May the dark gods of media bless io9. Charlie Jane Anders (no relation I'm aware of, but very nice) has written a review of Masked, my forthcoming anthology of superhero prose fiction, entitled "This book could teach Hollywood to do superheroes right."
"Masked, edited by Lou Anders, is a really strong collection of stories that play with the idea of superheroes in clever, often fascinating ways. There's a fair bit of metafictional commentary on the tropes of superhero stories, like costumes and secret identities and sidekicks — but it doesn't ever become too self-referential or navel-gazey about it. The stories get dark, especially the first few outings in the book, but they're dark in a thought-provoking way, not just angsty or 'grim and gritty,' as dark superhero stories are prone to be. ...The good thing about Masked, then, is that Anders gets stories from people who have a lot of experience with superheroes, or who obviously had a superhero story they wanted to write. The contributors include Secret Six writer Gail Simone, Incredible Hulk mastermind Peter David, X-Men: Dark Mirror author Marjorie Liu and comics veterans Bill Willingham and Mike Carey - as well as Paul Cornell, a regular Doctor Who writer and the new writer of Action Comics."
Charlie Jane talks about several stories individually, and goes on to say, "So anybody who is interested in superheroes will find enough new ideas in this book to make the already over-exposed spandex centurions seem like they could have a new lease on life, all over again. I especially want to mail a copy of this book to everyone in Hollywood who's working on the next generation of superhero blockbusters, because in the end, this book makes me think that superheroes aren't just rigidly attached to the Origin Story, the Misunderstood Hero Story, the Hero Almost Quits Story and the handful of others we keep seeing. You can use superheroes to tell any kind of story you want. And superheroes naturally tend to flourish in an environment with lots of worldbuilding, where they're surrounded by lots of other superheroes and tons of villains. Most of all, superheroes don't just allow us to ask the tough questions about whether just having power means we have to use it, and whether the identity we present to the world is who we really are — they demand it. So yeah, not bad for one wee anthology. You should check it out. Masked comes out July 20 (just in time for Comic Con) from Gallery Books."