Count Geiger’s Blues follows the adventures of Xavier Thaxton, arts editor at a major Southern daily called the Salonika Urbanite. Thaxton thinks himself a superior man. His aesthetic standards are so lofty that he regards superheroes as pop-culture cock-and-bull, rock music as audible rubbish, and soap operas as the contemptible spew of script-writing committees.
While skinny-dipping in a pool polluted with radioactive waste, Thaxton is afflicted with superpowers all his own and becomes that which he most scorns. A radiation-induced ailment, the Philistine Syndrome, forces him to assume the persona of comic-book hero Count Geiger to allay its career- and indeed life-threatening symptoms.
Michael Bishop’s Count Geiger Blues, a novel of intellectual heft and self-spoofing kitsch, is a take on superheroes like no other: a rollicking foray into high and low culture that mines the vicissitudes and tragedies of everyday life for serious belly laughs and bona fide heartbreak.