Who Can Save Us Now?
(Free Press, 2008)
Twenty-two of today’s most talented writers unite in Who Can Save Us Now?, an anthology featuring brand-new superheroes equipped for the threats and challenges of the twenty-first century — with a few supervillains thrown in for good measure. Edited and with contributions by Owen King (We’re All in This Together) and John McNally (America’s Report Card), Who Can Save Us Now? enriches the superhero canon immeasurably.

With mutations stranger than the X-Men and with even more baggage than the Hulk, this next generation of superheroes is a far cry from your run-of-the-mill caped crusader. From the image-conscious and not-very-mysterious masked meathead who swoops in and sweeps the tough girl reporter off her feet; to the Meerkat, who overcomes his species’ cute and cuddly image to become the resident hero in a small Midwestern city; to the Silverfish, “the creepy superhero,” who fights crime while maintaining the slipperiest of identities; to Manna Man, who manipulates the minds of televangelists to serve his own righteous mission, these protectors (and in some cases antagonizers) of the innocent and the virtuous will delight literary enthusiasts and comic fans alike.

Featuring stories by Tom Bissell, Kelly Braffet, Lauren Grodstein, George Singleton, Scott Snyder, Jennifer Weiner, and David Yoo, as well as many other fiction luminaries, and with stunning illustrations by artist Chris Burnham, Who Can Save Us Now? offers a vibrant, funny, and truly unusual array of characters and their adventures.

Who Can Save Us Now? – Praise
Superhero tropes turn up in every short story of this new anthology, but its 22 authors eschew the tidy duality of hero/villain to stake out moral territory where the lines between good guys and bad fade to obscurity. As a result, Who Will Save Us Now? is a surprisingly varied read, by turns funny, creepy, melancholic and joyous. — Glen Weldon, NPR

This high-quality collection contains 22 original stories presenting brand-new superheroes for our postmodern age. Edited by King (We’re All in This Together) and McNally (America’s Report Card), each of whom also contributes a story, the volume features crime fighters struggling with labels like freaky and creepy and facing post-9/11 problems like registering with the Department of Homeland Security. Working out of places like Cleveland and Shreveport, they boast a mind-boggling array of mutant abilities. The stories’ authors have their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks as their superheroes declare “great legs!” to the girl in distress they’ve just saved, or boast that “I diverted a nuclear missile. I sidetracked a civil war. I removed a cat from a tree.” The eye-catching cover graphic is supplemented by interior black-and-white line drawings by the talented Chris Burnham. Fresh and fun, this collection is sure to please everyone from the classic comics lover to the newbie Heroes fan. Highly recommended for public libraries. Library Journal

These new superheroes are just as colorful and wily as their predecessors. Chicago Tribune

…These days, even as the superhero’s caped shadow envelopes mass popular culture, actual comic books and literary short fiction are both niche markets for obsessive fans… “Who Can Save Us Now?” has heroic virtues such that fans of either will find a lot to love. The NY Post

For those who wish to avoid the crush of “The Dark Knight,” this fresh, imaginative collection provides a new way of looking at the world. These superheroes have self-esteem issues or lucrative endorsement deals, are plagued by post-traumatic stress disorder, neuroses and televangelists. There is a light, clever touch to these 22 stories. — “Editor’s Choice,” Chicago Tribune

… authors John McNally and Owen King have invited 20 writers from across the genres to ponder what remains in the rousing anthology Who Can Save Us Now? Less myth-making than examination of our own fears, the anthology achieves the perfect balance between absurdity and realism. — Tod Goldberg, Las Vegas City Life

Seventy years after the creation of Superman is the world ready for Bad Karma Girl? The doomed damsel— she suffers bad luck so you don’t have to— is the kind of off-center superhero showcased in this poignant collection of 22 stories of super prose… No billion-dollar franchises here but a smart collection of post-modern heroics. — David Colton, USA Today

A group of some of today’s most imaginative short-story writers takes a crack at reinventing the traditional superhero, resulting in some offbeat, funny and surprisingly poignant stories. — Dan Murphy, The Buffalo News

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