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Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Wednesday Comics: Ubermensch!
This post my be cheating a bit on the Wednesday Comics mission statement, but hopefully it will be of interest to the comics crowd.
I've generally found superhero prose lackluster, at best, and superhero themed prose anthologies are even more of a mixed bag that most anthologies. Even the Wild Cards series with its interesting alternate history universe has its share of clunkers. I can't vouch for the whole anthology, but Super Stories of Heroes & Villains includes one of my favorite superhero short-stories: Kim Newman's alternate fictional history story, "Ubermensch!"
As the name might suggest, "Ubermensch!" is the story of a German Superman, a Nazi Superman--and the Jewish Nazi hunter who comes to kill him. Along the way, it drops hints at an alternate history informed by German cinema and pulp fiction where Berlin is a futuristic city called Metropolis, and the Ubermensch's enemies are Graf Orlock, Dr. Mabuse, and Rotwang. There are annotations here--but read the short story first, lest you deprive yourself of the pleasure of discovering the easter eggs on your own.
There is also this award-winning short film based on it, though they remove a lot of the references that enrich the backstory: