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Last Night, a Superhero Saved My Life: Neil Gaiman!! Jodi Picoult!! Brad Meltzer!! . . . and an All-Star Roster on the Caped Crusaders That Changed Their Lives

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As broad as our exponentially growing cultural fascination with caped crusaders is, it runs just as deep as this long awaited anthology underscores. Liesa Mignogna the VP, Editorial Director at Simon Pulse and editor of this anthology can expound on the virtues of Batman (her wedding was even Batman-themed) but it's her retelling of incredibly harrowing yet ultimately insp As broad as our exponentially growing cultural fascination with caped crusaders is, it runs just as deep as this long awaited anthology underscores. Liesa Mignogna the VP, Editorial Director at Simon Pulse and editor of this anthology can expound on the virtues of Batman (her wedding was even Batman-themed) but it's her retelling of incredibly harrowing yet ultimately inspiring encounters with The Dark Knight over the years, as she struggled to coexist with the supervillains in her own family that birthed this collection. Last Night, A Superhero Saved My Life gives readers the chance to connect to their beloved authors, while those same authors connect to their beloved superheroes, and within that feedback loop of respect and admiration lies a stellar, and phenomenally accessible, anthology full of thrills, chills, and spills. Contributors include New York Times bestsellers Christopher Golden, Leigh Bardugo, Brad Meltzer, Neil Gaiman, Carrie Vaughn, Jodi Picoult, and Jamie Ford, as well as award-winners and mainstays like Joe R. Lansdale, Karina Cooper, and Ron Currie, Jr among many others. Last Night, A Superhero Saved My Life's authors share their most hilarious and most heart wrenching experiences with their chosen defender to explain why superheroes matter, what they tell us about who we are, and what they mean for our future.


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As broad as our exponentially growing cultural fascination with caped crusaders is, it runs just as deep as this long awaited anthology underscores. Liesa Mignogna the VP, Editorial Director at Simon Pulse and editor of this anthology can expound on the virtues of Batman (her wedding was even Batman-themed) but it's her retelling of incredibly harrowing yet ultimately insp As broad as our exponentially growing cultural fascination with caped crusaders is, it runs just as deep as this long awaited anthology underscores. Liesa Mignogna the VP, Editorial Director at Simon Pulse and editor of this anthology can expound on the virtues of Batman (her wedding was even Batman-themed) but it's her retelling of incredibly harrowing yet ultimately inspiring encounters with The Dark Knight over the years, as she struggled to coexist with the supervillains in her own family that birthed this collection. Last Night, A Superhero Saved My Life gives readers the chance to connect to their beloved authors, while those same authors connect to their beloved superheroes, and within that feedback loop of respect and admiration lies a stellar, and phenomenally accessible, anthology full of thrills, chills, and spills. Contributors include New York Times bestsellers Christopher Golden, Leigh Bardugo, Brad Meltzer, Neil Gaiman, Carrie Vaughn, Jodi Picoult, and Jamie Ford, as well as award-winners and mainstays like Joe R. Lansdale, Karina Cooper, and Ron Currie, Jr among many others. Last Night, A Superhero Saved My Life's authors share their most hilarious and most heart wrenching experiences with their chosen defender to explain why superheroes matter, what they tell us about who we are, and what they mean for our future.

30 review for Last Night, a Superhero Saved My Life: Neil Gaiman!! Jodi Picoult!! Brad Meltzer!! . . . and an All-Star Roster on the Caped Crusaders That Changed Their Lives

