Friday, June 21, 2013


This post is a re-posting of an update I wrote for the official FURSCA blog. 

While my quest to discover whether or not superheroes have earned the rank of modern mythology remains far from finished, I have been encouraged to report my findings thus far. Now, rather than focus on one book at a time, I have elected to approach my work in a more school-oriented fashion, which entails reading from four major areas of study: literary theory, mythology, superhero scholarship, and, of course, superhero comics. Since the theory is largely preparation for my final analysis and few would be interested in my opinions of Batman: Earth One, I will focus here on my findings in the realms of mythology and superhero scholarship (which, much to my disappointment, is actually scholarship about superheroes, not scholarship by superheroes).

Mythology is undeniably an attractive buzzword. In advertising and academia alike, the term mythology seems to get tossed around with little regard to any actual meaning. For example, the back of the above-mentioned Batman: Earth One graphic novel reads, “[W]riter Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank reimage a new mythology for the Dark Knight, where the familiar is no longer the expected in this long-awaited original graphic novel from DC Comics.” Likewise, Jeffery K. Johnson’s Super-History: Comic Book Superheroes and American Society, Johnson begins like this:

When a hero is needed a hero is born. Although this may sound like simplistic or wishful thinking, in reality societies and cultures give birth to the mythological heroes they need. Hercules, King Arthur, Beowulf, and hundreds of other fictional heroes have supplied help and guidance to their homelands. These heroic symbols reflect their societies’ values and fulfill their cultures needs. . . . If the United States ever needed a hero it was during the summer of 1938. (7)

Johnson refers here to the inception of the world’s first official superhero, Superman. He later claims that the Man of Steel would become the first in a long line of modern mythical heroes: “By the first few years of the twenty-first century, superheroes have become the dominant form of American mythology” (189). So, as you can see, the word “mythology” gets tossed around quite often. And, at first glance, it seems incredibly appropriate. The similarities between superheroes and the myths of old dare us to deny our spandex-clad icons mythical status: they are “super” heroes who reflect a culture’s values and ideological changes, even over time, they are written and revised by many authors (again, over time), and they are extremely popular. But is that enough?

