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Look, up in the sky! It's a bee! It's a clown! It's...a giant eyeball? You know about Batman, Superman, and Spiderman, but have you heard of Doll Man, Doctor Hormone, or Spider Queen? In The League of Regrettable Superheroes, you’ll meet one hundred of the strangest superheroes ever to see print, complete with backstories, vintage art, and colorful commentary. So prepare y Look, up in the sky! It's a bee! It's a clown! It's...a giant eyeball? You know about Batman, Superman, and Spiderman, but have you heard of Doll Man, Doctor Hormone, or Spider Queen? In The League of Regrettable Superheroes, you’ll meet one hundred of the strangest superheroes ever to see print, complete with backstories, vintage art, and colorful commentary. So prepare yourself for such not-ready-for-prime-time heroes as Bee Man (Batman, but with bees), the Clown (circus-themed crimebuster), the Eye (a giant, floating eyeball; just accept it), and many other oddballs and oddities. Drawing on the entire history of the medium, The League of Regrettable Superheroes will appeal to die-hard comics fans, casual comics readers, and anyone who enjoys peering into the stranger corners of pop culture.


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Look, up in the sky! It's a bee! It's a clown! It's...a giant eyeball? You know about Batman, Superman, and Spiderman, but have you heard of Doll Man, Doctor Hormone, or Spider Queen? In The League of Regrettable Superheroes, you’ll meet one hundred of the strangest superheroes ever to see print, complete with backstories, vintage art, and colorful commentary. So prepare y Look, up in the sky! It's a bee! It's a clown! It's...a giant eyeball? You know about Batman, Superman, and Spiderman, but have you heard of Doll Man, Doctor Hormone, or Spider Queen? In The League of Regrettable Superheroes, you’ll meet one hundred of the strangest superheroes ever to see print, complete with backstories, vintage art, and colorful commentary. So prepare yourself for such not-ready-for-prime-time heroes as Bee Man (Batman, but with bees), the Clown (circus-themed crimebuster), the Eye (a giant, floating eyeball; just accept it), and many other oddballs and oddities. Drawing on the entire history of the medium, The League of Regrettable Superheroes will appeal to die-hard comics fans, casual comics readers, and anyone who enjoys peering into the stranger corners of pop culture.

30 review for The League of Regrettable Superheroes: Half-Baked Heroes from Comic Book History

  1. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    The July 2015 "Heroes 2" themed Loot Crate had this little gem inside, and it did not disappoint.letely worth the money. The July 2015 "Heroes 2" themed Loot Crate had this little gem inside, and it did not disappoint.letely worth the money.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jill Hutchinson

    In the past few years, the great superheroes of the comic age have been brought to the screen for a whole new generation who may not know that some have been around 80 years. But you will never see any of the heroes in this book on film. During the Golden and Silver Age of comics (1938-1948 and 1950-1969) the comic industry was running out of ideas for names, superpowers and costumes for new characters and they are all here is this hilarious history of forgotten heroes. First, a few of the names In the past few years, the great superheroes of the comic age have been brought to the screen for a whole new generation who may not know that some have been around 80 years. But you will never see any of the heroes in this book on film. During the Golden and Silver Age of comics (1938-1948 and 1950-1969) the comic industry was running out of ideas for names, superpowers and costumes for new characters and they are all here is this hilarious history of forgotten heroes. First, a few of the names: The Black Dwarf, Captain Tootsie, Doll Man, Kangaroo Man, Mother Hubbard, Music Master, etc. Next, a few of the superpowers: None, atomic power, sarcasm, hormone bombs, separating their body parts, turning to smoke, using music as a force field, wearing his dead mother's scarf as a blindfold(!), etc. Lastly, a few of costumes: a gaucho hat and black robes, a purple toga and sandals, a clown outfit, dressed like someone's grandmother, an outfit that looks like a doorman's uniform, a fur lined helmet and boots ,etc. It's pretty easy to see why these characters never caught on. The book made me laugh all the way through and I have found a forgotten superhero who is now my favorite.......Dr. Hormone!!!!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Gerhard

    In a chapter about ‘regrettable X-Men’ characters that are unlikely to make the Big Screen, Jon Morris highlights the brief stars of Maggott, Marrow, Longneck, Rubbermaid … and Snot. The latter has the ability “to fire overwhelming volumes of mucus from his nose with immense velocity.” DC Comics’ New Guardian Millennium series featured characters such as Extraño, “a flamboyant, gaudy sorcerer dressed in Liberace’s hand-me-downs and allegedly comics’ first ‘openly’ homosexual character.” And then t In a chapter about ‘regrettable X-Men’ characters that are unlikely to make the Big Screen, Jon Morris highlights the brief stars of Maggott, Marrow, Longneck, Rubbermaid … and Snot. The latter has the ability “to fire overwhelming volumes of mucus from his nose with immense velocity.” DC Comics’ New Guardian Millennium series featured characters such as Extraño, “a flamboyant, gaudy sorcerer dressed in Liberace’s hand-me-downs and allegedly comics’ first ‘openly’ homosexual character.” And then there was (the past tense is important) Janwillem Kroef, “a white South African who was so disgusted with his team’s multiculturalism that he dashed off to found a white supremacist movement.” As these few examples reveal, Jon Morris has compiled a cornucopia of the weird and wonderful. He treads a fine line between mockery and outright ridicule versus reverence and nostalgia. What does come through is a lifelong love of the form, the artists, writers and publishers that has sustained its craziness for such a long time, and of course the vast range of superheroes, which is a pantheon all unto itself. For every Superman, there is a … Thunderbunny!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Phrodrick

