This excellent survey of pop deity origins begins with “the ur-god and his dark twin,” Superman and Batman. As Morrison sees it, “archetyped, pop-mythic tales of superpowered heroes and villains” soared into our collective imaginations in an explosive fashion. Superman, “the personification of a thrusting industrial tomorrow,” had a primal impact. Soon there was a pantheon of gods and figures from legend and myth: Hawkman (“an avatar of hawk-headed Horus”), the Flash (“the Greek god Hermes”) and Captain Marvel, whose magic word, “Shazam,” was an acronym: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury. (via Nonfiction Review: Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human by Grant Morrison. Spiegel & Grau, $28 (464p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6912-5)

randomWalks @randomWalks