On the Origin of Superheroes by Chris Gavaler (2015)
Superman made his debut in Action Comics in the 1930s, but superheroes existed long before that. Author Chris Gavaler argues that superhero mythology has existed as long as the universe, which he asserts is billions of years old. Gavaler starts with the Big Bang Theory, then examines different historical figures as well as fictional characters to establish his premise. If you can overlook Gavaler’s belief in the big bang and an old earth, this is an interesting examination of the basis of the modern superhero.
The book is a somewhat scholarly read, not for the easily bored or distracted. Some of Gavaler’s references and comparisons can be confusing, and the reader may have to reread several paragraphs to grasp exactly what is being said at times. I would not recommend it to younger comic book fans, but perhaps college age readers with a recent familiarity of world history would enjoy it.