Well, it depends on who you ask. Jeffery K. Johnson focuses on the foremost of the above-mentioned criteria of mythological status in his book. By charting the progression of superheroes decade-by-decade from 1938 to the present, Johnson shows that superheroes do indeed reflect our culture and, more importantly, our culture’s changes. His general analysis can be broken down as follows:
  • 1938-1940—Early superheroes like Superman and Batman are “social avengers.” As products of the Great Depression and its injustice, these caped crusaders fought for the common man: stopping thugs, revealing corrupt politicians, preventing cons, etc. They were the hoped-for cure to everyday problems that overwhelmed the unfortunate.
  • 1941-1945 (yes, you remember correctly, that’s World War II)—Even before American troops joined the second great war, America’s superheroes were opposing the axis powers. Who can forget the cover of Captain America #1, a comic released in 1941, which featured Cap socking Adolf Hitler square on jaw? Later, when America finally joined the fight, so too did the rest of the heroes. Superhero comics constituted 1/3 of the literature sent to US troops overseas. Domestically, superheroes like Superman promoted the purchasing of war bonds. “Just like average Americans, comic book superheroes gave up their freedom in order to support the nation’s war effort” (Johnson 47).
  • 1946-1959—Just as many American’s settled down for that suburban dream after the war, so too did superheroes. Straying heavily from their vigilante roots, most superheroes (if they survived this era) became “company men,” enforcing gender roles and maintaining the status quo. Superman, the once-mighty “social avenger” became a beacon of normality, his most threatening a Lois Lane constantly attempting to trick the Man of Steel into marriage.
  • 1960-1969—The paranoid peace of the 50’s would not last forever, and soon superheroes found themselves once again on the front lines of social change. Problems like the Cuban Missile crises placed the nuclear threat foremost in the populace’s mind. Marvel Comics characters like Hulk, Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four represented not only this new nuclear reality, but their narratives and realistic characterizations spoke to a rebelling youth culture while DC comics continued publishing conservative stories as they did in the 50's.
  •  970-1979—The social issues of the 60’s bled into the 70’s, and, mixed with the variables of time and a more active youth culture, they created a decade of pessimism and change. For the first time since its inception in 1954, comic book writers began publishing without the Comic’s Code Authority stamp of approval established in 1954, starting with an issue of Amazing Spider-Man that illustrated the drug use (and the resultant consequences). Green Lantern, the staunch conservative, would find himself confronting problems of race and corruption, realizing that crime is more complex than simple black and white (or perhaps green and orange, for him): “I been readin’ about you,” an African American man says to Green Lantern, “How you work for the blue skins. . . . And how on a planet someplace you helped out the orange skins . . . and you done considerable for the purple skins! Only there’s skins you never bothered with--! The black skins!” (qtd. from Johnson 109). At the same time, Captain America foiled an in-government plot to take over the country (the leader, though never revealed is suggested to be a real-life, high-ranking official), and, as a result of his discovery, resigns his title of Captain America and becomes a man without a country. His distrust in government mirrored the nation’s post-Watergate.
  • 1980-1989—The era of Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen witnessed yet another change in the superhero—a turn for the conservative. The relation of one to one’s government became a point of interest for superheroes and Americans alike, especially during the Reagan years. Superheroes became violent vigilantes, epitomized perhaps by Frank Miller’s Batman, Wolverine, and Daredevil stories, as they distrusted big government and began to see society as little more than a cesspool of criminality.  Individualism was championed above anything else.
  • 1990-1999—In the years following the Soviet Union’s collapse, superhero comics went through a great trial-and-error phase. Not really sure of how to act without their “supervillian,” Marvel and DC experimented with ways to keep up readership. Superman was “killed,” Peter Parker was replaced by his clone Ben Reilly, and Bane broke the Bat. Marvel and DC even joined forces for a limited run to see if they could attract more readers. Nothing stuck, and soon things went back to normal before the new millennium. Likewise, Johnson argues, the 90’s in America also represented a time with little direction. After the liberal and conservative phases of the previous 40 years, an answer had not been reached, and Americans entered the 21st Century still figuring things out.
  •  2000-2009—September 11, 2001, changed everything for America. Fear and uncertainty defined the social milieu for many, including superheroes. Many of the larger events like Marvel’s Civil War, Avengers Dissembled, and the Skrull invasion forced readers and characters alike to question their friends and the stability of the established norm. DC’s Final Crises took an extra step and posed the question “What if the bad guys won—like actually won?” Stripped of their birthright to victory, superheroes had to face the reality of losing, which reflected the American fear of no longer being the “best” or invulnerable. Without the established moral structure provided by the Cold War, notions of right and wrong came into question, and America has, perhaps, become a house divided as a result. [Side note: Marvel’s post-2009 maxi-series Avengers Vs. X-Men certainly continues this theme]
Certainly, as Johnson has demonstrated, Superheroes have effectively chronicled the changing ideologies and cultural movements in America over the past 70 years. They reflect not only our values, but our fears and anxieties as well, and they certainly had a didactic effect on youthful readers, as was sometimes even intended. So are superheroes a mythology?

Well, I have no idea, for, sadly, I have yet to discover the Holy Grail of mythology definitions (see what I did there?). My readings from Joseph Campbell, one of the most well-known students of comparative mythology, have produced mixed results. On one hand he suggests that anyone or thing who “becomes a model for other people’s lives . . . has moved into the sphere of being mythologized” (15), and that “myths offer life models . . . [b]ut the models have to be appropriate to the time in which people are living” (13). By these definitions, superheroes could very well be considered a mythology, I think. He even concedes that Star Wars could be a form of modern myth. But them, on the other hand, much of what Campbell discusses concerns religious mythology, origin stories, and transcendence. Surely superheroes do not meet these criteria—but then again, neither does Star Wars.

So, as of now, the mythological status of superheroes remains unknown. Perhaps the fruit of this project will entail the development of a model by which mythologies can be organized by their differing characteristics and functions. Then my job will be less akin to approving or denying superheroes mythological membership, but rather choosing what level of membership they deserve.

Works Cited

Campbell, Joseph, and Bill D. Moyers. The Power of Myth. New York: Doubleday, 1988. Print.

Johnson, Jeffrey K. Super-History: Comic Book Superheroes and American Society, 1938 to the     Present. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012. Print.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Cold War Creations: Characters as Nuclear Fallout

Mythologies, one may argue, are both timeless and era-dependent. While inspecting more eternal issues of the human condition, they also reflect those times in which they are crafted, much like artifacts from a bygone people.