    So there I am minding myown business when this floating Eye pops into my otherwise darkened room and starts spouting off about evil and what I must do about it. Rather than try to figure out how a floating eye can spout-off , other than by crying, I grabbed up my handy copy of Jon Morris’ The League of Regrettable Superhero’s and turning to page 27 and showed him<?> her<?> that it was an out of print retired superhero and therefore out of its jurisdiction or publication date or something. I did So there I am minding myown business when this floating Eye pops into my otherwise darkened room and starts spouting off about evil and what I must do about it. Rather than try to figure out how a floating eye can spout-off , other than by crying, I grabbed up my handy copy of Jon Morris’ The League of Regrettable Superhero’s and turning to page 27 and showed him<?> her<?> that it was an out of print retired superhero and therefore out of its jurisdiction or publication date or something. I did suggest that maybe Batman or Captain America could act on his, its? Info but you have not been given the hairy eye until you get it from a giant unemployed floating eye. This book is proof that one can do the history of the odd ball, um eyeball topics with both a sense of humor and not needing to go over the top. Here you can find several of the claimants for the title of first female superhero. Fatomah of the Jungle seems to be Morris’ candidate. A beautiful woman when at peace but a serious nightmare when in battle mode. (Page 28). We have several Captain Marvel’s and a Fab Four all predating the late Stan Lee and the Marvel Comic Multiverse. Dynamite Thor the power to (Obviously!), blow things up. Dr. Vampire predates the Rice books as death eater turned hero. And Doll Man has the power, but not the economic staying power of Antman. There is the parade of creepy notions. Dr. Hormone who was ..hormonal and the one who kind of needed some more thought. An ex Greek god, finely muscled in a short Greek tunic on a cover signed; Your favorite Pin up and an on-going offer to young male readers to send in their names and addresses and descriptions of themselves so that they can be drawn into a future edition as a guest hero. Meet The Bouncer. Is it too Freudian to mention one of the villains was The Glow Worm? Not sophisticated or creepy enough there was the cross dressing; Mother Hubbard, and the not to be fat-shamed. Fat Man Who turns into a flying saucer. In recent times, Thunderbunny, who gets his super-powers only in his supersuit that turns him into , well you know, (Hint Bugs would approve). image: mage: All of these would be ten cent crime fighters and all told with just enough tongue in cheek and serious historiography . Over all a fun read. With so much blank space a slightly larger font would have made it an easier read. But wait there’s more! The League of Regrettable Superheroes is one of a set of several similarly named books that also save the memory of the regrettable Side Kicks and Villains.

  5. 5 out of 5

    ALLEN

    Say hello to Derivative Man and Trite Woman! This handsome, colorful and well-researched book will be fun for anyone who knows much of anything about comic-book superheroes, and should especially charm deep-dish devotees of the genre. THE LEAGUE OF REGRETTABLE SUPERHEROES is helpfully -- and accurately -- arranged into Gold, Silver and Modern eras, and the contents aren't made-up parodies, either. Instead, what's profiled here (described with a nice fusion of sympathy and acid by author Jon Morr Say hello to Derivative Man and Trite Woman! This handsome, colorful and well-researched book will be fun for anyone who knows much of anything about comic-book superheroes, and should especially charm deep-dish devotees of the genre. THE LEAGUE OF REGRETTABLE SUPERHEROES is helpfully -- and accurately -- arranged into Gold, Silver and Modern eras, and the contents aren't made-up parodies, either. Instead, what's profiled here (described with a nice fusion of sympathy and acid by author Jon Morris) were genuine attempts to cash in on the superhero boom that is much better remembered for genuine classics like Siegel and Schuster's SUPERMAN in the late Thirties. LEAGUE will remind the disillusioned that technique is much more easily taught than genius, but also that the public can spot a turkey a mile away, making these unusual tales wonders for their (usual) lack of success as well as their off-key weirdness. Highly recommended. I do think it's best to buy the hardcover book, which shows these vintage panels in all their punchy, grainy glory.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laney

    The subject matter was kind of interesting but I hated the writing style. The sidebars being full of little unfunny gags was annoying to me. (on the one for Fantomah, "Complexion: Definitely a 'summer,' except when she's transformed her head into a blazing skull") The whole book felt like a printed version of a clickbait article. Instead of this book maybe just find a wikia of the subject matter, that will likely be a lot better than the forced humor this has. The subject matter was kind of interesting but I hated the writing style. The sidebars being full of little unfunny gags was annoying to me. (on the one for Fantomah, "Complexion: Definitely a 'summer,' except when she's transformed her head into a blazing skull") The whole book felt like a printed version of a clickbait article. Instead of this book maybe just find a wikia of the subject matter, that will likely be a lot better than the forced humor this has.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    This Loot Crate version of 'The League of Regrettable Superheroes', about half of the length of the regular version, was a quick and fun read. Covering heroes with names like Rainbow Boy, Speed Centaur, Mother Hubbard, Brother Power the Geek, Bee-Man, Holo-Man, Adam X-the X-Treme, Skateman & Thunderbunny - to name a few - it read like a book version of Mystery Science Theater 3000 as Jon Morris applied the snark in liberal amounts with each entry. This Loot Crate version of 'The League of Regrettable Superheroes', about half of the length of the regular version, was a quick and fun read. Covering heroes with names like Rainbow Boy, Speed Centaur, Mother Hubbard, Brother Power the Geek, Bee-Man, Holo-Man, Adam X-the X-Treme, Skateman & Thunderbunny - to name a few - it read like a book version of Mystery Science Theater 3000 as Jon Morris applied the snark in liberal amounts with each entry.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Misty

