Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Chabon on Superhero costumes

If you haven't ever read any Michael Chabon, I suggest it for some interesting summer reading. In particular, I suggest pairing "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" with a book NOT by Chabon, Men of Tomorrow, Gerard Jones's look at the growth of the superhero comic. And a cautionary tale which many/ most comic creators don't ever learn to take to heart.

But that's for another day. Today, for some light reading, I suggest Chabon's article in The New Yorker.

Chabon on Superhero costumes.


J.S. said...

Kind of a strange article. Not sure I really grapsed all that he was trying to say, except that comic fans really shouldn't dress in these outfits because they really don't translate to real life (according to Chabon, they're just representations of the human form and symbols of transformation). Anyway, there was a bit of overly complex writing in there (his ideas don't seem to be that complicated, but he seems to talk around them instead of discussing the ideas directly)- but then again, I guess that's stock and trade for The New Yorker.

The League said...

I think that may have been my biggest complain t about Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Especially in the first third of the book.

I do think he's mostly interested in the transformative effect of the costume, paired with the symbology worn on the chest of most characters (depending on which mythos you buy into).

I posted this somewhat in response to the "Confessions of a Superhero" post, and someone who understood the costumes versus the film's producers, who I felt did not. Also, in response to you suggestion that someone needs to put together a doc on well-adjusted adults who still enjoy the superhero medium. to me, Chabon is the posterboy for that comic enthusiast.

Also, yes, 99% of the costumes are lame.