John Hodgman wrote a great review for today’s New York Times on comics. Though it still irks me that the Times tends to lump all genre material together for these kind of group reviews, it is nice to see them get some respected ink. The best part of his essay was the review of Jack Kirby’s reprinted Fourth World Omnibus – a psychedelic, epic space opera about warring gods and superheroes.


What tickled me so much about Hodgman’s review was the focus a classic superhero story. It’s become trendy, if not yet fashionable, to praise comics as a medium while ignoring the slightly awkward, pimply-faced gorilla in the room wearing tights. I wholeheartedly agree that comics is much more than men-and-women-in-capes, it’s a platform for telling all sorts of stories.

But I love superheroes. I love the history, the legacy of decades worth of stories written drawn by hundreds of writers and artists. Most of those writers faded into obscurity, and a few achieved a certain level of fame, but they all contributed to the greater whole, this enormous shared world mythology. There’s really nothing else like in popular culture.  We meet these characters when we are young and they stay with us forever.  Batman.  Superman. Spider-man.  How many different hands have touched their stories?  And how long will their stories go on?

Plus, I mean, c’mon. Admit it – Batman’s just  cool.


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