I stumbled across a review of Robert Mayer's 1977 postmodern superhero novel Superfolks somewhere on the Internet a few months ago, and I was intrigued enough to buy the novel secondhand from Amazon and read it one night when I should have been doing more productive work. It's a fun, quick read, and it isn't at all hard to see why Grant Morrison has said Alan Moore got all his ideas from Mayer, especially Miracleman.
I bring all this up because NPR's got a nice excerpt:
There were no more heroes.
Kennedy was dead, shot by an assassin in Dallas.
Batman and Robin were dead, killed when the Batmobile slammed into a bus carrying black children to school in the suburbs.
Superman was missing, and presumed dead, after a Kryptonite meteor fell on Metropolis.
The Marvel family was dead; struck down by lightning.
The Lone Ranger was dead; found with an arrow in his back after Tonto returned from a Red Power conference at Wounded Knee.
Mary Mantra was dead; cut to pieces by an Amtrak locomotive when Dr. Spock tied her to the tracks and she couldn't remove her gag.
Captain Mantra was in a sanitarium near Edgeville; said to be a helpless wretch ever since seeing his twin sister cut to shreds.
Only Wonder Woman was still in the public eye. And she had forsworn forever the use of her superpowers. Using her real name, Diana Prince, she was a leading spokesperson for women's liberation, an associate editor of Ms. magazine, a frequent guest on late-night talk shows. Her message was that the strength of Wonder Woman resides in all women and they must learn to use it. Battling to liberate womankind, she said, was more important than catching petty crooks. She sounded at times like a sinner repentant.
Even Snoopy had bought it; shot down by the Red Baron; missing in action over France...