The Government Manual for New Superheroes

    (Andrews McMeel, 2006)
™ and © 2006 Andrews McMeel

While not the first book purporting to be an instruction manual for the aspiring hero (or villain), this clever little handbook starts from an interesting premise: If the government has “how to” books for such mundane activities as buying a home, wouldn’t it also for such Earth-shattering (sometimes literally!) events as becoming a costumed vigilante?

This book doesn’t assume that you were rocketed to Earth as an infant from a doomed planet or that you were born with mutant abilities. All you have to be is an average Joe with a compulsion to put on tights and fight crime.

The art appears to be generic 1950s-style clip art. While not inherently interesting, it works well in the context of the faux mundanity that the book ostensibly represents. In terms of sheer “laugh out loud” moments, Leigh and Lepine’s How to be a Superhero is probably still the one to beat. This book, however, has a different approach and novel observations that make it well worth having on the shelf, even alongside similarly themed works.

— Jack Abramowitz

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142 pages; B&WMatthew David Brozik, Jacob Sager Weinstein