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cora Tea Party Princess

    5 Words: Inspiration, admiration, heroes, strength, love. I decided to read one of these essays every day to kick off 2018. And I didn't expect to cry so much. This is a deeply personal collection of essays by some magnificent authors. There were some that I didn't like (and one in particular which screams Serious White Male Author) but I loved the collection as a whole and the exploration of what superheroes mean to us all. I'll definitely pick this up again in future to read through some of the es 5 Words: Inspiration, admiration, heroes, strength, love. I decided to read one of these essays every day to kick off 2018. And I didn't expect to cry so much. This is a deeply personal collection of essays by some magnificent authors. There were some that I didn't like (and one in particular which screams Serious White Male Author) but I loved the collection as a whole and the exploration of what superheroes mean to us all. I'll definitely pick this up again in future to read through some of the essays. I particularly loved Leigh Bardugo's.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    This book was completely off my radar until it jumped out at me from the library's new releases shelves. I expected it to be a fun, slightly glib collection of why the assembled writers love comics. And while some of the essays (like Jim Di Bartolo's homage to Superman) are that, it's more. So much more. Superheroes-and by extension, pop culture-got some of these people through REALLY bad times: abuse, extreme poverty, various demons, internal and otherwise. It's humbling what they chose to share This book was completely off my radar until it jumped out at me from the library's new releases shelves. I expected it to be a fun, slightly glib collection of why the assembled writers love comics. And while some of the essays (like Jim Di Bartolo's homage to Superman) are that, it's more. So much more. Superheroes-and by extension, pop culture-got some of these people through REALLY bad times: abuse, extreme poverty, various demons, internal and otherwise. It's humbling what they chose to share here. Several essays made me laugh, others made me cry like a bitch. Jamie Ford's essay seemed like he was going the wistful but funny route till he got to the end and effortlessly sucker punched me--and I loved it. Delilah S. Dawson's essay made me want to hug her, Carrie Vaughn's made me want to high five her. Brendan Deneen's story about getting a fan mail answer from Matt Wagner (and how that changed his life) was perfectly sweet. I want Leigh Bardugo to be my best friend because, girl, I GET YOU!! Anthony Breznican and Alethea Kontis' stories....I'm just glad that I read them at home because I bawled uncontrollably. There's a real variety here, always delivered with glorious hardcore fanboy/girling. My count is that Batman won the most hearts and minds in this collection, followed by Wonder Woman and Superman. The top is rounded out by various X-Men. I'm not going to list everything, but these essays were amongst my favorites: "On the Hulk, You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry" by Delilah S. Dawson "Dented Hearts: A Story of Iron Man" by Anthony Breznican "The Weight of Four-Color Justice" by Christopher Golden "Daredevil, Elektra, and the Ninja who Stole my Virginity" by Jamie Ford "Everything I Know About Love, I Learned from Gambit and Rogue" by Karina Cooper "How I Spent My Summer Vacation with the Judas Contract" by Brad Meltzer "All the World is Waiting for You" by Carrie Vaughn "We are not Amazons" by Leigh Bardugo "Weapon X" by Ron Currie "Becoming Bethany: A Life in Seven Deaths" by Alethea Kontis "Swashbuckle My Heart: An Ode to Nightcrawler" by Jenn Reese "The Hero I Needed" by Liesa Mignogna I tried to restrain myself to my very favorites, and I still listed 12 essays. That's over half of the essays in the collection! This was clearly a passion project of the editor, Liesa Mignogna, who contributed one of my favorite essays about growing up with a truly amazing single mom and a passion for Batman (Mignogna further demonstrates her bona fides by making her author photo a picture from her Batman-themed wedding. I love this woman!) (And her mom!) (As a random aside, I was surprised to see Jodi Picoult's name on the book cover. Apparently, she's written some Wonder Woman comics. There's your left-field trivia for the day.) If you love comic books, this is a no-brainer. But even if you don't, I predict you'll like it or maybe love it. Maybe so much that you'll want to buy your own copy. Reader, I did.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    I'm not sure how to rate this anthology. Firstly and as with any collection from various authors, lots of hits and some misses. Secondly, (and I realize lots won't agree with this) there was too much Batman - every other essay tackled the Dark Knight. And yet, only 2 authors brought actual perspective to it (Austin Grossman opened the book with a great essay on how Batman influenced his creative life and Liesa Mignogna closed the book with a great essay on Batman and in particular, The Killing J I'm not sure how to rate this anthology. Firstly and as with any collection from various authors, lots of hits and some misses. Secondly, (and I realize lots won't agree with this) there was too much Batman - every other essay tackled the Dark Knight. And yet, only 2 authors brought actual perspective to it (Austin Grossman opened the book with a great essay on how Batman influenced his creative life and Liesa Mignogna closed the book with a great essay on Batman and in particular, The Killing Joke got her past trauma. While I still loathe The Killing Joke, her essay opened my eyes to another way to approach the text). The best essays in the book (Karina Cooper on her love life and how Rogue and Gambit shined a light on her hang-ups; Jamie Ford tackling similar terrain but with Daredevil and Elecktra; Deliah Dawson on the Hulk) actually tackle how a superhero saved a life i.e. how comics allowed them to come to terms with problems in their lives and weren't just mere escape. Some of the middle tier essays position certain heroes or arcs within larger comics history (Jodi Picoult on Wonder Woman and Brad Meltzer on The Judas Contract storyline in Teen Titans). Others simply write love letters to their first experience (Neil Gaiman on Batman [the 4th Batman essay, in an overcrowded field]).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bernard O'Leary