Again, while I’m not yet prepared to declare the superhero tradition a formal mythology, the history of these characters undoubtedly function as a timeline of social ideologies and anxieties. One of the more salient eras in American history that showed itself in superhero comics was the “nuclear” era.

The Joker’s words to Batman in 2008’s The Dark Knight very much apply to the US after the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: “[T]here’s no going back. You've changed things. Forever.” Indeed, the world would forever be a different place after man weaponized the atom, and during the Cold War, that newly-discovered ability would produce an unprecedented atmosphere of tension and paranoia. Epitomizing perhaps during the Cuban Missile crisis, the tension that resulted from the two superpowers (pun not intended) attempting to outdo one another for nuclear superiority found itself characterized in the superhero comics of the 60’s.

As historian Jeffery K. Johnson, author of Super-History: Comic Book Superheroes and American Society, stated, the still-popular Marvel Comics characters that emerged during those years reflected well the broad spectrum of contemporary societal concerns related to the atomic age. The Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Daredevil, and, yes, the iconic Spider-Man not only received their powers from the very-real and even believable nuclear science of that day, but, more importantly, their stories also expressed American society’s concerns about such science.

The Incredible Hulk is perhaps the most interesting of these characters in terms of the character’s commentaries on nuclear science. First depicted in Incredible Hulk #1, published on May 10, 1962, the Hulk was the product of scientist Bruce Banner’s failed attempt to harness nuclear energy in the form of gamma radiation. While usually discussed as an exploration into warring components of the human psyche, the resulting Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde monster characterized the ambivalence of nuclear energy. Indeed, the question posed on the cover of issue #1 encapsulated this dichotomy: “Is he man or monster or…is he both?”

While the Hulk occasionally functions as a hero, showcasing the potential benefits of nuclear science, the narrative adds a very important question: “at what cost?” When Dr. Banner becomes angry, the ever-present variable of control becomes an issue. Without control, the Hulk fulfills his “monster” label, often destroying any walls or military units foolish enough to get in his way. In later stories, such as Mark Millar’s first volume of The Ultimates, Dr. Banner’s angry alter ego lays waist to New York City on a 9-11 scale. This character has always forced readers to question the precarious balance of risk and reward when it comes to nuclear science and attempting to control the monsters that result. Bruce Banner’s simple warning to General Ross prior to the initial Gamma Bomb test rings a warning even now: “We are tampering with powerful forces!”

But Banner’s inner struggle to control the Hulk is not the only component of his story that addresses the tension of the 1960’s. General “Thunderbolt” Ross’ mad quest to kill or control the Hulk could be read as the military’s constant desire to harness nuclear powers for military purposes. Surely this would have been an apparent theme to those experiencing the tit-for-tat military escalation of nuclear weapons between the US and the Soviet Union.

Like it or not, nuclear power had arrived, with its positives and Hulk-like negatives, and as another 60’s superhero from Marvel Comics would learn, great power comes with great responsibility. This famous motto of Spider-Man yields, in my opinion, more payoffs when examined on a personal level, but Jeffery K. Johnson argues that Spider-Man’s efforts to save the city despite his many personal problems mirrors the US’s struggle against the U.S.S.R. After positing that many Americans saw the US as a superhero of sorts and the U.S.S.R. as the supervillain, Johnson claims that the US’s efforts to contain communism and the influence of the U.S.S.R. resulted from a sense responsibility to do so.

“[T]he U.S. . . . was willing to take on this burden for the planet’s good. Much like spider-Man’s personal torment, the U.S. suffered many domestic nuclear problems. The nation had little choice though, because to not use nuclear weapons as a deterrent against the U.S.S.R. would mean letting the supervillian win. . . . The U.S. had the power to protect the world and thus had to accept the responsibility and the consequences” (Johnson 63).

While this is only one possible reading of these stories and characters, it does, I think, evince the proposition that superheroes act as mythology due to their ability to reflect and record societal concerns and changes. These marvel heroes of the 60’s not only originated from the now-plausible and ever-dangerous realm of nuclear science, but their stories encapsulated the societal anxieties and thoughts concerning this nuclear power.