    Very quirky and kitschy, put together very nicely. Good humor in the approach, and wealth of knowledge. Video review here. Very quirky and kitschy, put together very nicely. Good humor in the approach, and wealth of knowledge. Video review here.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Boyd

    You ever heard the old saying "Its so bad its good"? Well here is an entire book of really bad Superhero ideas from the Early Golden Age of comics to the Modern Era. Good entertaining read. Some of the concepts for heroes were , well regrettable. Recommended You ever heard the old saying "Its so bad its good"? Well here is an entire book of really bad Superhero ideas from the Early Golden Age of comics to the Modern Era. Good entertaining read. Some of the concepts for heroes were , well regrettable. Recommended

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brian Poole

    The League of Regrettable Superheroes is an entertaining look at some of the odder corners of the comic book world. Writer Jon Morris (proprietor of Gone & Forgotten, a blog that looks at amusingly weird comic book stuff) has combed through the back issue bins (or electronic databases) to turn up some of the more striking examples of bizarre comic book characters. The League of Regrettable Superheroes is divided into three eras (Golden, Silver and Modern Ages) and spotlights some colorful example The League of Regrettable Superheroes is an entertaining look at some of the odder corners of the comic book world. Writer Jon Morris (proprietor of Gone & Forgotten, a blog that looks at amusingly weird comic book stuff) has combed through the back issue bins (or electronic databases) to turn up some of the more striking examples of bizarre comic book characters. The League of Regrettable Superheroes is divided into three eras (Golden, Silver and Modern Ages) and spotlights some colorful examples of each. While many characters spotlighted were misguided or unsuccessful, many have an odd charm. Morris’s intent is to highlight heroes with a bonkers origin, bizarre conception or an approach to their adventures that was not quite sane. Some of these characters have had long runs, some even enduring for decades (Doll Man, Dial “H” for Hero). Some had respectable, popular runs in spite of being oddly conceived (Rom). And still others had their potential realized down the road by writers and artists with a good idea that was well-executed (Kid Eternity, Brother Voodoo, Squirrel Girl). Heck, even the ludicrous Red Bee had one good story in him (as Roy Thomas proved when he unearthed the hero as part of an All-Star Squadron arc). The most interesting characters that Morris highlights fall into some broad groups. There are characters that were ill-considered promotional tie-ins without any redeeming virtues of their own (Captain Tootsie, AAU Shuperstar, NFL Superpro). Others were crass attempts to cash in on a pop culture trend (Brother Power the Geek, Amazing Man). Some fell into recognizable categories, like horror, fantasy or espionage, but either were unoriginal or so baffling that even a genre tag couldn’t explain them. Many were just full-out bananas. Consider: - The Clown: A cop dresses in a garish white and pink clown outfit to chase gangsters. - The Eye: A big, floating eye floats around and scares people. For justice, apparently. - Madam Fatal: A young man dresses up as an old woman to thwart crime. - Music Master: A magic organ gives a musician super powers, one chord progression at a time. - Fatman: A portly guy gains the power to turn into a human flying saucer. - The Sentinels: A trio of folk singers use folk singing as a cover for traveling for superhero action. - Adam-X, “The X-Treme” – Every ‘90s comic book cliché rolled into one unappealing package. Morris has a lot of fun chronicling the bizarre, puzzling and macabre heroes, many from long-forgotten fringe publishers who were desperate to tap a sales trend. His commentary is humorous, but not cruel, and he provides historical details that provide some nice context. The entries for characters are illustrated with original artwork to help readers get the full effect. For the record, while some of these characters were created by writers and artists who rightfully never made a mark on the industry, some well known creators are represented here (some more than once). Jerry Siegal, Joe Shuster, Bill Everett, C.C. Beck, Will Eisner, Gardner Fox, Carl Burgos, Otto Binder, Sheldon Moldoff, George Tuska, Max Gaines, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby are just some of the famous names to turn up in The League of Regrettable Superheroes. And that’s just in the Golden Age section. Numerous other familiar creators get credit (or its opposite) in the later sections. Morris doesn’t intend to shame anyone, though. The book is all in good fun and comes from a genuine love of the often crazy art of making comic books. For fans with a good sense of humor and an appreciation for comic book history, there’s a lot to enjoy in The League of Regrettable Superheroes. A version of this review originally appeared on www.thunderalleybcp.com

