introduction by Jonathan Lethem; second printing, Nov. 2009
The enduring cultural phenomenon of comic book heroes was invented in the late 1930s by a talented and hungry group of artists and writers barely out of their teens, flying by the seat of their pants to create something new, exciting, and above all profitable. The iconography and mythology they created flourishes to this day in comic books, video, movies, fine art, advertising, and practically all other media. Supermen! collects the best and the brightest of this first generation, including Jack Cole, Will Eisner, Bill Everett, Lou Fine, Fletcher Hanks, Jack Kirby, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, and Basil Wolverton. If the reader is expecting to find an All-American group of altruistic do-gooders, he in for quite a jolt. As Jonathan Lethem writes in his Foreword, “A collection like Supermen! works like a reverse-neutron bomb to assumptions about the birth of the superhero image: it tears down the orderly structures of theory and history and leaves the figures standing in full view, staring back at us in all their defiant disorienting particularity, their blazing strangeness.” Beautifully designed and produced in full color, Supermen! contains twenty full-length stories, ten full-sized covers, a generous selection of vintage promotional ads, and comprehensive end notations by editor Greg Sadowski, making it indispensable to anyone interested in the origins of superheroes and the history of the comic book form.
Download an EXCLUSIVE 11-page PDF excerpt (7.4 MB) featuring an entire story by Will Eisner and Lou Fine starring The Flame!
"Supermen! edited by Greg Sadowski is top drawer. I'm hoping it is a break-out book like the Fletcher Hanks. It deserves it. Unlike other comic collections, Supermen! features complete stories as well as ads and covers, so that it's very much like getting a bound volume of very cool stories. Everything is scarce material, much or most never before reprinted, yet by major names like Will Eisner, Jack Cole, Fletcher Hanks (two stories), Lou Fine, Basil Wolverton, et al. Love the spiced up colors and nice warm paper stock; it is the closest thing to the real comics I have seen yet - in fact, I don't think I've ever seen such good authentic reproduction on such a book before. Nothing like those cold, flat Archives collections on slick paper that do NOT offer you this same experience. It's superior to them all." – Bud Plant
"…so remarkable, it’s hard not to love it… an indispensable collection." – Jack Abramowitz, Comics Buyers Guide
"Great collection of Pre-Code superhero comics. Perfectly odd and unpredictable, with a lot of big names." – John Porcellino