    There was a war, and the geeks won. Even after Tim Burton's excellent Batman movies, and Bryan Singer's very good X-Men movie, superhero comics were still thought of as something for kids or adults who had missed a step in their cultural development. But somewhere between that and the first Iron Movie, everything changed. And what changed is this: a bunch of very smart people who grew up loving comic books had reached maturity. They became the dominant cultural voices of our time. And they used There was a war, and the geeks won. Even after Tim Burton's excellent Batman movies, and Bryan Singer's very good X-Men movie, superhero comics were still thought of as something for kids or adults who had missed a step in their cultural development. But somewhere between that and the first Iron Movie, everything changed. And what changed is this: a bunch of very smart people who grew up loving comic books had reached maturity. They became the dominant cultural voices of our time. And they used their position to announce that comics were cool. Last Night A Superhero Saved My Life is a lovely collection of essays that straddles both of these realities. The authors are all successful writers, including luminaries such as Neil Gaiman and Jodi Picoult. In times past, some of those writers may have felt compelled to add caveats about the artistic merit of comics, or justified their love for superheros by talking about how comics led them to proper novels. The closest we get to that here is an essay by Wonder Woman fan Carrie Vaughn, who releases some pent up rage, first at her fellow pre-schoolers who criticised her inaccurate playtime portrayal of the mighty Amazonian hero, and later at the college professors who told her that all genre fiction is not real fiction. Apart from that, there's no question in this book that DC and Marvel might not be as important as Shakespeare and Chaucer. Wonder Woman features more than any other hero, which is maybe unsurprising in a genre that generally likes to stuff its female characters in a fridge. A generation of girls learned a lot from her, although there still seems to be some confusion about how she ran around in that bustier without popping out and giving herself a black eye. Jodi Picoult did, we learn, attempt to give Wonder Woman some straps when she was writing the comic, but DC refused. Wonder Woman, Superman, Thor, and a few other characters like Underdog all appear in the capacity of joy. Because most comics in the 70s and 80s were about joy, starring clean-cut heroes with a simple morality. Some of the writers in this book discuss how these wonderful characters inspired them to believe in their dreams and themselves. And then there are the other writers. The X-Men fans. The Batman fans. They're the ones who explain why genre fiction is often so important. It's amazing and saddening how many of them tell the same story: I was a child, and I trusted adults to care for me, and they didn't. Some failed through neglect, others were more malicious. The only thing that kept me going were these stories, tales of heroes who lurk in the shadows and stop the bad guys. Heroes who had messed up childhoods too, and survived, and lived good lives. The mythology of Gotham or the mutants is every bit as developed as any major text, and has a big advantage over the Bible: it's alive, and being constantly rewritten. These stories might seem like trash to some people, but to others they contain truth, hope, philosophy, insight, humour, catharsis and occasionally a full epiphany. Sometimes they have been the only source of light when everything else in the world has been dark. The most moving stories in this volume are about how these superheroes have reached out through the garishly-coloured panels and literally saved someone's life. It's not all gloom, and there are funny and moving stories of how comics have influenced first loves, led to wreckless childhood adventures, acted as imaginary friends, and provided valuable lessons about life and morality. Superhero comics are a multifaceted cultural entity that offer meaning on an archetypal level, adaptive to the reader's internalised contextualised expectations which develop circumstantially. Or, as they say in comics, superheroes are here when we need them. No matter what.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Forever Young Adult

    Graded By: Mandy C. Cover Story: Comic-Inspired The Most Fist-Pump Worthy: “We Are Not Amazons” by Leigh Bardugo, “Swashbuckle My Heart: An Ode to Nightcrawler” by Jenn Reese The Most Eye Roll-Inducing: “Weapon X” by Ron Currie, Jr. The Most Educational: “Spider-Manhattan” by Scott Westerfeld Bonus Factors: Superhero Adoration Break Glass In Case Of: Seeking Nerd Solidarity Read the full book report here. Graded By: Mandy C. Cover Story: Comic-Inspired The Most Fist-Pump Worthy: “We Are Not Amazons” by Leigh Bardugo, “Swashbuckle My Heart: An Ode to Nightcrawler” by Jenn Reese The Most Eye Roll-Inducing: “Weapon X” by Ron Currie, Jr. The Most Educational: “Spider-Manhattan” by Scott Westerfeld Bonus Factors: Superhero Adoration Break Glass In Case Of: Seeking Nerd Solidarity Read the full book report here.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    An anthology of authors writing about what superheroes -- mostly Batman -- meant to them. The essays go from a bit banal (side eye at DC for a particular hiring choice) to brilliant and devastating. The closing essay grapples with The Killing Joke and was particularly powerful. Does a nice job of demonstrating how important it is to see ourselves in our stories. Of having characters to emulate and love. Sometimes that's Nightcrawler. Bamf! An anthology of authors writing about what superheroes -- mostly Batman -- meant to them. The essays go from a bit banal (side eye at DC for a particular hiring choice) to brilliant and devastating. The closing essay grapples with The Killing Joke and was particularly powerful. Does a nice job of demonstrating how important it is to see ourselves in our stories. Of having characters to emulate and love. Sometimes that's Nightcrawler. Bamf!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Leigh Anne

    Grab your Kleenex, true believers: this one's a weepfest. There are two reasons why I won't be finishing this book. The practical reason is that it's due back at the library, because somebody else wants to read it. The emotional reason is that every single damn essay I read from this made me cry. Think about it. Most of us don't really have gods anymore, at least, none that we talk about publicly aside from the one big guy people decide they either do, or don't, believe in. What do we have? Rock Grab your Kleenex, true believers: this one's a weepfest. There are two reasons why I won't be finishing this book. The practical reason is that it's due back at the library, because somebody else wants to read it. The emotional reason is that every single damn essay I read from this made me cry. Think about it. Most of us don't really have gods anymore, at least, none that we talk about publicly aside from the one big guy people decide they either do, or don't, believe in. What do we have? Rock stars, sports dude(ette)s, and superheroes. That's it. But if you find the right rock star / sports dude(ette) / superhero, it can be enough. Mignogna's collection contains a lot of extremely personal, heartfelt stories about people who have made it through the difficult parts of their lives thanks to a comic book character, who became the symbol of whatever the suffering person needed to pull through. The heavy hitters are represented, yes, but there's a wide range of super men and women here who functioned as lifelines for the lost and bewildered. By the time I got through "Everything I Needed to Know About Love I Learned From Rogue and Gambit," I kind of just wanted to go lie down in a dark room and weep over humanity's collective suffering for a while. So, um, consider NOT reading all of these essays at once. Or not picking it up at all if you are extremely sensitive to others' pain...or feel your own a little too deeply at the moment. Then again, a good healthy cry might be just what the doctor ordered. Of course, you probably won't catch ALL the feels unless you worship at the altars of Marvel or D.C. In fact, if you don't, you might just roll your eyes over all these weirdos who take their comic books so seriously. Just make sure you're not wearing a team jersey or a concert tee when you're doing so, because I will call you on it. Ahem. Comic book culture is here to stay, so nab this one for all non-fiction collections, especially if you have a special new non-fic or current events / pop culture section.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Berni Phillips

