Monday, January 25, 2010

How to Read Superhero Comics and Why

Klock, Geoff. How to Read Superhero Comics and Why. New York: Continuum, 2006.

How to Read Superhero Comics and Why examines what Klock refers to as 'revisionary' superheroes. These are texts that offer the Bloomian 'strong reading' of the previous mess of continuity that precedes any given book. Texts like Miller's Batman: the Dark Knight Returns, and Batman: Year One as well as Moore's Killing Joke and Watchmen are seen as representative of these types of hero narratives.

For Klock, it is important that these texts examine and deal with the tradition of either the individual hero (see: Dark Knight Returns) or the entire spectrum of comic superhero history (see: Watchmen). More than just all the stories that precede the revisionary comic, these books need to also address what Reynold's refers to as the hierarchical continuity, or the way that the world has dealt with these comic books, such as Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent. Unlike the failed Crisis on Infinite Earths, these books will manage to address, deal with, and make some sense of the history so that the next wave of comics can move forward with a new sense of tradition.

Klock is very fastidious in his readings, and carefully examines each of the important comics (maybe to a fault: the first chapter of the book that examines The Dark Knight and Watchmen is almost half the book). His obsessively close readings aside, Klock's book is well written, engaging, and presents and interesting way to look at contemporary comic books. He makes a convincing argument for why these comic books are important for study and sets a standard that future comics can be weighed against.

This is going to be a useful book to reference for my project. Any time one talks about continuity, this book will need to be references, sign-posted or directly quoted.

No comments:

Post a Comment