Science of Superheroes / Edition 1

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Overview

The truth about superpowers . . . science fact or science fiction?

"An entertaining and informative guide to comic book wonders bound to come."
—Julius Schwartz, Editor Emeritus, DC Comics

Superman, Batman, The X-Men, Flash, Spider Man . . . they protect us from evildoers, defend truth and justice, and, occasionally, save our planet from certain doom. Yet, how much do we understand about their powers?

In this engaging yet serious work, Lois Gresh and Robert Weinberg attempt to answer that question once and for all. From X-ray vision to psychokinesis, invisibility to lightspeed locomotion, they take a hard, scientific look at the powers possessed by all of our most revered superheroes, and a few of the lesser ones, in an attempt to sort fact from fantasy. In the process, they unearth some shocking truths that will unsettle, alarm, and even terrify all but the most fiendish of supervillains.

Lois Gresh (Rochester, NY) has written eight novels and nonfiction books as well as dozens of short stories and has been nominated for national fiction awards six times.
Robert Weinberg (Oak Forest, IL) is a multiple award-winning author of novels, nonfiction books, short stories and comics.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
* "The best part of this book is not the science, which is fine but somewhat perfunctory, but the material on the various superheroes." (Sci-Fi, December 2002)

"...Gresh and Weinberg's wonderful little book is both a potted history of superhero comics, and a pop science manual for the extremely lazy..." (hero.ac.uk-Higher Education and Research Opportunities, 28 October 2002)

"...children who enjoyed the Spider-Man and X-men movies will delight in The Science of Superheroes.... Perfect for turning a comic-book obsession into an enthusiasm for the laboratory..."(The Times, 7 December 2002)

"...This is definitely a fun book..." (The Alchemist, 9 January 2003)

"...All in all I can thoroughly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in science and at least a nostalgic fondness for comics..." (Chemistry In Britain, December 2002)

"...The Science of Superheroes could be a useful tool for encouraging comic fans to delve into science..." (Physics World, February 2003)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471024606
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 9/17/2002
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 9.21 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

LOIS GRESH is the author of eight books and has been nominated for national fiction awards six times. She serves as Creative-Technical Director of a communications company and is coauthor, along with Robert Weinberg, of The Computers of Star Trek.

ROBERT WEINBERG?s fiction has been nominated for Hugo, World Fantasy, and Stoker Awards. He was the 2002 winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best Illustrated Narrative for his comic book series, Nightside. At present, Weinberg writes the comic book series Extinction Event for Wildstorm Comics. He previously served for twenty years as chairman of the Chicago Comicon, the second-largest comic convention in the United States.

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Table of Contents

Preface xi
A Word about the Law xix
Introduction: Men of Steel, Feathers of Fury xxi
Chapter 1 More Powerful than a Speeding Locomotive: Superman 1
The Superman Legend Begins 1
What Makes Superman Super? 3
Alien Visitors 4
The Drake Equation 8
Rare Earth? 12
A Question of Gravity 15
Chapter 2 Rays--Cosmic and Gamma: The Fantastic Four and the Incredible Hulk 19
Humble Beginnings 19
A Fantastic Foursome 21
Frankenstein's Monster--Marvel Style 22
The Perils of Technobabble 25
The GFP Hulk 29
Chapter 3 The Dark Knight: Batman 33
A NonSuper Superhero 33
The Science of Batman 35
The Gotham City Earthquake 43
Chapter 4 Under the Sea: Aquaman and Sub-Mariner 47
Undersea Heroes 47
Our Aquatic Ancestors? 50
Breathing Underwater 57
Pressure 58
Fluid Breathing 60
Talking to Fish 61
Chapter 5 Along Came a Spider: Spider-Man 65
With Great Power 65
The Power of a Spider? 70
Clones, Clones, and More Clones 77
Chapter 6 Green Lanterns and Black Holes: Magic, Science, and Two Green Lanterns 83
Wanted: An Unlimited Power Source 85
The Life and Death of Stars 86
The Origin of Black Holes 90
Yellow Light 96
Chapter 7 Of Atoms, Ants, and Giants: Ant Man and the Atom 99
Ant Man 99
The Square Cubed Law 101
The Atom 104
The Atom Exploded 107
Chapter 8 Fast, Fast, Fast: The Flash 115
Introducing the Flash 115
Problems with Logic 117
The Speed Barrier 125
Chapter 9 Good, Evil, and Indifferent Mutants: The X-Men 129
A Victory Snatched from the Ashes 129
The Case for Evolution 133
The Truth about Creationism 137
Creating the X-Men 142
Chapter 10 Mysteries in Space: Science Fiction Superheroes 145
Super Science without Super Hearoes 145
The Secrets of Other Worlds, Exposed! 147
Doomsday on Earth 150
Across the Ages 153
The Grandfather Paradox 157
Chapter 11 The Right Stuff: Donald Duck 161
The Real Deal 161
The Duck Man 162
Appendix A Who Missed the Cut? 167
Appendix B The Professionals Speak 171
Bibliography and Reading List 183
Acknowledgments 189
Index 191
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 9, 2011

    I agree with Julius Schwartz. It was entertaining and informative.

    I enjoyed reading this book, however it didn't say something that I didn't already know. Namely that superheroes couldn't really exist in real life. However, it did explain some science concepts in an entertaining matter.

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  • Posted January 1, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Very interesting and fun to read

    If you wonder if it is possible for superheroes to exist, then this book and others in The Science of Series (like the Science of Super Villains) is the book for you. I found it very interesting to related what I learned in my science class in school to what may be possible in the comic book world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2002

    Great fun for any fan of Superhero Comics

    I found this book to be a great read starting with the entertaining introduction by Dean Koontz all the way through the end of the book, concluding with a panel of comic book writers and artists talking about their feelings about science in comics. The authors wrote this book in an easy to follow style that didn't confuse the reader with too much technical material, but that blended together the comic book characters with the real-life science that contributed to their powers. The book featured a good blend of real science and imaginary science and pointed out how some comics like Batman relied on the real stuff, while others like the Flash completely ignored the basic rules of modern physics. This was a fun book and I only hope the authors produce a follow up volume covering some of the characters like Daredevil and Birds of Prey that aren't studied in this first book.

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