Publisher: Quirk Books
Released: June 2nd 2015
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
You know about Batman, Superman, and Spiderman, but have you heard of Doll Man, Doctor Hormone, or Spider Queen? In The League of Regrettable Superheroes, you’ll meet one hundred of the strangest superheroes ever to see print, complete with backstories, vintage art, and colorful commentary. So prepare yourself for such not-ready-for-prime-time heroes as Bee Man (Batman, but with bees), the Clown (circus-themed crimebuster), the Eye (a giant, floating eyeball; just accept it), and many other oddballs and oddities. Drawing on the entire history of the medium, The League of Regrettable Superheroes will appeal to die-hard comics fans, casual comics readers, and anyone who enjoys peering into the stranger corners of pop culture. (from Goodreads)
If you have even the slightest interest in superheroes, and also possess a sense of humour, then you will probably enjoy this book. It’s not often I review non-fiction but I couldn’t miss the chance to read this!
I will confess that I am not greatly knowledgeable when it comes to comics and superheroes (I know a little), so I actually learnt a lot from this book (like that a lot of the costumes in the 40s were fabulously awful and I think we should bring a few of those back). I also just really enjoyed reading about some of the crazy concepts people had come up with over the years. Some of these superheroes were truly odd (The Eye for one - there was just no explanation there!) while some were, in my opinion, terrifying (who thought a CLOWN would be a good idea? Clowns are creepy and frightening and okay maybe I was scared of them as a child but that’s not the point, clowns are just rubbish crime-fighters). Some had ridiculous names/powers (Dr Hormone and Ultra the Multi-Alien come to mind) whereas others weren’t actually too bad and seemed to have just unfortunately been cancelled before they could really take off. Wolf-Man though - that was just downright lazy. It’s like no thought went into that name at all.
I loved the artwork/images from the original comics that were included throughout as well. Certain characters had two extra pages that often contained panels from the actual work, and some were absolutely hilarious. I couldn’t imagine actually walking into a shop and buying these things! The author’s writing style was also very enjoyable, and I found myself laughing quite a bit. I definitely think that made a lot of difference, because if this had been a purely factual book with no (or unsuccessful) humour, I probably would have been bored. The inclusion of all the images really helped improve the reading experience as well, and the book would not be as fun without them.
In terms of how “regrettable” these superheroes were - some definitely were (seriously - CLOWNS) but I would definitely be intrigued to see if any of them are ever revived some day soon. We’re living in a time where superheroes are very popular and it’d be interesting to find out how successful some of these characters would be now if they ever made a come back (please no clown superhero movies though - I beg of you).
Overall, this was a really fun and somewhat educational read and I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in superheroes or comics from the past!