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BOOK REVIEW: FTN reviews How To Be A Superhero by Mark Edlitz

July 23rd, 2015 by Paddy Comments

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How To Be A Superhero
Written by: Mark Edlitz

Anyone who has more than a passing interest in comic book movies, and let’s face it, you wouldn’t be on this site if you didn’t, will find plenty to enjoy in Mark Edlitz’s exhaustive and compelling interviews with actors who have played comic book heroes onscreen across the generations.

Edlitz, who once had the job of holding a sheet over Val Kilmer so the press wouldn’t get a glimpse of his suit during filming of Batman Forever, has created a book that picks the minds of everyone from Adam West to Roger Moore – he actually makes a convincing argument for 007 being more of a superhero these days than anything else.

It’s fun and it’s enlightening as he talks to everyone from the original onscreen Spider-Man Nicholas Hammond to X-Men’s James Marsden.

If nothing else, it’s an intriguing look at how the mechanics of comic book film-making has changed over the decades. A chat with Matt Salinger, son of JD, who played Captain America in the disastrous Albert Pyun film in 1991, is particularly illuminating – especially when compared to the box office behemoth that the Marvel films are now.

It is often the case with this type of book that the author falls into the trap of simply paying lip service to the subject matter,  but thankfully Edlitz’s book is a cut above the usual fare in so many ways. The highlight is perhaps an interview with the great Tom Mankiewicz who was heavily involved in the writing of the first two Superman films and a number of James Bond movies in the late 60s/early 70s.

If there is a gripe, it’s that projects that never got off the ground aren’t covered. Mankiewicz famously penned a 1983 Batman script that would evolve into the Tim Burton film six years later.

That’s perhaps besides the point, though, as this is a book that is essential reading for any fan of comic book movies.

When the foreword is by no less a figure than David Mamet, you know the author knows his Dark Knights from his Howard The Ducks.

4 out of 5 Nerds


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Paddy Ryan, like Buck Rogers, is a man out of time. He's a loose cannon haunted by his past who, when he's not making painful attempts at humour, is busy watching as many geeky films and TV shows as possible. An avid reader, he has vowed one day to start that novel he's been talking about for years. Born in the late 70s, he's an 80s kid at heart who sees nothing wrong with spending hours upon hours watching season three of Robin Of Sherwood. Jason Connery wasn't that bad you know! He's got a million ideas for comic books but thankfully doesn't know anyone with the time to draw them and call his bluff on that one! The Empire Strikes Back is his favourite film, Doctor Who is his TV show of choice and when it comes to books ... well that's a whole other story! I'm Paddy Ryan and you're not...