Superhero Saturday

The Superhero Genre as Modern Urban Fantasy

Random thoughts I had one morning as a I dazedly rode the bus to school:

When I lived in the country I had more propensity to dream about D&D-type fantasy (forests and rivers and castles and caves)... In the city that doesn't happen so much any more, if ever... But I can see, traveling around New York, Brooklyn, working near Brighton Beach, as the original NYC-based creators did (Eisner, Kane, Kirby, Lee, etc.), peering around and wanting to infuse fantasy into the modern cars, trucks, sidewalks, skyscrapers, bridges, subways, planes, etc., that they saw. Not classical fantasy, but a work that necessitates something different; fundamentally modern and urban (specifically New York-based).


  1. Yeah, I've been thinking about superheroes in much the same way. Superheroes are a way of infusing urban landscapes with magic.

  2. As I said to you on my epic trip to NYC last year, I think one of Lee & Kirby's masterstrokes was taking super heroes and making them New Yorkers.

    This is similar, in my mind, to Tolkien's innovation of taking mythological creatures like elves and dwarves and making them peoples with a history and culture, instead of just spirits who dwell in forsaken places.

  3. Totally agree! Some days I feel like they're nearly all around me here. :-)

  4. Different for me, I see it all in ruins and wander - in my mind - through post-apocalyptic ruins. A scavenger in the remains.

    Aftermath, Morrow Project, Twilight 2000, even Gamma World and it's retro clones do the trick.

  5. Of course -- You're always really just one good superhero fight away from any city being a post-apocalyptic ruin. :-)