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    I had some doubts about buying this book, despite the fact that I knew it would hit a couple of my fanboy buttons, but I'll explain those doubts later. The fanboy buttons being D list super heroes and encyclopedia. Morris wisely elects to divide the book into sections: The Golden Age, The Silver Age and The Modern Age. I think that helps to view some of these C and D list heroes in the light of the time period in which they were created. That's not to excuse some work that is arguably so bad that I had some doubts about buying this book, despite the fact that I knew it would hit a couple of my fanboy buttons, but I'll explain those doubts later. The fanboy buttons being D list super heroes and encyclopedia. Morris wisely elects to divide the book into sections: The Golden Age, The Silver Age and The Modern Age. I think that helps to view some of these C and D list heroes in the light of the time period in which they were created. That's not to excuse some work that is arguably so bad that it is funny, but could you see a 2010s publisher doing a super hero comic where the crime fighter is a clown? And, two of the Golden Age characters were clowns, literally. The Clown is a frustrated police commissioner who decides to re-live his happier days working for the circus as a clown crime fighter. Jerry Siegel, more famous as one-half of the team that created Superman, gives readers Funnyman a comedian who decides to act out in public and uses gags and clown gimmicks to beat on criminals. That's just part of it though, as throughout you see some pretty big missteps by famous comic creators, including Joe Simon, Jack Kirby (together and separately), Siegel and C.C. Beck. Even though I'll admit I don't think the first few issues of Kirby's Captain Victory were that bad, and after reading Simon and Kirby's Vagabond Prince in a collection I found on the cheap, they kind of pulled off the concept of a greeting card writer putting on a crazy costume to fight crime. Moving from the Golden Age to the Silver Age you get Fatman the Human Flying Saucer by Beck, one of the creators of Shazam (aka Captain Marvel). DC probably wins the culture insensitivity award with B'wana Beast, and Magicman arguably wins the worst costume award. Marvel Comics may dominate the sales charts and movie receipts today, but they also dominated The Modern Age for bad characters. And, while Brother Voodoo wins the culture insensitivity award for this section, from the little I've seen of the soon to be re-introduced Red Wolf they are determined to keep a lock on the award. At times the book does go to my theory there are no bad concepts, just bad execution. In the Golden Age there is 711, an unjustly imprisoned man who gets clues from inmates and escapes from prison each night to fight crime. While the prisoner number wouldn’t work today, it’s actually not that bad a concept. Spider Queen was Marvel’s Spider-Woman and Spider-Man about 20 years before either saw print. It’s a bit harder to say this about the characters from the Silver and Modern Age sections (though I think Peacemaker and Phoenix's books are not as bad as Morris does). The doubt I had about the book centers on how much it would be like Morris' site, http://gone-and-forgotten.blogspot.com, and while it is very much like his site I think he uses the space for each entry well and his writing and sense of humor holds up for most of the book. My second doubt was how much material is he saving for the second book, but I enjoyed this volume enough to strongly consider purchasing volume two. Yes, I am presuming there will be a volume two because of the amount of material on his site that is not in the book. Besides they are so many more characters to add that I recall from when I was a kid. Such as Tomboy, Todd Holton, Super Green Beret, Matter-Eater Lad, and we haven’t even touched the issue of comic’s poor portrayal of characters of color (which arguably has continued to today-but we're going a bit off topic here).

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kirsti

    Oh how I laughed at this loving but snarky compendium of failed superheroes. Some lasted only one appearance, while others stuck around for much longer. Apparently there really truly were superheroes with these names: * The Black Dwarf ("Take a bite of knuckle pie!') * The Bouncer ("I bounced the laziness out of your soul!") * Doll Man ("You should know that NO FIST can hold the DOLL MAN!") * The Puppeteer (he got his powers from a magic pipe organ and owns a bald eagle called Raven) * Captain Marvel Oh how I laughed at this loving but snarky compendium of failed superheroes. Some lasted only one appearance, while others stuck around for much longer. Apparently there really truly were superheroes with these names: * The Black Dwarf ("Take a bite of knuckle pie!') * The Bouncer ("I bounced the laziness out of your soul!") * Doll Man ("You should know that NO FIST can hold the DOLL MAN!") * The Puppeteer (he got his powers from a magic pipe organ and owns a bald eagle called Raven) * Captain Marvel (not the famous "Shazam" one, another one whose superpower was making his own limbs and head fall off) * Atom-Jaw * Tinyman * Dr. Fate * King Kandy * The Human Starfish * Mighty Moppet * Fatman the Human Flying Saucer * Bullet the Gun Boy * Manlet the Mighty Mite (he lived on birdseed) * Thermo the Human Inferno (he mostly warmed up coffee and made ice cubes) * Una, Queen of the Love Stare * Super-Chef, the Crime-Fighting Gourmet * Kaput, the Prince of Jinx (his bad luck made bad guys' plans fall apart) * Space Cabbie * Lightning Lady * Paranex the Fighting Fetus * Loose Cannon * Geist the Twilight Man * Purge * Man-Wolf, also known as Stargod ("a white-furred, sword-wielding, wolf-headed superhero decked out in grass-green armor battling nebulous evils in a medieval world inside the moon") * Morlock 2001 ("started life as an eggplant") * Kid Eternity, who got his powers through a clerical error * Glass Lass * The Hemogoblin (a vampire with AIDS) * Snowflame (a super-villain powered by cocaine) This book is riddled with typos, but I give it five stars for the beautiful design and the hilarious descriptions.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    In an era when "geek culture" has become unavoidable, it is refreshing to read a work about the superhero genre which is free of pedantry and smart-ass references to Star Wars. Beneath Morris' snark is a deep knowledge and love for the superhero genre and the comic book medium. Each chronologically arranged entry places the strange creations he describes in context, so that it goes beyond simply being an encyclopedia, but also becomes a lively and readable history of comics. The names of legendar In an era when "geek culture" has become unavoidable, it is refreshing to read a work about the superhero genre which is free of pedantry and smart-ass references to Star Wars. Beneath Morris' snark is a deep knowledge and love for the superhero genre and the comic book medium. Each chronologically arranged entry places the strange creations he describes in context, so that it goes beyond simply being an encyclopedia, but also becomes a lively and readable history of comics. The names of legendary comic book creators like Jack Kirby, Jerry Seigel and Joe Simon make an appearance here. Even the great Will Eisner gets a mention. The characters here range from sincere but poorly handled flights of enthusiastic adolescent fancy like Stardust The Super Wizard to marketing miscalculations like NFL Super-Pro to the truly stupid like Adam-X The X-Treme. Morris expresses some regret that some of these characters proved too ephemeral to ever achieve their potential, while in the case of Squirrel Girl, a superheroine created by Steve Ditko as a one-shot throwaway joke, the character found new life and a cult following under other artists. The book itself is beautiful. As befits the subject, it is packed with full-color illustrations from the comics themselves. Such a well-presented package is a bargain for the $24.95 cover price.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stewart Tame