Of course, this position begs a follow-up question: if superheroes are functioning as a modern mythology, what are current superhero stories reflecting about our cultural anxieties or social problems? If I may, the answer may rest in this new-found focus on realism and the need to be plausible (thanks, science). There currently exists an undeniable phenomenon is comics that I have deemed the Nolan Effect, a focus on making characters and their appearances realistic. Superheroes once known for their spandex are now clad in armor—why?  Because plausible-realism is in demand, but more on this at another time. 

Johnson, Jeffrey K. Super-History: Comic Book Superheroes and American Society, 1938 to the     Present. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012. Print.

The Dark Knight. Dir. Christopher Nolan. Warner Home Video, 2008. DVD.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thoughts on Superman: Earth One

Despite the pending status of my formal mythology education, one of the more salient features of any myth tradition, to me, seems to be revisability. In order for a culture to make use of a myth, that myth must be able to adapt to the culture's changes over time. In effect, old stories have to be updated. Mind you, I don’t consider this revisability to be a function or defining aspect to mythology; it is more of a superficial component that allows mythologies to function. But more on that later.

Now, if one there is one that word Microsoft Word does not consider a word that applies to the superhero genre, revisability (seriously, MCW does not accept revisability as a real word), I think, is that word. Take for example the recent update to Tony Stark's origin: though in his 1963 debut the events that led to his capture and later creating the Iron Man suit occurred in Vietnam, Warren Ellis's Iron Man: Extremis and the blockbuster film Iron Man place Shell-head's formation in the Middle East. Revisability.

Not only do superheroes change over time as they pass from one writer to the next, but every so often these heroes undergo rather substantive overhauls or alternative explorations. If I may use some genre vernacular, these overhauls or alternatives (consider especially Marvel's Ultimate universe and DC's New 52) usually involve origin stories, the tales that explain both how and why--the latter usually being the more interesting--a superhero comes to be. 
Many of the recent superhero films act as re-tellings of our favorite heroes beginnings (or re-beginnings, if we're discussing the recent reboots of Batman, Spidey, and the Man of Steel). Of course, this makes perfect sense since the filmmakers are introducing these characters to a much broader audience than they may have had on the page or TV; however, these re-tellings also act simultaneously as updates to these heroes' origins. The simple fact is that we love origin stories—en medias res has little narratological standing in this realm.

Into this arena enter J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis’ Superman: Earth One, the beautiful, stand-alone 2010 graphic novel that retold the superman origin.

In this story, an already mature Clark Kent (I’m just going to assume that if you’re reading this blog, you know who Mr. Kent is), moves to Metropolis seeking employment and, more importantly, purpose. Upon informing her that he doesn't know how long he’ll be staying or what he will do, Clark’s new landlady tells him, “Well, you gotta decide what you want to do with your life, other people can’t do it for you.”

By now, Clark’s adoptive father Jonathan Kent has already passed away, leaving Clark to care for his adoptive mother Martha, so Clark seeks only the best, most top-paying jobs in the city. He almost instantly wins a contract to play for the Metropolis football team and later scores an R&D gig at a Metropolis think-tank after offering them a key equation necessary to obtain electricity from salt-water, among other jobs. He tells Martha that he can make enough money to set her up for several life-times, but she instructs him to follow his own dream.

 “Besides,” she adds as Clark looks in his closet at a blue shirt with the corner of a yellow and red crest showing, “If we make this about what I want, well—I want the same thing Jonathan wanted.”

This sentiment is repeated throughout the narrative as Clark struggles to find a career meritorious of his devotion while attempting to reconcile his desire to be happy and comfortable with his need to help people. He is trying to justify not doing…something. Later, when Clark visit’s Jonathan Kent’s grave, he says that he knows what his parents want him to be, but he just can’t do it. Whereas he once struggled to fit in, he says, he knows now how to hide his abilities. He can have relationships and make money (for the sake of supporting his mother, of course) and be happy.

“If I expose myself to the world,” he says, “if I show them what I can do…I’ll never fit in. . . . I’ll be all alone. Worse still, I’ll have made the choice to be alone. I couldn't make that choice before, but I can now. And I choose to be happy…to have a life. And isn't that what you wanted most? For me to be happy?”