    I would have given this book more stars if some of the essays had been omitted. It's strongest with the very touching, very personal essays. A couple of the essays bored me, and one left me feeling like the writer was a complete jerk. (He laments that fist fights are no longer a socially acceptable method for settling disagreements. He thinks that's what true masculinity is. I hope he doesn't have kids.) But some of the essays are very good. While I think the strongest are the ones where the writ I would have given this book more stars if some of the essays had been omitted. It's strongest with the very touching, very personal essays. A couple of the essays bored me, and one left me feeling like the writer was a complete jerk. (He laments that fist fights are no longer a socially acceptable method for settling disagreements. He thinks that's what true masculinity is. I hope he doesn't have kids.) But some of the essays are very good. While I think the strongest are the ones where the writers are coming from a place of pain, telling how comic books helped them, others, such as Carrie Vaughn's essay about her relationship with Wonder Woman are just as good, coming from hope and joy and love.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I really enjoyed this little collection. I didn't get into reading comics until I was a little older (I got my fix from Batman: The Animated Series, and the X-Men cartoon for the most part along with movies) so it was really neat to see different writers' stories on how meeting the right superhero at the right time, or just meeting them early, shaped them or shaped their approach to things. Not just Superman and Batman either. There were even two superheroes that I've never heard of! Fast read, g I really enjoyed this little collection. I didn't get into reading comics until I was a little older (I got my fix from Batman: The Animated Series, and the X-Men cartoon for the most part along with movies) so it was really neat to see different writers' stories on how meeting the right superhero at the right time, or just meeting them early, shaped them or shaped their approach to things. Not just Superman and Batman either. There were even two superheroes that I've never heard of! Fast read, good fun, and if you like comics you'll definitely find a familiar person here.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kari

    I started to read this cover to cover in curated order and found I couldn't. Many of the first stories just didn't appeal to me. Also I was hoping, from reading the blurbs, that they were more fictional stories but found them to be essays. I ended up picking and choosing which to read, Gaiman if course. A found it to be the same way. So spoiler, it is essays from writers based around super heroes influence or impact in their lives. On that note though I would use this in a writing class as examp I started to read this cover to cover in curated order and found I couldn't. Many of the first stories just didn't appeal to me. Also I was hoping, from reading the blurbs, that they were more fictional stories but found them to be essays. I ended up picking and choosing which to read, Gaiman if course. A found it to be the same way. So spoiler, it is essays from writers based around super heroes influence or impact in their lives. On that note though I would use this in a writing class as examples on personal narrative. I would hand this to a kid who doesn't like fiction, or so they say, but you know realistic fiction would be a great fit. It just might be a gateway for them.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Cowie

    I got this book because Jamie Ford was kind enough to visit our town and speak at our annual author lunch, so I felt it was my duty to buy as many books of his as I could. I loved his story in the collection, because it felt honest and real - many of the others have a similar conversational/confessional style. There are a few who very obviously phoned it in, which does not reflect well on a couple of my favorite authors... For the most part though, it was a fun read, and will especially appeal t I got this book because Jamie Ford was kind enough to visit our town and speak at our annual author lunch, so I felt it was my duty to buy as many books of his as I could. I loved his story in the collection, because it felt honest and real - many of the others have a similar conversational/confessional style. There are a few who very obviously phoned it in, which does not reflect well on a couple of my favorite authors... For the most part though, it was a fun read, and will especially appeal to anyone who has ever been inspired by a superhero.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Abella

    read primarily for the Wonder Woman essays, which were moving, as are the ones on Iron Man and Hulk.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tabitha Hartropp

    This was just not really my thing. I'm could see how others could find it interesting to see how superheroes inspired other writers, but it felt a little feel-good preachy to me. or maybe I'm just super cynical :P This was just not really my thing. I'm could see how others could find it interesting to see how superheroes inspired other writers, but it felt a little feel-good preachy to me. or maybe I'm just super cynical :P

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    A really interesting perspective on the role and power of superheroes and comics in our society. I'll be curious to see if the influence holds as kids turn to digital media for escape and stories. In a generation will this collection be titled "Last Night Call o Duty Saved My Life?" Provocative and a valuable resource as I begin building a unit on graphic novels, comics and superheroes. A really interesting perspective on the role and power of superheroes and comics in our society. I'll be curious to see if the influence holds as kids turn to digital media for escape and stories. In a generation will this collection be titled "Last Night Call o Duty Saved My Life?" Provocative and a valuable resource as I begin building a unit on graphic novels, comics and superheroes.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Terynce

