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Pulp Power Writer Neil McGinness Highlights A Forgotten Favorite Superhero - Exclusive

"Pulp Power: The Shadow, Doc Savage, and the Art of the Street & Smith Universe," a new art book by Neil McGinness, explores the history of the publishing company Street & Smith and the influence of its pulp heroes from the 1930s and '40s on the superhero genre. The Shadow (a clear precursor to Batman) and Doc Savage (who influenced Superman) were by far the most popular of Street & Smith's hero characters, but there are others worth looking at as well.

Looper got the chance to exclusively speak to McGinness about "Pulp Power" and asked him which of Street & Smith's lesser known heroes he feels deserves a spotlight. While many of the company's second-tier characters were essentially hybrids of The Shadow and Doc Savage, including characters such as The Avenger and The Whisperer, the one McGinness finds the most interesting is one that's more outside of the box: the meta-superhero Supersnipe.

Supersnipe was the first meta superhero

While other Street & Smith heroes got their start in prose fiction before being adapted into comic books, Supersnipe, created by writer-artist George Marcoux, was designed specifically for comics and as a meta commentary on the medium. McGinness explains, "'Supersnipe' is the story of a boy, Koppy McFad, who had the greatest amount of comics in the entire world. He would break the wall of reality when he would read his comics and transport himself into a superhero. Even though he would be still in his suburban bedroom with his parents downstairs, he was fighting evil creatures and villains all over the world in his imagination."

"That character, as an attempt, was to create a more younger-skewing character within this universe," McGinness continued. "[That] was really interesting, especially when we found instances where the Supersnipe character would team up with The Shadow and Doc Savage in their comic form, and they would unite — almost, in a sense, forming an early version of the Justice League before such a concept really came into being." In our age of superhero cinematic universes and "Deadpool"-style self-aware comedy, these forgotten comics prove surprisingly prescient of where popular culture was heading.

"Pulp Power: The Shadow, Doc Savage, and the Art of the Street & Smith Universe" is now available in stores.