    "Regrettable, " is not the term I would have chosen for some of these. "Oddball" ... "Eccentric" ... "Curious" ... any of these would be a better fit, though I'll concede that "regrettable" does fit in at least some cases. The book is divided into three sections: Golden Age, Silver Age, and Modern, and, not only are those ordered chronologically, but also in order of descending length. Entries are typically one page of art, usually the cover of the comic book in question, and a paragraph or thre "Regrettable, " is not the term I would have chosen for some of these. "Oddball" ... "Eccentric" ... "Curious" ... any of these would be a better fit, though I'll concede that "regrettable" does fit in at least some cases. The book is divided into three sections: Golden Age, Silver Age, and Modern, and, not only are those ordered chronologically, but also in order of descending length. Entries are typically one page of art, usually the cover of the comic book in question, and a paragraph or three about the hero in question. The original creators are credited, except in cases where they are unknown. I've been a comics reader for a long time, but many of these were new to me. Some entries could have gone into more detail, but overall, I found the book to be interesting, and, ultimately, over much too quickly. Hopefully this does well enough to warrant a sequel.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jon Nakapalau

    If Ed Wood wrote comics...some of these superheroes are so bad they are good for a laugh.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ensiform

    This illustrated guide gives brief outlines of one hundred of the silliest, corniest, most intriguing, most original superhero concepts ever to make it to print. Morris plumbs the four-color annals, from superheroes' inchoate infancy through the '60s, to present characters that prove just how odd comics can be. Some of these characters never made it past one or two appearances, and some have been dusted off and modernized, but they're all rather singular. Meet The Black Dwarf, who wears red and This illustrated guide gives brief outlines of one hundred of the silliest, corniest, most intriguing, most original superhero concepts ever to make it to print. Morris plumbs the four-color annals, from superheroes' inchoate infancy through the '60s, to present characters that prove just how odd comics can be. Some of these characters never made it past one or two appearances, and some have been dusted off and modernized, but they're all rather singular. Meet The Black Dwarf, who wears red and green; the misleadingly-named Dr. Vampire, who hunts vampires; Zippo, who gets around on leg braces with wheels; Madame Fatal, a detective who dresses as an old lady to fight crime; and many more. We can point and laugh at the '40s, but are any of these oddballs any worse than the worst comic crime of the '90s: Adam-X, the X-Treme, an alien who wears a soul patch, a backward baseball cap, and a suit of blades so he can cut people and boil their blood? No. No, they aren't. This is a well-researched and fun book, written with tongue firmly in cheek and a sardonic eye. Sure, it may resemble a collection of ironic blog posts more than a book, but if this is the only way we can save the likes of Speed Centaur (a centaur whose alter ego is a horse disguise!), then I say let Morris be!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tim Schneider

    Fun little book based on a blog this reads a lot like going through a blog post by post. There's certainly nothing terribly insightful here. But that's fine. I largely read this in between Court cases on law & motion days and while waiting for clients at jail visits. For that purpose, the ability to read in tiny parcels it was great. I suppose I could nit-pick...I did see a couple things I didn't think were factually correct (I'm blanking on them now). And I would certainly take umbrage at at le Fun little book based on a blog this reads a lot like going through a blog post by post. There's certainly nothing terribly insightful here. But that's fine. I largely read this in between Court cases on law & motion days and while waiting for clients at jail visits. For that purpose, the ability to read in tiny parcels it was great. I suppose I could nit-pick...I did see a couple things I didn't think were factually correct (I'm blanking on them now). And I would certainly take umbrage at at least some of the heroes the author finds regrettable (Man-Wolf, Brother Voodoo). But all in all an entertaining trifle.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    This is a fun little book that offers short bios of fifty of the least-loved comics heroes of all time. Some of the characters are really bad, in the way of being exceptionally juvenile or silly or simply weird, while some are just obscure, lost, or forgotten. It would be easy to heap ridicule on the subjects, like making fun of the denizens of The Island of Misfit Toys from Rudolph, but the author for the most part stays on the side of good taste and decency. The selected subjects range from 19 This is a fun little book that offers short bios of fifty of the least-loved comics heroes of all time. Some of the characters are really bad, in the way of being exceptionally juvenile or silly or simply weird, while some are just obscure, lost, or forgotten. It would be easy to heap ridicule on the subjects, like making fun of the denizens of The Island of Misfit Toys from Rudolph, but the author for the most part stays on the side of good taste and decency. The selected subjects range from 1939 (The Eye, Speed Centaur, and Doll Man) to 1983 (Skateman and U.S.1.) I was most surprised to read the names of some of the comics legends whose characters inhabited this hall of shame; Robert Kanigher, Will Eisner, Lou Fine, Gardner Fox, Otto Binder, Herb Castle, Gil Kane, Joe Simon, Roger Elwood, C.C. Beck, Dick Giordano, Jerry Siegel, John Buscema, Jim Steranko, Neal Adams, etc. I was also a bit surprised by some of the selections; Doll Man and ROM, Spaceknight were singled out, but not Howard the Duck or (forgive me, True Believers) Deadpool or Gwenpool? C'mon... I did enjoy reading some of the original pages that were included, and there were several characters that I'm sure would be fun to read their full collected adventures, several of which I was previously completely unfamiliar. It was quite interesting from a historical appreciation perspective, and presents the names of former heroes like Spider Queen, The Black Dwarf, Lady Satan, Madam Fatal, Moon Girl, The Bouncer, Fatman, Bee-Man, Brother Power the Geek, Nature Boy, Mr. Muscles, and The Prez to a new generation. And don't forget Doctor Hormone or Thunderbunny.

  19. 4 out of 5

    SmartBitches

    Full review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books I like the holidays, but no matter how excited about them I get, December is still a tricky month. There’s a slew of holidays of both religious and secular varieties, there’s family drama, there’s gift drama, there’s pie drama (The Bitches have forbidden me from baking pie after last year, when I baked one at 4:30AM). It’s a tad stressful. So I dunno about you but reading very short, very silly vignettes during December is about all I can handle, and The Full review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books I like the holidays, but no matter how excited about them I get, December is still a tricky month. There’s a slew of holidays of both religious and secular varieties, there’s family drama, there’s gift drama, there’s pie drama (The Bitches have forbidden me from baking pie after last year, when I baked one at 4:30AM). It’s a tad stressful. So I dunno about you but reading very short, very silly vignettes during December is about all I can handle, and The League of Regrettable Superheroes is PERFECT for this purpose. The League of Regrettable Superheroes is a collection of some of the weirder superheroes in comics’ history. My biggest quibble with the book is the title – as the introduction points out, heroes who were short-lived weren’t necessarily what I’d call “regrettable.” Look at Squirrel Girl. She turned out to be awesome. This is a love-it-or-hate-it book, not because of its quality, which I argue is unquestionably “A” level in terms of research, organization, writing technique, and historical value, but because of its subject matter. There are some people who have no interest whatsoever about the adventures of Pow-Girl or Rainbow Boy or Madam Fatal or even Son of Satan. C’est la vie. The rest of us will gobble this up like a giant bag of M&M’s. - Carrie S.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    I am not much of a fan of superhero comics, but this book was pretty fascinating. My favorites were the Golden Age heroes. More specifically, my favorites were Fantomah and Stardust the Super-Wizard, both of whom were created by Fletcher Hanks. So I suppose I am a potential Fletcher Hanks fan, though of course I'd never heard of him before this! It's just, the art looks pretty cool and also the two heroes are sort of jerks? Or at least, pretty hardcore about punishing the bad guys. (They also bo I am not much of a fan of superhero comics, but this book was pretty fascinating. My favorites were the Golden Age heroes. More specifically, my favorites were Fantomah and Stardust the Super-Wizard, both of whom were created by Fletcher Hanks. So I suppose I am a potential Fletcher Hanks fan, though of course I'd never heard of him before this! It's just, the art looks pretty cool and also the two heroes are sort of jerks? Or at least, pretty hardcore about punishing the bad guys. (They also both fly with their arms at their sides, which cracks me right up.) I only wish there were even more excerpts from the actual comics, as I found them pretty fascinating. But I mean obviously that would make the book way too big. The author writes the Gone and Forgotten blog, which is basically this sort of thing also -- old/dumb comics -- but the authorial voice in this book is a little different, I think. It took me a while to put my finger on it but I think it's the almost entire lack of "I" statements, and swearing. Which I guess is something you need to do to get an actual book published. It reads as a lot more . . . serious, I guess. Textbooky. But still funny! He gets his dry one-liners in, for sure. Recommended to comic book fans of all levels of enthusiasm. I hope there's another one eventually.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Oliver Bateman

    It is what it is: an amusing blog turned amusing book with great art and light, easy-to-digest summaries of bizarre comic book characters from different eras. It's a shame Morris didn't delve deeper into the primary sources--when he does talk about the stories, the reading gets surprisingly compelling--but this is a solid coffee table book nevertheless. Few projects that begin on the Internet are worthy of purchase in print form (Anonymous Lawyer lol!), but The League of Regrettable Superheroes It is what it is: an amusing blog turned amusing book with great art and light, easy-to-digest summaries of bizarre comic book characters from different eras. It's a shame Morris didn't delve deeper into the primary sources--when he does talk about the stories, the reading gets surprisingly compelling--but this is a solid coffee table book nevertheless. Few projects that begin on the Internet are worthy of purchase in print form (Anonymous Lawyer lol!), but The League of Regrettable Superheroes is an exception.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Melissa McShane

    This was an enjoyable look at some forgotten comic book superheroes, most of which were deservedly forgotten, but a few who died an untimely death due to publishing issues or just bad timing. My favorite is probably The Eye, which is nothing but a giant eye and is frankly creepier than most supervillains. But there's also Fantomah, who I didn't know is credited with being the first female superhero (she predates Wonder Woman by more than a year) and whose art is unique for its time. I'd like to This was an enjoyable look at some forgotten comic book superheroes, most of which were deservedly forgotten, but a few who died an untimely death due to publishing issues or just bad timing. My favorite is probably The Eye, which is nothing but a giant eye and is frankly creepier than most supervillains. But there's also Fantomah, who I didn't know is credited with being the first female superhero (she predates Wonder Woman by more than a year) and whose art is unique for its time. I'd like to see a return of Nelvana of the Northern Lights, too.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Derek Royal

