June 27, 2009

Book Review: WAS SUPERMAN A SPY? And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed ( Paperback )

There's a new Paperback Book out right now on the history of comic books titled "WAS SUPERMAN A SPY? And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed". It is written by Brian Cronin & published by Plume. Bouncing around the Internet I have seen a mention of it here, a review there, so I was curious & decided to check it out. Basically the book is sort of a myth busters-type book where the author explores all the "urban legends" surrounding the long 70+ year history of comic book creators & characters. There have been all kinds of interesting myths & with this book he does extensive research to find out which ones are true & which are false. The book is broken down into 3 parts: DC Comics, Marvel, & Other Publishers. But all the chapters have a lot of extremely interesting stories so even if, for example, you don't like "Marvel Comics", it's still a great read. Now the only reason I felt this book would be possible as a review here at the Bat-Blog is that it does cover a few of the events involving BATMAN. Mainly all the controversy around who really created the character & how much did Bob Kane actually draw the comic book. There's some other interesting information about the Caped Crusader in there too like who created certain characters. For example, "Did Jerry Robinson really create the Joker or was it Bob Kane?" Also, the book covers a lot of other territory in it's 256 pages. Some of the other questions it answers is, "Was the trademark hairstyle of Elvis Presley really based on a comic book character &, if so, which one? Was Wolverine of the X-Men originally meant to be an actual wolverine/animal? Did the creator of the Lie-Detector Test also create Wonder Woman's "Lasso of Truth"? and on & on! It seems that Brian did TONS of research & covers a HUGE amount of material. Overall, I found the book to be pretty entertaining. Brian's writing style is very precise ( he gets right down to business ). It's written to be sort of "conversational" & easy to understand. But he does a good job with relaying a lot of facts like exact names, dates, etc...so that's cool. Now, about the overall design of the book ( which I think is important ). The cover is absolutely amazing! In fact, I'm linking this review to an interview with the Graphic Designer who created the cover, it's that nice. The material used for the cover feels really good in your hands, it's very durable & has a great texture. Plus, graphically it just looks very cool with sort of a retro-style. Now the inside of the book. The font size is wonderful to read, which is something a lot of people don't think about but reading many books lately I've noticed publishers use extremely small font sizes to make books with less pages. They're total hell to read, but not this book, that's nice. My only complaint about the whole thing...some of the inside photos & illustrations. Now, most of the photos are pretty decent ( & there's a lot of them ) but just a few are kinda murky & hard to see. It seems like the editor was a little weak about that ( Sorry Brian & Plume, I gotta be honest ). But really it doesn't distract that much from the book & I seriously enjoyed reading it. I mean, when I started, the experience was so good that I ended up reading about half the book before I put it down. If I had not been tired ( it was bedtime ) I would have read the whole thing all the way through! If you love comic books then I think you'll find it very entertaining & you just might find yourself laughing out loud a little bit every now & then, ha ha! Plus, you'll learn a lot of very interesting facts about the Comic Book business & it's properties. If you would like to know more about the graphic design of the book cover then please check out this LINK for more information. I've also included a link to Amazon, so if you buy stuff from there please use one of our links because it helps to support this page a little bit ( a VERY little bit, ha ha ).

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Yeah, it's a fun book...I think that non-comics readers would enjoy it, not just the dedicated fans. The cover is a total eye-catcher, too. It's rare that I find a book I actually want to look at, not just read.