The Science of Superheroes

The Science of Superheroes

3.61 (326 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , By (author)  , Introduction by 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days
When will my order arrive?


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.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 158 x 238 x 22mm | 480.81g
  • John Wiley & Sons Inc
  • Hoboken, NJ, United States
  • English
  • 0471024600
  • 9780471024606
  • 1,408,278

Flap copy

If the planet Krypton had a gravitational field strong enough to account for Superman's amazing strength, would it be possible to launch a rocket ship from the planet's surface? Assuming that the Flash could actually travel at the speed of light, would any villain ever stand a chance against him? Could evolution actually produce X-Men?

The Science of Superheroes takes a light-hearted but clear-headed look at the real science that underlies some of the greatest superhero comic books of all time, including Spider-Man, Batman, the Fantastic Four, and many more. Each chapter presents the story of the origin of one or more superheroes and asks intriguing questions that lead to fascinating discussions about the limits of science, the laws of nature, and the future of technology.

If gamma rays can't turn a 128-pound weakling into the Incredible Hulk, what could? Are Spider-Man's powers really those of a spider? Could a person ever breathe water like a fish? From telepathy to teleportation, from cloning to cosmic rays, this vastly entertaining romp through the nexus of science and fantasy separates the possible from the plausible and the barely plausible from the utterly ridiculous.

You'll discover the connection between black holes and green lanterns; what Galileo could have told Professor Pym about the stresses caused by shrinking and growing; and how many of Batman's "inventions" anticipated actual technological developments such as the jet pack, unmanned aerial surveillance, and the optical laser. You'll even learn how comic book writers use "technobabble" to create seemingly credible explanations of improbable superpowers and bizarre events.

Packed with fascinating accounts of how these characters were developed, The Science of Superheroes celebrates the ingenuity and imagination of the writers and artists who created them and offers helpful suggestions on how the origin stories of certain characters could be made more believable. It offers immensely enjoyable and informative reading for anyone who loves science, superheroes, or both.
show more

Back cover copy

"I found this book to be a hoot from beginning to end. Ms. Gresh and Mr. Weinberg must have spent some time in institutions for the deranged, because well-balanced minds could not have conceived of this project. But thank God for their derangement, for they have produced a package of pure fun from first page to last. If, like me, you admire superheroes from a distance, or if you are a hardcore fan of them, you will enjoy this book as surely as you would enjoy waking one morning to discover that you are invincible, able to fly, and in possession of a totally cool costume behind which to hide your true identity." --Dean Koontz, from the Introduction

"We comics fans have known it for years, of course: somewhere, in some nether dimension or on some alternate world, there is an Earth on which superheroes are real, living, breathing beings . . . and now Lois Gresh and Bob Weinberg have shown us how that's possible. Mutants . . . aliens . . . scientific geniuses with a penchant for wearing costumes and masks . . . or just plain Joes who?ve trained their bodies within an inch of their lives . . . all are probed, dissected, examined in loving details. To paraphrase an old DC Comics feature: Science says you?re wrong if you believe that The Science of Superheroes isn't more fun than a barrel of genetically-altered winged monkeys." --Roy Thomas, writer and editor of X-Men, Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, Superman, Justice League of America, Legion of Superheroes, Star Wars, and many other comic book classics

"Weinberg and Gresh tell it like it is and how it would be, if our favorite comic book characters actually existed. The Science of Superheroes is a fascinating and entertaining examination of everything from astrophysics to genetic biology to the evolution of the "superhero." --Mark Powers, editor of X-Men and Uncanny X-Men
show more

Review quote

* ""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..."" ( 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)
show more

About Robert Weinberg

LOIS GRESH has written dozens of suspense and science fiction stories, and has been nominated for national fiction awards six times. She is coauthor, along with Robert Weinberg, of The Computers of Star Trek.
ROBERT WEINBERG s fiction has been nominated for Hugo, World Fantasy, and Balrog Awards. He is a two-time winner of the World Fantasy Award as well as the recipient of a Bram Stoker Award. Weinberg also writes the comic book series Cable for Marvel Comics. He previously served for twenty-four years as chairman of the Chicago Comicon, the second-largest comic convention in the United States.
show more

Rating details

326 ratings
3.61 out of 5 stars
5 17% (57)
4 40% (129)
3 32% (105)
2 9% (29)
1 2% (6)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X