Literary Superfriends

by drpoppy

My Strand Bookstore tote bag is so totally geek-chic awesome I can hardly stand it:

For anyone who doesn’t know, this image, created by comic artist R.Sikoryak, is a play on the iconic image from the opening of the Super Friends television cartoon from the 70s and early 80s:

The core of the Super Friends/Justice League of America group consists of Superman, Batman, Robin, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman. They were joined by some, uh, much lesser-known sidekicks; in the first season (pictured above), these sidekicks were Wendy, Marvin, and Wonderdog (what?), but in the subsequent seasons–the ones I remember–the sidekicks were the famous Wonder Twins and their, um, purple space monkey, Gleek (huh?).

In any case, the Sikoryak literary version keeps the original configuration of two women and five men. (Sensibly, he has dispensed with the animals; though it might have been funny to have had a monkey typing out Hamlet, but oh, well.) He has also drawn Shakespeare in the Superman stance, which I love. I would pretty much agree with Shakespeare being the Superman of literature.

After the Shakespeare/Superman configuration, though, things get less obviously transposed (which of these authors, for instance, is Batman? Which two are the ineffectual sidekicks?), but what I’m interested in is the choices. In case you can’t tell, the authors pictured are (left to right): Dante, Emily Bronte, Herman Melville, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Homer, and Oscar Wilde.

(Side note: I love that Dante appears to be wearing a fleece slanket, and Oscar Wilde is wearing what appear to be breeches and tights, a fashion choice that would have been a good 100 years behind the times for him. But he is also wearing the green carnation, so it’s all good.)

So, what do we think of this? Personally, I am a little surprised that Emily rather than Charlotte Bronte was chosen, though I suppose Emily might be perceived as having more spunk. Austen seems right, but Wilde and Melville are a little surprising to me, too. And when you throw Dante and Homer in, everything suddenly seems enormous in scope: how can we decide on the superheroes of literature if we can’t even confine ourselves to the English language? Obviously Dante and Homer and hard-hitters in the Western tradition, but if we’re not even going to narrow it to English, how can we narrow it down to only seven figures? Does this accurately represent the most super-heroic authors of Western literature? If not, who would you replace, and with whom?

Who are your picks for the seven Super Friends of literature?

(Oh, and before anyone accuses me of over-thinking trivialities: this is all in good fun, folks.)