Kiddosphere: Superman and Friends
I, along with millions of my fellow Americans, saw Batman v. Superman in its opening weekend. Prior to the movie, we saw previews for Captain America and X-Men (and also the Ghostbusters ladies movie and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them). My questions of “What’s his deal?” “Can he fly? Oh, he doesn’t fly?” during the previews, not to mention “why are they fighting?” during the drive to the cinema proved that I have a lot to learn (I know the basics, but my true nerdoms are reserved for Broadway musicals and Star Wars), especially after it was established that the last Batman movie I fully remember seeing was Michael Keaton’s take on the Dark Knight. And as entertained as I was by the movie (although I thought the reasons behind their fighting and resolution were really weak), I’d rather read about superheroes than watch a bunch of movies (I enjoy graphic novels and all things pop culture). Whether you’re a newcomer to superheroes or have geeked out over a favorite character since you were seven, these books should keep you busy until the next superhero movie comes out:
I love superhero origin stories. Not where the superheroes come from or about their childhood, but about their actual creation by actual humans. Superman, in my opinion, has one of the most fascinating and tragic creation stories, which is why I inwardly cheered when “Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster” flashed on the screen. Having read the incredible Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero, I knew that the men who created the Man of Steel when they were teenagers had a long and bitter fight with DC Comics in order to be credited as Superman’s creators. Rereading my 2012 review makes me want to read it again (I have so many books that I want to read, however, that I rarely reread). If you’re a fan of pop culture history, you should read this. Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman is a great choice for younger readers. Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster was published not long after I finished Larry Tye’s exhaustive overview of Superman, so I wasn’t very interested in treading the same ground at that time. I’m intrigued by a novelization of Superman’s early days (in the comics). Batman has evolved in many ways since he first appeared in 1939; if you want to check out his earliest comics, Batman: The Sunday Classics, 1943-1946 looks like a great place to start.
Batman: The Ultimate Guide to the Dark Knight is published by one of my favorite companies, DK, so I know this is a super-detailed and comprehensive history of the Batman franchise. Batman’s allies, enemies, special talents, and his story line are explored through terrific pictures and captivating text, as all DK books are.
Although Study Hall of Justice won’t give any insights into the origin and history of DC Comics characters, it looks SUPER CUTE and fun (and it’s a 2016 title!). Bruce Wayne, Clark and Diana (aka Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman) form a detective agency in order to discover the strange goings-on at their school.
I know Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are DC Comics characters (and Spider-Man is Marvel), but other than that, I tend to mix up who else is DC Comics or Marvel. DC Comics; A Celebration of the World’s Favorite Comic Book Series appears to be an outstanding guide to who’s who and what’s what in the superhero universe. Published in 2003, this is an expansive overview of the publisher’s history and comic book characters, including their movies and television shows. Marvel Comics: The Untold Story and Marvel Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the Marvel Universe look to be thorough insights into DC’s rival company.
Batman v. Superman was a teeny bit too long, in my view, so after an extended period of time in which Batman and Superman beat each other up (arrrgh), I was pumped when Wonder Woman finally appeared on the scene (she’s very cool in her small and late-in-the-movie role). Although Wonder Woman’s origin story has changed over the years, Wonder Woman Archives, which collects the early Wonder Woman comics, looks as bright, zany and fun as any comic would in the Golden Age of Comics.
A Wonder Woman movie is coming out next summer (her first solo movie in her 70+ year history), so we will probably see more books and media tied to that franchise. Wonder Woman at Super Hero High is the first book in the DC SuperHero Girls series (awww!). Readers follow Wonder Woman as she deals with the ups and downs of life at Super Hero High School. I’m thrilled that copies at all locations have been super popular; Lisa Yee is the supremely talented author of the Millicent Min/Stanford Wong books, so I’ve had this on my reading list since we received it.
No matter who your favorite superhero is, he/she is probably featured in The Superhero Book: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Comic Book Icons and Hollywood Heroes. The Superhero Book not only contains detailed entries for over a thousand superheroes (!!!) but it provides an overview of the pop culture phenomenon’s history.
I blogged about books for April Fool’s Day on the Association for Library Services to Children’s blog; take a look if you’re interested in stories with trickery and unexpected endings.
Need more reading ideas? Check out current and past issues of Wowbrary and discover new titles to put on your reading list!
Looking for more program highlights and staff suggestions for children and young adult readers? Make Kiddosphere your source for all the latest on what to read and what to do for kids!
∼ Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library