    I originally began reading this book back in June, when I thought we might be interviewing him around that time for the podcast. But we just put off that interview -- originally because of HeroesCon, and then the need to find the time -- to the point that we decided to push back the interview with Morris until later. That took place recently: http://comicsalternative.com/comics-a.... I must say that this is one of the most enjoyable books I've read this year. I originally began reading this book back in June, when I thought we might be interviewing him around that time for the podcast. But we just put off that interview -- originally because of HeroesCon, and then the need to find the time -- to the point that we decided to push back the interview with Morris until later. That took place recently: http://comicsalternative.com/comics-a.... I must say that this is one of the most enjoyable books I've read this year.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    A enjoyable little collection of some of the more weird incarnations of superheroes. Wolud have loved to have seen the further adventures of Dr Hormone, Black Dwarf, Speed Centaur and Madame Fatal the cross dressing crime fighter. Some real crackers in here .

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shaun

    An amusing look at some of the quirkier ill fated heroes to grace comic pages over the years. Unfortunately I was unaware that the "loot crate edition" meant "the abridged edition" containing far less content than the normal version. That being said, I can't be too mad since I only spent a couple bucks to buy it from their overstock. Still, I imagine I will add a star or two to my review on the full edition when and if I get my hands on it. An amusing look at some of the quirkier ill fated heroes to grace comic pages over the years. Unfortunately I was unaware that the "loot crate edition" meant "the abridged edition" containing far less content than the normal version. That being said, I can't be too mad since I only spent a couple bucks to buy it from their overstock. Still, I imagine I will add a star or two to my review on the full edition when and if I get my hands on it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    C. Varn

    Morris's "League of Regrettable Superheroes" is exploration of the flukes of the superhero genre, and this breaks things down into the nice explorations of vices and would-bes of the various comic book ages. Since the book focuses primarily on the super-heros with brief shelf-lives, you don't need to dig down into massive mythologies or character inconsistencies or revisions of character history or alternate universes. Or, not as much as in more standard and long-running superhero fair. Each cha Morris's "League of Regrettable Superheroes" is exploration of the flukes of the superhero genre, and this breaks things down into the nice explorations of vices and would-bes of the various comic book ages. Since the book focuses primarily on the super-heros with brief shelf-lives, you don't need to dig down into massive mythologies or character inconsistencies or revisions of character history or alternate universes. Or, not as much as in more standard and long-running superhero fair. Each character has, at least, a two page spread. A cover or panel is given as well as brief bio. Morris is not laugh at loud funny, but he is humorous without being snarky or pedantic. In the spirit of early comic books, there are few cute puns. The current break down is the Golden Age with 44 heroes; The Silver Age with 26 heroes; and The Modern Age with 30 heroes. The Golden Age has similar themes from comics publishers run amok, and the discussion actually gives you a insight into the early history of comics. The collapse of the "Bronze Age" and the "1980s-early 2000s" is probably a thematic mistake: the "Edgy" "adult" (teen vision of adult prurience and violence) and the bronze age attempt at more psychologically realistic and socially conscious heroes are actually quite different in their vices. One of the interesting things discussed in subtext of Morris' book is that not only are some of the more interesting superheroes more or less flops, but that superhero comics often go out of favor. For example, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Morris mentions that superheroes were often in serial movies in theaters, but that superhero comics declined in popularity very quickly thereafter. Conversely, the early 1990s were an unusual prolix and profitable time for comics, but it collapsed out from under the industry and basically only related properties keep the current industry afloat. Indeed, we live in an age where superhero comic properties dominate the movies and popular culture, but superhero comic books are on the wane. This is something Morris does not discuss directly but hints at in his erudition about the medium. The book is beautiful and well-laid out, the heroes range from hilarious to the vices of their age, and Morris shows his power as a subtle writer of pop culture and an academic of comics. In age of Geek and nerd dominance, this a refreshing reminder of its silliness.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    What a fun idea for a book! I've always loved comic books. I read hundreds and hundreds of them over the years thanks to my dad. But there were so many that I didn't read, couldn't read. I was only one boy! The solution? Marvel Comics would release "handbooks" that would have alphabetical entries on all Marvel heroes and villains, alive and dead. The comics would tell you everything you needed to know about them: powers, origin, secret identity, the whole nine yards. I would frequently spend hou What a fun idea for a book! I've always loved comic books. I read hundreds and hundreds of them over the years thanks to my dad. But there were so many that I didn't read, couldn't read. I was only one boy! The solution? Marvel Comics would release "handbooks" that would have alphabetical entries on all Marvel heroes and villains, alive and dead. The comics would tell you everything you needed to know about them: powers, origin, secret identity, the whole nine yards. I would frequently spend hours reading about characters that I never saw before or again. In some ways, this was more fun than reading comics because I could completely invent their adventures in my imagination. This creative fuel applied to the dull flame of my young mind was enough to ignite a life long love affair with the medium. Fast forward to present day and I randomly found "The League of Regrettable Superheroes: Half-Baked Heroes from Comic Book History" on the shelf at my local library. I immediately knew this book was for me and boy was I right. I can safely say I had heard of only a handful of this books inhabitants but that's kind of the point. There are characters that should never have been. Good ideas with poor execution. Poor ideas with good execution. Poor ideas with poor execution. Some stand outs: - A witch superhero that was ridiculously scary and only kind of good. - Fat Man! He was a real fat guy in a suit. Wait, it gets better...he turns into a UFO. Because of course he does. - An NFL football superhero. He blew out his knee saving a kid but ruining his career...and then becomes a superhero, I guess? Finally, the NFL is getting some much needed exposure. - The Eye! A huge, free floating, talking eye. And this wasn't a horror comic. Is Nightmareinducing all one word? - The Sons of Superman and Batman! These two lovable teenage scamps get into minor trouble. The logistical problems of Superman and Batman having two teenage sons was too much for this book, however. The boys mothers were always kept in shadow and the final issue of the series revealed that it was all a computer simulation...because science? - Truck Driver superhero! Get'er done! What this book really shows is that there isn't a fad, trend, cocaine fever dream that comic books don't try to take advantage of and we, the readers, are the lucky beneficiaries of sad madness. A must read for all comic book kids and comic book kids at heart.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Yvette

