Download Superheroes!: Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of Comic Book Culture Audiobook

Superheroes!: Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of Comic Book Culture Audiobook, by Laurence Maslon Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Laurence Maslon, Michael Kantor Narrator: Laurence Maslon Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2013 ISBN: 9780804128544
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Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, the Avengers, the X-Men, Watchmen, and more: the companion volume to the PBS documentary series of the same name that tells the story of the superhero in American popular culture.
Together again for the first time, here come the greatest comic book superheroes ever assembled between two covers:  down from the heavens—Superman and the Mighty Thor—or swinging over rooftops—the Batman and Spider-Man; star-spangled, like Captain America and Wonder Woman, or clad in darkness, like the Shadow and Spawn; facing down super-villains on their own, like the Flash and the Punisher or gathered together in a team of champions, like the Avengers and the X-Men!
Based on the three-part PBS documentary series Superheroes, this companion volume chronicles the never-ending battle of the comic book industry, its greatest creators, and its greatest creations.  Covering the effect of superheroes on American culture—in print, on film and television, and in digital media—and the effect of American culture on its superheroes, Superheroes: Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of Comic Book Culture appeals to readers of all ages, from the casual observer of the phenomenon to the most exacting fan of the genre.
Drawing from more than 50 new interviews conducted expressly for Superheroes!—creators from Stan Lee to Grant Morrison, commentators from Michael Chabon to Jules Feiffer, actors from Adam West to Lynda Carter, and filmmakers such as Zach Snyder—this is an up-to-the-minute narrative history of the superhero, from the comic strip adventurers of the Great Depression, up to the blockbuster CGI movie superstars of the 21st Century. Superheroes! is the definitive story of this powerful presence in pop culture.

BONUS FEATURE:  Exclusive first-hand commentary from some of the greatest creators in comic book history, from Golden Age artists and writers (Carmine Infantino, Joe Kubert, Stan Lee) to the superstars of the Silver Age (Neal Adams, Jim Steranko, Denny O'Neil)--all the way up to the movers and shakers of the 21st Century (Todd McFarlane, Joe Quesada); plus luminaries such as Adam West, Jules Feiffer and Michael Chabon.

Selected interviews from Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle courtesy of Ghost Light Films, © 2013 Ghost Light Films. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • From its roots in the pulp novels of the early 1900s to its contemporary ubiquity, Superheroes! provides intriguing fodder for those of us who wonder how this age of adolescence dawned, and why it’s stuck around so long. . . . colorfully and copiously illustrated . . . the companion volume to the three-part PBS documentary series Superheroes:  A Never-Ending Battle. If the television series represents an express ride through 75 years of comics history, its more comprehensive coffee-table iteration is ideally suited to those of us nerds who’d prefer to take the local. The New York Times Book Review
  • A deeply knowledgeable, engaging, and respectful history . . . will enlighten the casual fan and challenge lifelong fans. Mark Squirek, New York Journal of Books
  • Exceptionally comprehensive
  • A breezy, imaged-filled narrative perfect for someone who wants a single volume history of comic superheroes. . . . I enjoyed it. If you have someone who still can’t believe you read superhero comics, this is a nice volume to explain the power and history of the genre. 
  • “In charting the development of the superhero from its roots in the pulp novels of the early 1900s to its contemporary ubiquity, Superheroes! provides intriguing fodder for those of us who wonder how this age of adolescence dawned and why it’s stuck around so long…Superheroes!...[evinces] an enthusiasm for its subject that seems only fitting…and its prose lopes along like a jubilant puppy.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A deeply knowledgeable, engaging, and respectful history…will enlighten the casual fan and challenge lifelong fans.”

    New York Journal of Books

  • “Maslon and Kantor track the history of superhero comic books, beginning with the humble birth of Superman in 1938, through the momentum-crushing Comics Code Authority, and to the superheroes’ defiant comeback, leading to the multibillion-dollar industry of today. Along the way, the authors note comics’ deep connection to American history, from Captain America punching Hitler on the cover of his debut issue to the benchmark Spider-Man story depicting the aftermath of 9/11. Using interviews from the documentary, they profile writers, artists, actors, and the characters themselves…It’s more of a browsable survey than a narrative history, and most of the attention is paid to big-name figures, but, all the same, Maslon and Kantor have admirably included profiles of the women, minorities, and LGBT individuals involved, super and otherwise. Readers hoping to fill in their knowledge of superhero backstory will find a lot to like, as will diehard fans looking for a cheery swagger down memory lane.”


  • “A soup-to-nuts history of mostly male, mostly American superheroes of the twentieth century. This slab of superhero history is a colorful companion to Maslon and Kantor’s upcoming PBS documentary…As an introduction to comics culture for novices, it does the trick….Better segments bring context, with the benefit of hindsight, to groundbreaking moments like Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore’s Watchmen…An academic recounting of a truly rich creative history, but it’s territory covered with…fun and attitude.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “A good overview of the comic book industry for the non-comic reader and a refresher for the comic enthusiast.”


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About the Author

Laurence Maslon is an associate arts professor and associate chair at NYU’s Graduate Acting Program. He has written the companion volumes to Michael Kantor’s documentary series, Make ‘Em Laugh and Broadway: The American Musical, in addition to writing several other books about the theater and editing three volumes for the Library of America. He is the host of Broadway to Main Street, a weekly radio show and lives in New York and Long Island with his wife and son.