Monday, December 7, 2009

Book Review: Superfolks

One of the reasons I love reading Introductions to books is that often they will point me to other books I've never heard of before. Case in Point, Astro City: Confession, by Kurt Busiek. The introduction is done by Neil Gaiman and in it, he points out a number books which focus on super-heroes but come at them from a different direction. It was in this introduction that I first heard of Superfolks by Robert Mayer.

Basically, I would describe this book as an R-Rated version of The Incredibles. The main character, David Brinkley, is a retired Superman-type character who lost his powers ages ago but now is beginning to be able to use them again. The novel does go a lot into the sexuality of super-heroes, a topic many fans speculate on, but writers (especially before this book came out) didn't really touch on. Overall the book is really, really funny, I love the action sequences and you really get a good understanding of the main character, a man who has grown up, started his own family, and is suddenly offered the chance to re-live his boyhood dream.

The book was written in 1977, and any familiarity you have with that decade, and the state of pop culture back then will help you with the enjoyment of the book. You don't need to know everything about the era to understand the story, but you may miss certain references or in-jokes if you don't.

Robert Mayer (pictured in 1977 to the right), is actually a journalist and Superfolks was his first novel. I haven't found any of the other 7 books he's written to date, I found Superfolks in my local comic book store, but I am definitely looking, as his first book was so good. It's not for kids, but a more grown up audience will really love it.

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