A fantastic companion to 2007′s Fletcher Hanks retrospective I Shall Destroy All The Civiized Planets!, this Greg Sadowski-edited look at the nascent superhero comics scene is pure pop culture heaven, giving readers a glimpse at early work from Jack Kirby, Will Eisner, Bill Everett and Lou Fine among many others while exposing them to the frenetic, frequently surreal storytelling that marked the years surrounding the introduction of a certain blue-and-red clad man from another world. While it’s easy to see why these characters have been been consigned to the dustbin of history, there’s an undeniable charm to practically every story in here, from The Comet becoming the fall guy for a villain with the clever nom-de-crime of Satan to Fletch Hanks’s Stardust battling a group of space-faring vultures terrorizing Earth.
The only problem with this book is that it leaves you wanting more, particularly when it comes to some genuinely important artifacts like Simon and Kirby’s Blue Bolt, which was reprinted in truly ghastly, over-corrected fashion a few years ago. You can get more information about Supermen! and buy it directly from the Fantagraphics site while Amazon has it for $16.49 at the moment, a 30-odd percent savings.