League of Regrettable Superheroes, by Jon Morris (book review) – 100 also-rans from real comics!

book cover of The League of Regrettable Superheroes by Jon Morris published by Quirk BooksKid Eternity for justice!
Moon Girl fighting crime!
3-D Man against bad guys!

Jon Morris has spent years locating and verifying these not-very-super characters on his Gone and Forgotten blog – now, he’s collected them into a book filled with pages of rare comics, from the Golden Age to now.

Just published yesterday, this encyclopedic array of one hundred has-beens is a must-have for comic fans. Ask for it at your local library or independent bookstore.

If you were inventing a new not-so-superhero, what powers would s/he have?

Book info: The League of Regrettable Superheroes / Jon Morris. Quirk Books, 2015.  [author blog]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: For every blockbuster action superhero, there are scores of not-so-super characters who tried and failed to make an impact in comics – a veritable League of Regrettable Superheroes, in fact.

This colorful compendium of so-so superheroes is divided into chronological sections: the Golden Age of Comics (1938-1949) with a propensity for Nazi-hunting during World War II, the Silver Age (1950-1969) with gimmicks galore, and the Modern Age (1970-present) with grim and gritty storylines.

The 100 regrettable superheroes are arranged alphabetically in each age, with full-color comic pages, date of first appearance, and more.

Meet Captain Tootsie, Kangaroo Man, Speed Centaur, and early female superbeing Fantomah of the Golden Age. Puzzle over the mindset of the creators of Congorilla and Pow-Girl of the Silver Age, as well as Brother Voodoo, Squirrel Girl, and Thunderbunny in the Modern Age.

There were also groundbreaking superheroes who never got the recognition they deserved, like Nelvana of the Northern Lights (a Canadian pre-Wonder Woman superhero). Many of the early characters in this book are now in the public domain, so revivals of Nelvana, DollMan, and others may appear in new incarnations.

A must for any comic fan and an interesting look at the concerns of mainstream society during each age, The League of Regrettable Superheroes captures fleeting pages from America’s collective youth.

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