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Comic Book Corner: The physics of superheroes

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The Physics of Superheroes

The Physics of Superheroes

The Physics of Superheroes


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By Faith Orcino

Staff Writer

Professor James Kakalios of the University of Minnesota applied real world physics to the fictional situations of comics in his 2005 book.  The book later got an expanded version in 2009 under the title The Physics of Superheroes: Spectacular Second Edition in 2009.  In both, he featured well-known characters like Spider-Man and Storm from Marvel and other comics with an aspect of science, discussing the difference and similarities of their application. While the book is mostly text, it includes a number of illustrations and panels from various comics.  Though there are much covered, the terminology and analyses are easy to follow, whether or not Physics or comics are your forte.

According to his page on the Physic department of UMN, Kakalios created the book after the formation of his freshman class “Everything I know About Physics I Learned by Reading Comic Books” in 2001.  Recently, he consulted the creative team of the “Amazing Spider-Man” 2012 movie, giving his insight to the staff on the details of the hero’s abilities.  Professor Kaklios also spoke at various locations, such as San Diego Comic Con International and the Library of Congress while working his research.  Both first and second editions are available online on sites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  For more information on the professor, visit his website, http://physicsofsuperheroes.com/

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