How to Read Superhero Comics and Why - Geoff Klock

Superhero comics constitute an overwhelming majority of the comics market, they are, for most people, the most familiar face of the whole medium. Yet, the burgeoning academic interest in comics mostly seems to pass them by. Although superheros and more specifically their readers have been a subject of analysis from sociological and psychological perspectives, superhero comics themselves are probably perceived as still being a bit vulgar and shallow to merit any literary analysis.
Geoff Klock's How to Read Superhero Comics and Why (2003) aims to counter this perception and offers an interesting look at some of the most important works in the genre through literary perspective.
Klock specifies his object of analysis as the revisionary comics, a trend that started to evolve in the last two decades of the 20th Century. As a mark of maturity that has clearly identifiable beginnings, revisionary comic books have fundamentally recast the way comic book artists and audiences perceive the genre since their appereance.
Although Klock extends his analysis onto many works that follow them, his insights are arguably at their most incisive during his analysis of the two monumental works that has given birth to the revisionist trend in superhero comics. These two works are of course, Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore's Watchmen. By carefully identifying the way these seminal works relate themselves to the rest of the comic book history, Klock illustrates his argument that these works are indeed the first examples of a revisionist attitude in comic book artist.
Klock's rich and detailed reading of these important works are very illustrative, both in understanding the depth of Miller and Moore's significance but also in grasping the importance of the revisionist movement within the comic book history.
Although not as comprehensive as some other book I have covered so far, How to Read Superhero Comics is very enlightening and precise where it delivers its analytical perspective on some of the most important comic books ever written and for that measure, it is a work of unique value.