Yale University Press
Available online
Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through 1 September

After I ooh and aah over the bold colours and steel-plated cover of “Superheroes,” I next notice the glossy pages which smell just like the trading cards I remember as a kid. Those were of superheroes, too, and they captured the frames of the big summer popcorn movies where capes were the norm and nothing could be bold or bright enough. Appropriately, Michael Chabon pens the foreword to this very cool book. He tells us about a cautionary tale he heard as a child in Sunday school – about how a young boy thought he was Superman, tied a red towel around his neck, and jumped off the roof. But really, nothing can make a true comic book fan be deterred from soaking up the fantasy late at night, under the covers, the battery in the flashlight growing weaker by the minute. The glossy pages here are not only a companion piece to the exhibit at the Met, but a thick slice of evidence as to how these fantastical characters inspire and cross-over into the world of fashion. Of particular note, folks like Giorgio Armani, Rossella Jardini, Catherine Malandrino and John Galliano. I must admit, to look at the artwork from the original comics, then to the production stills from film and television adaptations, and finally onto the runways of the world…this is a very groovy dialogue that is taking place, and one that not a lot of people are actually talking about.