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The Law of Superheroes by James Daily

The Law of Superheroes

by James Daily, Ryan Davidson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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7324164,469 (3.93)5
  1. 10
    The physics of superheroes by James Kakalios (Magus_Manders)
    Magus_Manders: Learn a subject! Expand your mind! Plan your friends in every comic debate!

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The concept is clever: take superhero stories and apply real-world US law to them. Could someone testify in court while concealing their true identity? How does property law work for immortal beings? Does Superman have to file flight plans with the FAA? Not only is it a fun take on familiar comic book characters but it's also a very good introduction to law in general. Parts are a bit dry, when the ratio of law to comic book leans a bit too far to the legal side, but by and large it's very accessible and entertaining. You don't need to be a legal scholar to appreciate follow along, and while it helps to at least be reasonably familiar with such big names as Superman, Iron Man, and the X-Men, you don't have to be a huge comic book geek either. Definitely recommended for comic book fans looking for a broad overview of law, or even just a new way of looking at some of their favorite characters. ( )
  melydia | Feb 23, 2014 |
An entertaining discussion of constitutional law. I think the use of the 'superheroes' is merely to be able to discuss the various aspects of law.

When it begins to worry about the law as it actually would apply to superheros I am, once again, reminded of a comment Robin Williams once made. When a film he was in was labelled 'not realistic' he replied, (more or less), It's not real, it's a movie.

Superheroes belong to the world of fiction - make believe - and thus belong to a world apart from our Supreme Court and its rulings. ( )
  mysterymax | Jul 26, 2013 |
Based on lawandthemultiverse.com, this breezy book has the benefit of plenty of illustrations, but its presentation of the law is generally devoid of nuance. While it’s not wrong for the sake of drama the way a Law & Order episode or a comic book might be, it’s probably a much better read if you don’t actually know any law. It starts with the preposterous statement that “[t]he terms ‘superhero’ and ‘supervillain’ are trademarks co-owned by Marvel Characters, Inc. and DC Comics, Inc. These terms are used throughout this book solely to refer descriptively to Marvel and DC characters.” I don’t presume to know whether Marvel & DC asked for this ridiculous disclaimer in return for agreeing not to contest the extensive and helpful (and fair use!) images in the book, but, just to be clear: (1) superhero and supervillain are generic terms, not trademarks; (2) even if they weren’t, the owner (since a trademark must have an owner, not two who don’t control each other’s behavior) would not have any claim against a book that used a term “wrongly.”

But at least this is a good indication of what you’re going to get: some entertaining/shallow discussion of various legal dilemmas in which comics characters might find themselves. I did like the discussion of masked superheroes testifying in court, and the point that DC has solved this problem with a constitutional amendment allowing “registered meta-humans” to testify masked, which then means that DC has already put in place the very provision that in the Marvelverse sparked Civil War: “while the DC workaround would be effective in the courts, it does not seem as if that universe has fully dealt with the implications of that solution.” Heh.

Unfortunately, while sensitive to the First Amendment implications of anti-mask laws, the authors badly mishandle the idea of newsworthiness when it comes to invasion of privacy, claiming that Peter Parker would have a cause of action against someone who revealed that he was Spiderman because Peter Parker “is just a working stiff, a news photographer and, perhaps most importantly, is often written as a minor. The public probably doesn’t have as much of an interest in knowing these details.” Um, no. Dude is Spiderman. That his secret identity seems like an ordinary Joe is no more relevant to whether the Spiderman-Peter Parker link is newsworthy than the ordinariness of the contents of Anthony Weiner’s boxer-briefs is relevant to the newsworthiness of the fact that a Congressman was sending pictures of his erection around. So, as the authors suggest, don’t take the book as offering legal advice. ( )
  rivkat | Jan 21, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As a regular reader of the blog this is based on, I enjoyed this book, although I had already read quite a bit of it on the internet.

This is a great way to explain real law in a fun and entertaining manner.

I thought the book was strongest when talking in generalities, such as the law as it would cover basic vigilante activity or super heroes who can fly, and when it was dealing with golden or silver age stories that are familiar to most everyone.

I thought that when they talked about more specific issues raised by recent comics that the book was less successful, This may just be because I haven't been following mainstream comics recently, but that's the point, A book like this should be accessible to general readers, and not just comic book geeks.

Still, there is a lot of information presented in a fun format and it should be required reading for comic book authors to keep them from going astray when dealing with issues of the law.
  haiirouchuujin | Oct 21, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
These are real attorneys citing real cases and talking about real law things. So even though we are talking about Spider-Man and Superman and a bunch of other imaginary people you learn a lot about the law. I’m not saying that you can pass the bar exam after reading this but you will definitely know stuff you didn’t know before you read it. (Unless you are an attorney yourself.) There are words like pursuant and other legal words but the book is not hard to understand. Many times the law will be quoted which could be hard to understand but then you are given an example of what it would look like in the real world (well, kind of) to help it make sense. There were only a couple of times when a term was used and then not explained so it takes you a minute but eventually you can work it out for yourself. It’s fun for anyone who likes comics and you get a good overview of law from copyright to immigration from criminal procedure to rights of privacy and everything in between. I found it all very interesting and would not have picked up a law book if it weren’t for the unique approach. ( )
  bedda | Oct 2, 2012 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Dailyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davidson, Ryanmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Sigal, ElkeDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
St. Pierre, JoeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Jennifer and Liesel
First words
[Introduction] Does Superman violate privacy laws when he uses his X-ray vision?
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
James Daily and Ryan Davidson are attorneys and comic enthusiasts and they explain what the hypothetical legal ramifications of many comic book issues.  You’ll learn if life in prison for an immortal would be cruel and unusual punishment or if a superhero would be able to get his stuff back from the heirs if he happens to come back from the grave.
Haiku summary
Fun look at our laws

And whether comic book folks

Follow all the rules.


No descriptions found.

(see all 2 descriptions)

"The dynamic duo behind the popular website LawAndTheMultiverse.com breaks down even the most advanced legal concepts for every self-proclaimed nerd. James Daily and Ryan Davidson--attorneys by day and comic enthusiasts all of the time--have clearly found their vocation, exploring the hypothetical legal ramifications of comic book tropes, characters, and powers down to the most deliciously trivial detail. The Law of Superheroes asks and answers crucial speculative questions about everything from constitutional law and criminal procedure to taxation, intellectual property, and torts, including: Could Superman sue if someone exposed his true identity as Clark Kent? Are members of the Legion of Doom vulnerable to prosecution under RICO? Do the heirs of a superhero who comes back from the dead get to keep their inherited property after their loved one is resurrected? Does it constitute 'cruel and unusual punishment' to sentence an immortal like Apocalypse to life in prison without the possibility of parole? Engaging, accessible, and teaching readers about the law through fun hypotheticals, The Law of Superheroes is a must-have for legal experts, comic nerds, and anyone who will ever be called upon to practice law in the comic multiverse"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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