But he knows his father expected more, and he assures his father’s grave that he can still help people within the confines of a normal life. “I can find cures…expose corruption…give the average guy a leg up when the world wants to crush him. . . . I won’t disappoint you, dad. I swear it.” Of course he says this while hovering next to the tombstone, obviously with the potential for far more than normalcy.

However, though Clark would prefer to help the world as a member of the world, events soon unfold that force the young Kryptonian to embrace both his identity and a purpose. After his alien (yes, the extraterrestrial variety) ships take strategic positions across the globe Independence Day style, the mother-ship conveniently parked directly over Metropolis, a white-faced villain named Tyrell (perhaps a Shakespearian connection?) announces that his forces have come to earth seeking a certain surviving Kryptonian.

“If he is here, I will continue the attack until he is provoked into revealing himself. If it turns out he is not here, then I’ll leave your world and try elsewhere. But only after several million of you are dead, so that I will know that I have done everything possible to provoke a response. . . . To my target, if you are listening, those are the terms. Reveal yourself and surrender, or watch your world die around you.”

Sound familiar? Check out this trailer for the Man of Steel film

Ultimately, Clark’s choice is stripped away. Either he reveals himself, risking death, or he allows millions of the people he vowed to somehow help perish because of him. Gone is the possibility of him fitting into the world in which he lives without feeling tremendous guilt.

“I hope you can manage your own way without revealing yourself Clark,” Jonathan Kent says in a flashback, “But you there are things you can do that nobody else can. Important things. Things that can mean the difference between life and death for a whole lot of people. I came up believing that sometimes we all have to serve something bigger than ourselves. We don’t want to do it, we’d give anything not to have to do it…but we square our shoulders and we get it done.”

But with the extinction of one choice, another takes its place. Clark Kent must act, but how? Does he simply surrender himself? Does he try to fight without being seen? Or does he embrace the superhero persona his parents envisioned? To, as Tyrell says when he finds Clark at last, “stand revealed in all our power.”

Of course, after another brief flashback explaining how and why Martha Kent created the suit, Clark Kent becomes the iconic Superman and launches his assault of earth’s attackers.

“When we say ‘I won’t take this anymore,’” Clark, while trapped beneath Tyrell’s ship, recalls his father saying, “that’s when we know who we are and what we’ll tolerate. Until we’re tested, we don’t know those things. That’s when we wake up. That’s when people know who we are. That’s when people show up and take your side.”  

And thus a hero is born. After some clever maneuvers, several hurricanes’ worth of damage to the city, and much exposition from Tyrell about the destruction of Krypton, Superman finally defeats his enemy. The earth is safe, for now, and Clark, after witnessing the heroism of a couple Daily planet journalists, now knows exactly what career he wants to pursue as the boy from Smallville, Kansas. He finds the job fairly easy to land since he gave himself the only exclusive interview with earth’s newest champion.

The ultimate theme of this story, I think, is identity. While accompanied by some very clever explorations of Krypton and a great subplot about journalism, the entire narrative hinges on Clark’s discovering, accepting, and embracing who he is and who he can be. It’s about embracing one’s differences, and it very much has a “with great power comes great responsibility,” tone to it, which makes complete sense considering Straczynski wrote Marvel's Amazing Spider-Man from 2001 to 2007.  

As a college senior still unsure of what I want to do after graduation, this narrative certainly resonated with me. How does one balance the desire to follow a calling or, forgive the cliché, make the world a better place with the need to live happily with a house, a family, and Saturday barbecues  Clark has accepted his identity as a superhero and a journalist, but I think this is a question that will be further explored in following volumes of this can’t-miss series. Just because a decision has been reached doesn't mean that decision can’t be doubted.

Perhaps this combination of the superhero with real-life struggles is another part of what may allow to superheroes into the hall of mythology. Joseph Campbell says, “When a person becomes a model for people’s lives, he has moved into the sphere of being mythologized” (15). One could make the argument that since Clark’s struggles with identity and purpose mirror so many of our own, his story could identify as a “model” for reference. But, again, more on this later.

What I would like draw special attention to is how this recent revision of the Superman origin story relates to the original 1938 comic by the character’s creators Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster. While this new story strays considerably from the original vision, it may surprise some that it also brings the character back to his roots.
First, I posit to you that the entirety of Superman: Earth One, and every other Superman origin story for that matter, is simply an elaboration of the first Superman comic page found in Action Comics #1. In a single page, the authors breakdown the character's essentials: saved from his planet’s destruction by being launched to earth where his advanced “physical structure” would allow him heightened strength, speed, and invulnerability, Clark Kent became Superman and dedicated his life and powers to helping those in need. Because some editors at DC Comics thought the story may be TOO fantastical to catch on, the authors included a lovely “Scientific Explanation of Clark Kent’s Amazing Strength,” which consisted simply of ants lifting more than their own weight and a cricket leaping a relatively massive distance.

Superman’s mission statement, however, is what interests us now: “Early, Clark decided he must turn his titanic strength into channels that would benefit mankind. And so was created SUPERMAN! Champion of the oppressed, the physical marvel who had sworn to devote his existence to those in need.” Indeed, Earth One, is simply a story about how and why Clark came to dedicating his life to helping the helpless. One could say that, concerning this topic at least, Earth One is more elaboration than revision.

Now, while this story may be an elaboration of Superman’s origin, Earth One still takes the character places the 1938 character would never know, but, oddly enough, it also brings the character back to his original form with one subtle distinction.

If I were to ask fans of the character what Superman fights for, most would respond with three simple nouns: truth, justice, and the American way. However, these words were not associated with the Superman of the late 1930’s. That character fought solely for the downtrodden. Remember, this time in American history was characterized by economic depression and rumors of war, so their hero represented the people’s will to cure the social ills that plagued them daily: corruption, corporate greed, robbery, abuse, and so on.

“[T]he 1930’s Superman’s purpose was to fight against problems and help average people,” says historian Jeffery K. Johnston in Super-History: Comic Book Superheroes and American Society. “Look at the first story’s villains: a sheltered and misguided state official, a domestic abuser, several smart-mouthed mobsters, a lobbyist, and a corrupt federal politician. These are hardly the world-conquering madmen that would later be comic book staples, but that is Siegal and Shuster’s intention” (15-16).

Of course, in order to do this, Superman had to work outside the law, outside the system that had thus far failed those to whom he now devoted himself. He represented the voice of the people, not the establishment.
The Superman of Earth One shares a similar sentiment. Nowhere in the novel does Clark mention fighting for the American way. What he does seek, however, is truth, and he is not alone in that pursuit. When Tyrell attacks Metropolis, only Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane and photo journalist Jimmy Olsen run towards the action.

When Tyrell, wondering if such courage could mean he had discovered at long last his missing Kryptonian, Jimmy replies, “No—we stay and we die for the truth. Because that’s the only thing worth dying for.” Unconvinced, Tyrell moves to smash Olsen, but Clark crushes the robot just in time. “That’s the other reason you stay,” Olsen says to himself. “Because the truth kicks serious ass.” Later, it’s his desire for truth that leads Clark to settle on being a journalist for the Daily Planet.

In the interview between Clark and Superman included at the end of the novel, Clark declares that while he loves his home country, he does not belong to it. “I was raised in this country. I believe in this country. Does it have its flaws? Yes. Does it have its moments of greatness? Yes. . . . But if I do what I do just for the U.S., it’s going to destabilize the whole world. It could even lead to war. So I’m here to do what I can, whether that’s in the U.S. or elsewhere. But I can never get involved with politics or policy. . . . [I]f I start down that road, then I can’t serve humanity as a whole, which is what I feel I’m here to do.”

Of course, though combating Tyrell and his alien invasion force is a far cry away from correcting corrupt officials and thugs, this Superman’s adherence to objectivity and truth ties him back to his 1938 ancestor. While it could be said that “the American way” does not necessarily mean American interests, but rather the ideals upon which this nation was founded, even that is too narrow a scope for the Man of Steel who simply desires to help all people in need for any reason.

Well that’s all I have for today. Check out Superman: Earth One, don’t forget to go see the new Man of Steel film releasing tonight, and check back soon for more superhero stuff—I’ll be doing a similar analysis of Geoff John’s Batman: Earth One


Campbell, Joseph, and Bill D. Moyers. The Power of Myth. New York: Doubleday, 1988. Print.
Johnson, Jeffrey K. Super-History: Comic Book Superheroes and American Society, 1938 to the     Present. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012. Print.
Straczynski, J. Micheal. Superman: Earth One. New York: DC Comics, 2010. Print.