    Ranging in scope from “what were they thinking” to “I’d read that,” this collection of comic book missteps is sure to delight the comic book nerd, aficionado and newbie alike as well as cos-players dedicated to the obscure and high waisted speedos. Organized by era (Golden Age/Silver Age/Modern Age), each not-so-super-hero is given 2 – 4 pages, showing at minimum the front cover of an issue and then a one page summary of the comic’s particulars. When I received this book, I took it into work to Ranging in scope from “what were they thinking” to “I’d read that,” this collection of comic book missteps is sure to delight the comic book nerd, aficionado and newbie alike as well as cos-players dedicated to the obscure and high waisted speedos. Organized by era (Golden Age/Silver Age/Modern Age), each not-so-super-hero is given 2 – 4 pages, showing at minimum the front cover of an issue and then a one page summary of the comic’s particulars. When I received this book, I took it into work to share with co-workers and the game developers that share our office space. When it was in the game company area, I could hear laughter and one of them wandered the halls with it for a bit to share choice selections with others. If that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is. This was a fun read to dip in to from time to time, not necessarily read in one sitting. The content is heavily weighted in favor of male superheroes, which is no surprise given the history of comic books. Though the likelihood is extremely low, if I ever happen upon the actual comics “Nelvana of the Northern Lights”(1941) or “Squirrel Girl” (1992), I’ll be quite happy to spend some time enjoying them. The review refers to a finished copy won in a BookLikes giveaway, courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I’ve struggled to decide on the star rating for this book, as it is so different from the usual books that I read. I settled on 3.5/5 stars to reflect the quality of the presentation and the level of amusement. Definitely going into coffee-table book rotation! This (edited) review is cross-posted on booklikes and my blog.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ronald

    One of my reading interests is offbeat history. This book gives a history of short-lived superhero comics. There are over 100 super-heroes in this book, from the 1940s to (my surprise) the early 1990s. For each superhero, there is a color reproduction of the comic book's cover, and a 1-2 page amusing article about the comic book. The article gives info such as the author of the comic, when the comic book ran, plot lines, and the powers of the super-hero. I didn't read this book from from to back. One of my reading interests is offbeat history. This book gives a history of short-lived superhero comics. There are over 100 super-heroes in this book, from the 1940s to (my surprise) the early 1990s. For each superhero, there is a color reproduction of the comic book's cover, and a 1-2 page amusing article about the comic book. The article gives info such as the author of the comic, when the comic book ran, plot lines, and the powers of the super-hero. I didn't read this book from from to back. I went about at random, reading the entries. There, is, for example, Brain Boy, who had telepathy, mind control, telekinesis, and other fantastic mental abilities:http://images.furycomics.com/viewer/7... There is Pat Parker, War Nurse, fighting the Axis Powers during World War II: http://northernwriter.com/blog/wp-con... There is Nelvana of the Northern Lights: http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/p... Nelvana of the Northern Lights is a special case. She preceded Wonder Woman. Nelvana is a Canadian superhero who was tied to the culture and mythology of the Inuit peoples. Its somewhat puzzling to me why Nelvana didn't have a longer comic book run. I found this a highly entertaining book. As I write this review, there is currently in theaters a movie entitled Batman v Superman. This movie currently has a terrible rating of 29% from movie critics (Rotten Tomatoes). Hollywood would do much better if it made a tongue-in-cheek superhero movie based on the characters from this book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Not every superhero is a success. In fact there is quite a history behind the commercial failures that fans just didn't respond to. Many among this league of regrettable heroes were cookie-cutter copies of popular heroes, oddities too odd to make much sense, and poorly conceived characters in terms of story or design, although few can beat product and fad based heroes like Captain Tootsie (and yes, he "powers-up" by eating Tootsie Rolls). Jon Morris provides an informative look at comics ranging Not every superhero is a success. In fact there is quite a history behind the commercial failures that fans just didn't respond to. Many among this league of regrettable heroes were cookie-cutter copies of popular heroes, oddities too odd to make much sense, and poorly conceived characters in terms of story or design, although few can beat product and fad based heroes like Captain Tootsie (and yes, he "powers-up" by eating Tootsie Rolls). Jon Morris provides an informative look at comics ranging from the Golden Age to today, as well as the society that shaped the decisions behind their creation. Still, we derive most of our amusement from those moments where the author remarks on the campier and illogical aspects of these heroes, one of his better examples states, explosions aren't considered lethal by the "non-violent" Peacemaker. Names, lines, and costume choices are particularly good fodder, but he also includes his own funny comments on "unused name ideas", "not to be confused with", "last seen", and more, on a wing of each page. Full page colour prints of issue covers, and on occasion an inner page, accompany every piece, making this book the complete package. An absolute treasure trove of information on heroes that are best left, retired.

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