In 1965, Feiffer wrote what is arguably the first critical history of the comic book superheroes of the late 1930s and early 1940s, including Plastic Man, Batman, Superman, The Spirit and others. In the book, Feiffer writes about the unique the place of comics in the space between high and low art and the power which this space offers both the creator and reader.
The Great Comic Book Heroes is widely acknowledged to be the first book to analyze the juvenile medium of superhero comics in a critical manner, but without denying the iconic hold such works have over readers of all ages. Out of print for over 30 years, Feiffer's book discusses the role that the patriotic superhero played during World War II in shaping the public spirit of civilians and soldiers, as well as the escapist power these stories held over the zeitgeist of America. With wit and insight Feiffer discusses what the great comic book heroes meant to him as a child and later as an artist.