Our Gods Wear Spandex: The Secret History of Comic Book Heroes
by Christopher Knowles
Paperback, 233 pages
Published November 30th 2007 by Weiser Books (first published November 1st 2007)
ISBN: 1578634067 (ISBN13: 9781578634064)
This book has an interesting premise but somehow it falls flat. Most of the things in the book are just speculation and few are actually factual things. Also, the concept that comic book superheroes are essentially the old gods but in new costumes and stories, is not a new one. There are many other books out there which elaborate more on this, especially Grant Morrison’s “Super Gods”. I already knew most of the things in the book and anyone who might have read any book about the history of comics or pop culture might find this book repeating a lot of things as well.
For those who never read anything about comics in the context of social or cultural influences, this book is a perfect beginner’s guide, however, there is much more information not covered in the book.
The only thing I liked about it where the last two chapters. This is where the author talks about the importance of comics for our imagination and how these “new” gods help mankind to aspire for greatness. The whole idea behind such a book is to show the casual reader the value of comics and create a better understanding of a medium that is gaining popularity in main stream media. It also highlights the important people who steered and continue to lead the industry into better quality story telling for everyone to enjoy. This in turn stimulates the collective imagination of all of us to push ourselves into a new age of humanity. The problem is that the message doesn’t come across so clearly. The book ends up being a list of esoteric and mystical people who influenced the comic book scene and how they shaped the origin of these “new” gods.
In the end, I would recommend this book only to the casual reader interested in reading a bit about comics. It is not a bad book in itself, however, there are better ones out there doing what this book tries to do, but doing it better.