Cover image for Superman on the couch : what superheroes really tell us about ourselves and our society
Superman on the couch : what superheroes really tell us about ourselves and our society
Fingeroth, Danny.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Continuum, [2004]

Physical Description:
192 pages ; 24 cm
Electronic Access:
Table of contents

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN6714 .F54 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Why are so many of the superhero myths tied up with loss, often violent, of parents or parental figures?- What is the significance of the dual identity?- What makes some superhuman figures good and others evil?- Why are so many of the prime superheroes white and male?- How has the superhero evolved over the course of the 20th and early 21st centuries?- How might the myths be changing?- Why is it that the key superhero archetypes--Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, the X-Men--touch primal needs and experiences in everyone?- Why has the superhero moved beyond the pages of comics into other media? All these topics, and more, are covered in this lively and original exploration of the reasons why the superhero--in comic books, films, and TV--is such a potent myth for our times and culture.

Author Notes

Danny Fingeroth ran Marvel's Spider-Man line and consulted on the Fox Kids Network Spider-Man animated series. He has written comics adventures of Spider-Man, Superman, and other iconic figures. Currently, he produces Write Now! magazine and teaches comics writing at New York University

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Fingeroth draws on his decades of working at Marvel Comics (including work as the editorial director of the Spider-Man comics family) to write this personal, engaging, and earnest work. He addresses, among other topics, superheroes and immigration (Superman, the ultimate alien), superheroes and family relations (Fantastic Four and X-Men), and the development of the teen voice in comic books (from sidekick to Spider-Man). Fingeroth hits a number of high notes, especially in his discussion of villains as proactive characters, as opposed to the usually reactive heroes. He also considers the idea of the female superhero. Fingeroth supports his assertions with a good array of scholarly and popular sources, including work by Joseph Campbell, Gloria Steinem, and Les Daniels. The result is an easygoing exploration of superheroes' cultural significance, and it will appeal to a mainstream audience. Comics legend Stan Lee provides the foreword to this slim volume. The hardcover carries a hefty price tag, so larger public libraries may wish to consider the paperback. Because of the subject matter's appeal and the accessibility of Fingeroth's writing, this title is an especially good choice for school libraries.-Audrey Snowden, Brewer, ME (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Stan Lee
Forewordp. 9
1 Why Superheroes?p. 13
2 It Started with Gilgamesh: The History of the Superherop. 31
3 The Dual Identity: Of Pimpernels and Immigrants from the Starsp. 47
4 Storm of the Orphans: Superman, Batman, and Spider-Manp. 63
5 Amazon Grace: Wonder Woman, Xena, and Buffyp. 79
6 Thermonuclear Families: The Justice League, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Fourp. 97
7 You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: The Hulk, Judge Dredd, and Wolverinep. 119
8 Changing Voices: From Robin to Spider-Manp. 139
9 Values and Villains: What's at Stake?p. 155
10 The Future of the Superherop. 169
Afterword: Getting Personalp. 173
Select Bibliographyp. 179
Acknowledgmentsp. 183
Indexp. 185