    This might be the best book of this year's Reading Challenge. Its stories are personal, yet I could see myself in many of them or see my friends. I was never into comics growing up and I have a difficult time getting into most comics/graphic novels now, but I'm beginning to truly get a sense of their appeal. Batman has long been my favorite because he has no superpowers, save his intellect and being pissed off. And an endless supply of money, but ... err... yeah. But the pages about Wolverine and This might be the best book of this year's Reading Challenge. Its stories are personal, yet I could see myself in many of them or see my friends. I was never into comics growing up and I have a difficult time getting into most comics/graphic novels now, but I'm beginning to truly get a sense of their appeal. Batman has long been my favorite because he has no superpowers, save his intellect and being pissed off. And an endless supply of money, but ... err... yeah. But the pages about Wolverine and the role that fighting plays for men was a perspective I hadn't considered. And Wonder Woman, always with her armor, despite the attention on the rest of her outfit. Very, very good read. Definitely front-loaded, I thought the second to last section Superheros and Childhood was the weakest part of the book, but almost every essay had something of merit to take away.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Sankey

    Nice collection of essays by writers and creative people speaking very personally about how their early attachment to a comic book hero shaped their experiences--a family of blue babies and Iron Man, channeling Hulk to manage trauma, how Wolverine got someone through an excruciating junior high dance, and on the flip side, how modeling one's high school crush on Daredevil and Elektra might have introduced more drama than absolutely necessary. Nice collection of essays by writers and creative people speaking very personally about how their early attachment to a comic book hero shaped their experiences--a family of blue babies and Iron Man, channeling Hulk to manage trauma, how Wolverine got someone through an excruciating junior high dance, and on the flip side, how modeling one's high school crush on Daredevil and Elektra might have introduced more drama than absolutely necessary.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Carol Irvin

    Loved the story by Jamie Ford!!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Bennett

    I'll be really honest; the stories written by women interested me greatly. I skipped most of the ones written by men. I'll be really honest; the stories written by women interested me greatly. I skipped most of the ones written by men.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nazlee Hasan

    I had never heard of this book until my Book Club teacher introduced it as a new release that had been bought for the library. And me, being the total comic geek that I was, I picked it up. I was pleased to see the variety of superheroes mentioned. I was especially excited about the Xmen. I had thought it would be a funny, pat collection of why writers loved superheroes and their teen experiences with them. While some of the essays were that, it was so much more. Interestingly, superheroes had co I had never heard of this book until my Book Club teacher introduced it as a new release that had been bought for the library. And me, being the total comic geek that I was, I picked it up. I was pleased to see the variety of superheroes mentioned. I was especially excited about the Xmen. I had thought it would be a funny, pat collection of why writers loved superheroes and their teen experiences with them. While some of the essays were that, it was so much more. Interestingly, superheroes had come into these writers' lives at the WORST of times: abuse, extreme poverty, depression, etc. But they also had come in some very weird moments in their lives; their teenage years which brought all the normal disasters that commonly ensue during this time in one's life: friendships, crushes, and whatever else you can think of that belongs in this list. These essays made me laugh like a maniac and some made me cry until I had no tears left to cry. There was so much fangirling, I'm so glad I read this at home. It's incredible and crazy at the same time. I noticed that DC superheroes won most of their hearts: (in order) Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman. Was Marvel just not that popular doing their time? But, don't worry I was happy. There were quite a few Xmen sprinkled throughout. If you're a comic geek like me or just a fan of superheroes, this book is for you. Even if you're not sure and are debating whether you should venture down that dark hole the superhero fandom is, I think you could potentially enjoy it too. But if you are a true believer, grab a Kleenex. This book is quite the weep-fest. You will be crying a lot, whether it be from laughter or pure sadness, or both like me. I was happily surprised and I greatly recommend this.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Esosa

    3.5/5 stars “The most compelling and dangerous villains in life and literature aren’t so terribly obvious—it’s the ones who might try to do good, before fate deals them one too many blows. The ones who continue to believe, even in their darkest moments, that their motives are pure—that any destruction they cause to the ones they genuinely love is unavoidable.” One of the most unique essay collections I’ve read. I sometimes feel like my love for superheroes and the comic book genre is something 3.5/5 stars “The most compelling and dangerous villains in life and literature aren’t so terribly obvious—it’s the ones who might try to do good, before fate deals them one too many blows. The ones who continue to believe, even in their darkest moments, that their motives are pure—that any destruction they cause to the ones they genuinely love is unavoidable.” One of the most unique essay collections I’ve read. I sometimes feel like my love for superheroes and the comic book genre is something I can’t explain so to see a whole collection of essays from numerous writers talking about their favourite superheroes— how these heroes changed, saved, or impacted their lives was something I was really excited to read. Some stories were more light hearted than others. Some were extremely personal and deep. The book is actually broken into 6 sections: * Superheroes and Being Human * Superheroes and Love * Superheroes and Writing * Superheroes and Gender * Superheroes and Childhood * Superheroes and Trauma Even with those who wrote about the same super heroes (and as I’m sure you can guess, some heroes show up more than once: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman), each story was different. My favourites from this collection were: * Everything I Know About Love, I Learned From Gambit and Rogue by Karina Cooper * The Hero I Needed by Liesa Mignogna Overall a very refreshing read & a nice reminder that fictional worlds and stories can indeed change lives.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Saba

