by Jeet Heer
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
When I first read Greg Sadowski’s Supermen!: The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941, I was a bit disappointed. My preference is for anthologies that have a strong editorial vision like Art Out of Time or The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics. Supermen! seemed like it was governed less by an editorial imperative than a chronological one. Some of the comics in the book are very strong (especially the stories by Jack Cole, Fletcher Hanks, and Basil Wolverton) but many of them also seemed primitive in a bad way (crude, simple-minded) rather than a good way (Hanks’ vitalism).