His powers are diminished and Brinkley languishes in suburban self pity Until of course he s called to action by a new wave of turmoil in his beloved New York Woven into this plotline are conspiracies histories of other heroes political commentary and social satire The novel has its moments to be sure but I suspect that if it hadn t been about superheroes currently and strangely fashionable again in a second postmodern resurgence it never would have been reprinted It s better read as a document of its time than as some profound and lasting statement on any of the themes itlancingly treats I had been looking for this book on and off for uite 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 uite an impression Unfortunately that particular edition of the text had been released under the title Everyman which meant that my subseuent efforts to find it were doomed to be fruitless until I
FINALLY MANAGED TO GOOGLE THE RIGHTmanaged to Google the right of the few bits that I actually remembered correctly and turned up a reference to the rerelease under the new titleIt s beginning to show its age but for a 35 year old work it s held up remarkably well It is a broad farce in the older tradition so there s a lot fourth wall breaking name dropping all of the city cabs are apparently driven by Bella Abzug self insertion Mayer himself appears very briefly as a random staffer in the newspaper office and references to other properties DC comics Snoopy etc than you d see in a contemporary work But for all of that it still conveys the basic premise of a superhero who s Mairis Mermaid grown older settled down and started wondering about his relevancy and usefulness in a way that many of its imitators never uite managed For example Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns may edge it out in terms ofrim realism and socio political commentary but in terms of actually Windchill Summer getting inside the head of the protagonist I d still have too with Superfolks Admittedly the prose format does allow for development but still Definitely worth reading for a comics fan but possibly not a permanent purchase Characters 3Plot 3Universe 3I know this is a cult favorite of many people and I did enjoy it but just didn t fall in love with it 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 This is heightened by the fact that the main character is a trope for trope double for Superman A couple of the twists are inventive Once in a while a joke hits the mark The author obviously tried to overcome his naming problems by relying on names from other media but it freights all of his characters with unrelated baggage and confuses the story 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 The Shadow of Your Smile got a chuckle out of much of it especially him running into flying doghouses with a french speaking dog I think if youo into it looking for the humor in it than the overall plot you might have a better time Things seems to just sort of wrap up uicker than i expecte. Perpowers are failing himAt long last this classic satire that inspired comic books like Watchmen and Miracleman is back in print It's a hilarious thriller that digs deep into the American psyc.
Robert Mayer à 4 Free readH literary establishment s love affair with
That Particular School Of Novelists It Workedparticular school of novelists it worked perhaps because of the subject matter I could The Three Worlds go along for the ride with Superfolks in a way I couldn t with say HerzogSecond just as Morrison argues with some justification that Moore overstates Moore s own status as a uniue forerunner so Morrison himself in turn exaggerates the uniue prescience of Superfolks I have a paperback anthology called simply Superheroes which came out the next year collecting many stories some new some recent some dating back to the forties which likewise bring a dose of realism to the heroes the most famous is Larry Niven s essay Man of Steel Woman of Kleenex Marvel s early comics in their own clumsy way had tried to do something similar in the early sixties and DC hadot in on the act in the early seventies when Green Arrow s kid sidekick became a junkie I m sure the jokes and Tijuana bibles In the Belly go back to the first years of comics so called Golden Age Humans can t help but dream of something better hence superheroes Then when they see something better they eually can t help making jokes about that superman s knobStill even if I read this book for the worst of reasons drawn into a feud between two of my favourite comics writers that s another sale for a book which definitely deserves them About which I realise I ve said very little directly but then just as I came into it broadly ignorant of the plot of anything bar the most basic premise so in my turn I wouldn t want toive too much away Considered to be the original retired superhero tale the inspiration for 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 meansThere s also just somethingunpleasant about this book Little nuggets of sexism and racism that I m sure Mayer would say are part of the satire but which just made me feel icky So while this book may be Becoming Mona Lisa groundbreaking personally I d rather break in the opposite direction If someone described to you a book that was an influence on the superhero deconstruction stories of Alan Moore and Grant Morrison among others in a satirical style that was not unlike Kurt Vonnegut what kind of book would you imagine A funnier Watchmen A sort of proto Marvelman An anythingoes style of absurdity that leaves a distinct roadmap for later projects "like Doom Patrol A work that skewers superheroes and all that cliches that come along with 1970s enre stories from "Doom Patrol A work that skewers superheroes and all that cliches that come along with 1970s enre stories from point of view of someone who didn t spend their life in comic books All of those things sound kind of awesome in their own way and I m sure anyone reading that description that ca I saw this in a store once upon a time flipped through it thought it was Land good and I d buy it when I had money and then it wasone But due to the Magic of the Internet I eventually found it again and read itIt hasn t aged well Funny *NAME JOKES RARELY WORK ON ME SO CALLING KRYPTONITE *jokes rarely work on me So calling Kryptonite isn t that funny to me even thought I know who Cronkite was But it had some really ood moments particularly when it wasn t trying to be funny And the ending actually was moving This novel is touted as being the precursor to the realistic or at least rittier 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 onzo and wacky in a very 70s fashion and there are aspects of the novel that remind me of the silliness of Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea s Illuminatus trilogy although without the same level of either excess or daring Mayer posits a world where all the superhe. Ounds 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 mid life crisis his su. .