The Nerd Journals

Filling up journals as proof of my meager existence.

The Psychology of Superheroes

3/5 stars

I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for a review.

This book is a collection of essays regarding the psychology of superheroes, villains and comic book worlds (Bizzaro, Arkham Asylum, Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters, etc). Because of the book is a collection by different authors, a lot of the articles seemed to be hit or miss. The good articles are extremely fascinating and well written and the bad ones, while not uninteresting or poorly written are less about comics and more about the author’s primary research rewritten to fit the topic to plug the author’s other works. Some of the authors were familiar with only the superheroes from movies and TV and not the comics at all.

While it seemed that all facts were sourced, a couple of authors sourced Wikipedia for information- which would have been acceptable for just Marvel & DC information, but one author I noticed sourced Wikipedia for information about Umberto Eco which I felt was unprofessional- students aren’t even allowed to sourced Wikipedia in school essays.

I did enjoy this book as an admirer of some comic superheroes and someone with a mild interest in psychology. I think this book would be great for anyone more interested in psychology or comics than me. It’s not too deep and fairly easy and quick to read though I would recommend reading it over time instead of quickly like I did. My favorite passages include Positive Psychology of Peter Parker, Prejudice Lessons from The Xavier Institute and Mind-Reading Superheroes: Fiction and Fact.

I hope that my point is clear. For me, science doesn’t spoil the wonder of mind reading: it deepens and enhances it.

– Dr. William J. Ickles from Mind-Reading Superheroes: Fiction and Fact

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