    'Last Night, a Superhero Saved My Life' is an anthology which documents why superheroes matter, how they can shape us and what these caped crusaders mean for our future. My top three thoughts on 'Last Night, a Superhero Saved My Life': 1. I grew up watching cartoons on superheroes like Superman, He-Man, TMNT, Spiderman and Batman. I then found out about comics like X-Men very early on because of my sister who is 4 years older than me. I didn't know it at the time, but I picked up quite a few thing 'Last Night, a Superhero Saved My Life' is an anthology which documents why superheroes matter, how they can shape us and what these caped crusaders mean for our future. My top three thoughts on 'Last Night, a Superhero Saved My Life': 1. I grew up watching cartoons on superheroes like Superman, He-Man, TMNT, Spiderman and Batman. I then found out about comics like X-Men very early on because of my sister who is 4 years older than me. I didn't know it at the time, but I picked up quite a few things from all of them. I unintentionally learned about morality, mortality, justice, discipline, grief, and developing a sense of humor. I was also introduced to women being strong, independent and complete badasses. 2. I didn't read the blurb and assumed it'll be about comics and the process of creating them. I couldn't have been more wrong. Each essay in this book is worth reading. Some are hilarious and some are deeply moving. This collection talks about coping, resilience, bravery, mental health, courage, and so much more. 3. The essays that talk about pain, mental health and struggles are the strongest. I was especially moved by Delilah Dawson's piece.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Janna Craig

    3.5 stars Okay, so this probably deserves more than 3 stars, and the reason I'm giving it less is 100% my own fault. I grabbed this book without looking too closely as I was walking out of the library and my initial impression of it was that it was a series of short stories, perhaps parodying superheroes. It is not. It's a series of essays about various authors' experiences with superheroes, mostly from comic books. Which was very interesting, really, except that I am extremely unfamiliar with th 3.5 stars Okay, so this probably deserves more than 3 stars, and the reason I'm giving it less is 100% my own fault. I grabbed this book without looking too closely as I was walking out of the library and my initial impression of it was that it was a series of short stories, perhaps parodying superheroes. It is not. It's a series of essays about various authors' experiences with superheroes, mostly from comic books. Which was very interesting, really, except that I am extremely unfamiliar with the comic book versions of all the famous superheroes and I hadn't even heard of half of the heroes that were in the essays. Totally my fault, because if I had looked more closely, I would have realized that this was a book of essays, not short stories (I think Neil Gaiman's name on the front cover threw me off). All that to say, it was interesting, but I didn't really relate to it AT ALL. For many people, it's probably a 5-star book. For me, it was 3-star.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tara 🩰

    I know very little about comic books and superheroes and I thought it was an engaging read. Some of the essays were misses for me but others were so earnest and moving. Favorites were: The Hulk You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry, Iron Man Dented Hearts, Karina Cooper’s Gambit and Rouge, How I Spent my Summer with the Judas Contract, Grendel The Devil Inside, Leah Bardugo’s We Are Not Amazons, Underdog and Me, Nightcrawler, and lastly, The Hero I Needed. I’m sure I’ll be re-reading many of these I know very little about comic books and superheroes and I thought it was an engaging read. Some of the essays were misses for me but others were so earnest and moving. Favorites were: The Hulk You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry, Iron Man Dented Hearts, Karina Cooper’s Gambit and Rouge, How I Spent my Summer with the Judas Contract, Grendel The Devil Inside, Leah Bardugo’s We Are Not Amazons, Underdog and Me, Nightcrawler, and lastly, The Hero I Needed. I’m sure I’ll be re-reading many of these essays for years to come.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I loved this book (full disclosure: I’m friends with the editor, and that’s how I knew to START reading it- but it’s not why I KEPT reading!) and I learned a lot about a new topic for me- the fact that I’m a complete rookie when it comes to superheroes wasn’t a deal breaker at all. I was also glad to be introduced to some new (for me, anyway) writers, some of whom actually moved me to tears. Highly recommend.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay Stares

