This book took me weeks to finish! I read two other books while I was slogging through this one. The story of this book is fascinating, I just could not help wishing that either 1) someone else could have told it or 2) the book had gone though a more rigorous editing process. The general story is about Jewish immigrants and how through sheer pluck and determination they started the entire comics book genre, including Superman and a whole lot of other famous ones you have heard of. The book starts and ends with the creators of Superman, how they started out as two dopey kids with a dream and ended up nearly destitute and penniless... almost. The main narrative is great, however it’s constantly interrupted by the narratives of other players in the comics industry. So, you’re going along reading about Batman when all of the sudden it’s ten years earlier and you’re reading about someone else. It may just be me, but I had a very hard time keeping track of all the players since they all seemed to get introduced with equal weight and seriousness.
That said, I learned a lot from this book. I learned that the guy who invented Wonder Woman had two wives (at the same time!). I learned more than I ever thought I’d know about the Comics Code, where it came from and where it went, and I learned a lot about how and why Jews came to dominate the industry of what we now know as comic books. Fascinating stuff, but as I said, I wish the story had been told better because I think I would have loved it even more.