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Superhero: The Secret Origin of a Genre [Paperback]

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Item description for Superhero: The Secret Origin of a Genre by Peter Coogan...

An entertaining and exhaustive history, tracing the superhero's roots in mythology, science fiction, and pulps, which follows the genre's development to its current renaissance in film, literature, and graphic novels.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   290
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.9" Width: 6" Height: 0.9"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 25, 2006
Publisher   MonkeyBrain Books
ISBN  193226518X  
ISBN13  9781932265187  

Availability  0 units.

More About Peter Coogan

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Peter Coogan has an academic affiliation as follows - Institute for Comics Studies.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Comics & Graphic Novels > Comic Strips > General
2Books > Subjects > Comics & Graphic Novels > General
3Books > Subjects > Comics & Graphic Novels > Graphic Novels > General
4Books > Subjects > Comics & Graphic Novels > Graphic Novels > Graphic Novels
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Criticism & Theory > General
6Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > History & Criticism
7Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > History & Criticism

Reviews - What do customers think about Superhero: The Secret Origin of a Genre?

Superhero genre, super book  Jul 16, 2007
Peter Coogan's look at the history of the superhero genre makes for an entertaining, educational read. It's not meant to be a comprehensive encyclopedia about every detail of superhero development. Instead, it tells an overall story about the development of superheroes, contemplating key issues and providing useful information. Coogan addresses important influences like Wertham's crusade without rehashing them the same way we've seen time and time again. Coogan does an outstanding job of providing information new to the reader.
Deep!  Sep 14, 2006
What Scott McCloud does for Sequential Art (And art in general!) in UNDERSTANDING COMICS, Doc Coogan does the same for the whole concept and genre of the Superhero.
This book will take you deep, deep and deeper still, into what many people think are simple, one-dimensional creations.
This is one of those books, you can pick up, start reading on any page, then look up at the clock and notice an hour has gone by, but you were to involved to notice.
Fascinatin' Stuff!
Faster than a speeding book review.  Aug 28, 2006
Dr. Peter Coogan, in his new study Superhero: The Secret Origin of a Genre, makes the very important case that the American superhero comic book is an artistic genre with its own guidelines, set archetypes and genre specific storytelling. This thesis lays down some groundbreaking guidelines for viewing one of popular culture's most "trivial" academic pursuits. This sets the stage for new thinking about comics. One of Dr. Coogan's important points is that even when there is a radical change in the storytelling that change can not remain radical and entertaining forever because of the conventions that the genre most remain true to. Though this idea comes from Thomas Schatz's work, Hollywood Genres, and for Schatz was to be originally a reference only to film, it is easily interchangeable with superhero comic books because of the formulaic undertones of this type of entertainment. Before making this point Dr. Coogan takes the reader through a slip dash tour of nineteenth and early twentieth century dime store fiction that led to the creation of the first superhero, Superman. It is this section of historical cataloging that is both useful and tedious in Dr. Coogan's monograph. For many of us who are scholars of comics, dime novels are an alien landscape. Dr. Coogan's brief and informative prose drives this section and easily readable. But it leaves question after question about these dime novel creations that unfamiliar readers may not be able to answer. Dr. Coogan likely utilized the large dime novel collection at the Bowling Green State University library, giving him the opportunity many of us do not have, to immerse himself directly dime store fiction. Those as unfamiliar with the early history of comic books as I was of dime novels, may be confused by Dr. Coogan's references. For example, readers who do not know some of the history of DC Comics and the appearance of early characters like the Crimson Avenger, Sandman (the one not created by Neil Gaiman) and the original Red Tornado, may miss some of Coogan's points. There are several minor editing errors that writers like myself will find grating but this is to be expected and could be due to the size of Monkey Brain Books. Despite this problem, those who believe in comics as fare for serious study are grateful to Dr. Coogan for publishing the definite monograph on superhero comics.
An Engrossing and Pioneering Work  Aug 7, 2006
In Superhero: The Secret Origin of A Genre, Peter Coogan skillfully traces the evolution of a distinct and often underrated literary genre. Coogan provides a diagnostic clarification of the conventions of the genre and is sure to become a landmark study in an emerging field.
Superhero is an adaptation of Coogan's doctoral dissertation which demonstartates the development of the superhero genre from heroic myths and frontier literature, through Victorian science fiction, culminating in the birth of the comic book superhero as a distinctive variety of literature. Coogan exhaustively identifies the conventions of the genre and its symbiotic relationship with the comic book medium. While Coogan explores the popularity of the superhero in various media, he really excels when discussing the intricacies of the comic book superhero in its indigenous format. Superhero provides an excellent analysis of the genre and will surely find a wide audience of both faculty and fanboy. To paraphrase a casual remark by a friend, Peter Coogan has quite literally written the book on superheroes.

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