    Premise: 22 authors write about their relationships with comics and superheroes. Happily or unhappily, the worst piece in this collection is the first. I was so dismayed to read a pale, pathetic piece about how Batman inspired some well-off guy I’m not familiar with to be a writer. There’s a better piece later in the book with the same thrust - superheroes inspired me to be creative. And that’s fine. But boring. The second piece is a raw, passionate, beautifully written essay from a woman whose rage Premise: 22 authors write about their relationships with comics and superheroes. Happily or unhappily, the worst piece in this collection is the first. I was so dismayed to read a pale, pathetic piece about how Batman inspired some well-off guy I’m not familiar with to be a writer. There’s a better piece later in the book with the same thrust - superheroes inspired me to be creative. And that’s fine. But boring. The second piece is a raw, passionate, beautifully written essay from a woman whose rage causes her to connect viscerally with the Hulk, and how she eventually walks away from an abusive, toxic family life. The essays are overall interesting and often funny, but there is a bright line between the ones that are about the creative process, or even one I quite liked about a love for Spider-Man and a love for Manhattan, and the ones where connection to a heroic story may have literally saved someone’s life. My favorites also include one about Iron Man and heart defects, one about emotional distance and Rogue, a sweet ode to the lovability of Nightcrawler (again, in the face of childhood abuse), and a piece connecting Thor’s unique place in Marvel to the experience of being different from the other kids. The weakest (besides the first) are the reprints of earlier pieces by Neil Gaiman and Jodi Picoult. The third piece that wasn’t original to this volume is by Brad Meltzer, and it’s actually a cute and very geeky exploration of the impact of reading a specific storyline as a kid. Overall, this was fine to read in chunks, and the parts which were good were VERY good. It does suffer from being a compilation, though, because it’s so uneven.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    This book explores why people have looked to fictional superheroes for decades and what they find in them. Be it inspiration to keep going, a reason to do the right thing, or to characterize some aspect of their self. The selection of essays were well written and some even tugged on your heartstrings.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    Although I'm not a comics geek or huge fan of superheroes, I really enjoyed this book. I picked it up because of the three authors named on the cover. But the other essayists were just as enjoyable and I learned about these authors/illustrators/editors as well as about some of the comic book and cartoon (Underdog!!!) characters that they love. Although I'm not a comics geek or huge fan of superheroes, I really enjoyed this book. I picked it up because of the three authors named on the cover. But the other essayists were just as enjoyable and I learned about these authors/illustrators/editors as well as about some of the comic book and cartoon (Underdog!!!) characters that they love.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    Varied reactions to the essays. Some I skimmed and others, usually the ones where a superhero’s morals or character help them through difficulties in life, were much more gripping and intriguing. Quite a lot of Batman, which I find surprising, as this compilation is from 2016, where I would’ve thought there could be a more diverse group of inspirational superheroes to choose from.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ian yarington

    I've been into comic books and superheroes since I was a kid and reading this book only helped to reinforce my love. Being a fan of comics lead me to the prose from folks like Neil Gaiman and the respect I have for these authors is vast. This book was just a pure joy to read and I loved it. I highly recommend. I've been into comic books and superheroes since I was a kid and reading this book only helped to reinforce my love. Being a fan of comics lead me to the prose from folks like Neil Gaiman and the respect I have for these authors is vast. This book was just a pure joy to read and I loved it. I highly recommend.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    Some stories are better than ours, and some are sadly graphic due to some of the authors' experiences with child abuse, sexual assault, and suicide. An interesting mix of stories about people being inspired by superheroes. Some stories are better than ours, and some are sadly graphic due to some of the authors' experiences with child abuse, sexual assault, and suicide. An interesting mix of stories about people being inspired by superheroes.

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