Superheroes have provided entertainment for generations, but there is much more to these fictional characters than what first meets the eye. Superheros and Superegos: Analyzing the Minds Behind the Masks begins its exploration in 1938 with the creation of Superman and continues to the present, with a nod to the forerunners of superhero stories in the Bible and Greek, Roman, Norse, and Hindu myth. The first book about superheroes written by a psychiatrist in over 50 years, it invokes biological psychiatry to discuss such concepts as “body dysmorphic disorder,” as well as Jungian concepts of the shadow self that explain the appeal of the masked hero and the secret identity.
Readers will discover that the earliest superheroes represent fantasies about stopping Hitler, while more sophisticated and socially-oriented publishers used superheroes to encourage American participation in World War II. The book also explores themes such as how the feminist movement and the dramatic shift in women’s roles and rights were predicted by Wonder Woman and Sheena nearly 30 years before the dawn of the feminist era.