First Look: Meta-Hero Worship

For a literary critics' darling, JONATHAN LETHEM spends a lot of time pondering guys in capes. His novel, The Fortress of Solitude, set in Brooklyn, N.Y., and various short stories include lovingly written passages on superheroes. Lethem is penning a Marvel comic, Omega the Unknown, due in 2006. "Marvel dared me to put my love on the line," says the author, who is reviving a little-known character from the '70s. Omega is "kind of a meta-superhero," he says, a "bewildered visitor to the Planet Earth" with--yes--a cape. Next we'd like to finally see that Philip Roth pop-up book.

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