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The Superhero Reader$
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Charles Hatfield, Jeet Heer, and Kent Worcester

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781617038068

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617038068.001.0001

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date: 15 December 2017

Men of Tomorrow

Men of Tomorrow

Chapter:
(p.16) Men of Tomorrow
Source:
The Superhero Reader
Author(s):

Gerard Jones

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781617038068.003.0002

This chapter presents an excerpt from Gerard Jones’ book, Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters and the Birth of the Comic Book (2005), which details the fact that, as science fiction fans, Siegel and Shuster were much taken with Philip Wylie’s novel Gladiator (1930)—one of many early twentieth-century cultural expressions of the idea of the superman. Wylie, however, had a sour and satirical take on the idea of the superior being. He posited that any superior being would be thwarted and defeated by the powerful forces of mass stupidity and venality. If Siegel and Shuster borrowed key ideas from Gladiator, they also transformed those concepts in significant ways, creating a character that embodied a much more positive view of human possibilities.

Keywords:   Philip Wylie, Gladiator, science fiction, superman, superheroes

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