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Note: the About Comics edition of Superfolks is now out of print. However, copies may remain available at the retail level. Ask for it at your local comic book store.
SUPERFOLKS: THE NOVEL THAT CHANGED COMICS
About Comics brings influential superhero novel back into print
Superfolks, the prose novel that was an influential precursor to the sort of non-traditional view of superheroes seen in comics like Watchmen and Astro City, is being brought back into print for the first time in decades. This new limited edition, announced by About Comics at Comic-Con International San Diego, features a new introduction and a new cover drawn by Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons.
This 1977 novel by Robert Mayer tells the tale of the last survivor of the planet Cronk, the greatest superhero of his time. However, the time of superheroes has passed, and he has retired from action. When a world crisis causes him to dig out his old and ill-fitting costume one more time, he is split between the exciting world of adventure and the middle-class and middle-aged suburban existence he has settled into. Can he ferret out the identity of the dark master behind the crisis while dealing with his own confusions and lusts?
Grant Morrison calls the book “visionary” and Kurt Busiek admits that “without Superfolks, I doubt there’d ever have been an Astro City,” and yet there is more to this novel than just a fresh view of superheroes. It is a satiric comedy, raucous and politically incorrect, and yet it’s a thoughtful look at the compromises that come with middle age. The New York Post called it “a hilarious thriller”, and Newsday gushed “It is gorgeous. It is splendid. It is funny as hell. He writes like an angel.”
“I’d been hearing about Superfolks for years,” explains Nat Gertler, head honcho at About Comics. “But when I finally dug up a copy and read it, it wasn’t just entertaining, it was a revelation. Here’s a novelist that was pushing the superhero form in ways that comic books never had. When word got out that I had a copy, I had various people in the comics business asking to borrow my copy. The novel is hard to find in the used book market, and when you do find it the price is often over $100. A good book, an important book, and one that’s in demand – as a publisher, I couldn’t ask for anything more. Unfortunately, I could only get the rights for a limited edition, so we’re releasing only 2000 copies, and those are earmarked exclusively to direct market comics shops.”
Author Robert Mayer is a former journalist and won the National Headliner Award as the U.S.’s most outstanding feature columnist. His non-fiction Notes of a Baseball Dreamer: A Memoir has recently been reissued by Houghton Mifflin.
Superfolks will be released this December. This 175 page trade paperback with an original Dave Gibbons-drawn cover will be offered through Diamond Comics Distributors, FM International, and Cold Cut, with a retail price of $19.95.