This is a pioneering work, and the reason I give it no more than three stars is that it feels like it's sketching out the agenda for a much longer book that has yet to be written. Having said that, this is an enjoyable read and has a lot to say about the links between magic and the occult, spirituality, both alternative and mainstream, and the development of superhero comics. The links are many, strange and often surprising.
The book covers a huge sweep of history, from ancient Egypt to present-day New York via Victorian London. While this broad scope is part of the joy of the book, it is also its downfall: it tries to cram too much into too little space. There are dozens of ideas here that could and should be explored in much greater depth. But then, as I said, this is a pioneering book and, as such, is to be welcomed.
Its central argument is that modern comic-book superheroes fulfil many of the roles undertaken in earlier times by the gods and heroes of paganism. Some comic book creators were/are clearly aware of the mythic possibilities of the art form. Jack Kirby, for example, re-created the Norse thunder god, Thor, as a costumed superhero. Kirby knowingly created the planet-eating entity, Galactus, as a stand-in for God, while his herald, the Silver Surfer, is often described as 'Christ-like.' Kirby went on to create a whole pantheon of New Gods for DC comics, openly stating his intention that they be deities for our own times. More recently, English writer and ritual magician, Alan Moore created (?) the goddess Promethea for an extraordinary comic book series that offers, among other things, a guide to the Kabalistic Tree of Life.
Our Gods Wear Spandex is a thought-provoking book packed with more ideas than you can shake a cosmic rod at. If you think there's more to comics than muscle-bound freaks beating seven bells out of each other, this book could turn you on to a whole alternative history of the world.