The latest Substandard is here; we spend about the first half of the show kibitzing, the second half of the show half-assing our way through some extra Solo: A Star Wars Story thoughts. Not necessarily our best episode; the embed is at the bottom of the post if I haven't turned you off entirely.
But one thing that is the best is Travis Smith's new book, Superhero Ethics: 10 Comic Book Heroes; 10 Ways to Save the World; Which One Do We Need Most Now? Now, granted, I'm a bit biased because I worked with Travis to help shepherd this thing into production. But still! It's a fun book aimed at folks who enjoy both high culture (the theories of the ancients, political philosophy) and low (comic books! Comic book movies!!!!) and thinking about the ways in which the latter can help us understand and appreciate the former.
The book is conceptualized, more or less, as a sort of crossover event: Ten heroes are pitted against each other in five matchups, with the winner from each moving on to a blockbuster battle royale in the conclusion. But the goal here isn't to discern who is "strongest," who could "win in a fight." Rather, Travis is trying to determine which of these heroes provides us a better model of living?
Thus, we ask which of the beastliest heroes, Hulk or Wolverine, is more virtuous? What can Iron Man and Green Lantern teach us about the power—and danger—of reimagining our societies however we see fit? Whose neighborhood would you rather live in: one patrolled by a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man or one guarded by a Dark Knight? Which life is more satisfying: Captain America's commitment to helping the community or Mr. Fantastic's life of the mind? And, finally, which god-like being offers us the best example, Superman or Thor?