á It's Superman! ↠´ Download by Þ Tom De Haven My cousin, who is a librarian, gave me an advanced readers edition of this book See, years and years ago, this guy who lived across the street from me showed me his comic book collection He showed me Iron Man I thought Iron Man was the bomb A dude in armor, he can fly and shoot lasers out of his hands what s not to love about comics 15 years later, I gave up on the medium, cause hell, who wants to pay 4 for a 22 page book Still my family associates me with comics I wasn t enthused when I got this book in the mail but there was something on the back of the book, a blurb from Comic World News saying, For those of you who share a love for books like Carter Beats the Devil or The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier Clay, It s Superman is so up your alley that it should be renamed The Book That s Very Up Your Alley, Starring Superman Now, I loved both Kavalier Clay and Carter Beats the Devil, so I thought, Maybe this isn t going to be so bad And you know it wasn t horrible But comparing Tom De Haven s book to Michael Chabon s book, and Glen David Gold s book is sort of like compairing a Thomas Kinkaide painting to a work of de Kooning Sure Willem de Kooning isn t the painter of light, nor has he yelled, Codpiece Codpiece at a Siegfried and Roy show, but homeboy s got artistic game that Kinkaide will never see.
That s sort of how I felt while reading this book It s nice It has words Superman fights robots, which sounds cool, but I wanted so much after reading that blurb Hey readers, if you liked To Kill a Mockingbird, then you ll love Garfield Blots Out the Sun it s his 43rd book Yeah, that s right 43 books of the same damn joke Just not worth all the work up.
Plus Clark Kent is a damn whiney baby You can fly well, at the very least jump high , deflect bullets, shoot lasers out of your eyes, and you have freeze breath, now how about you see if you can grow yourself some super balls then we ll talk.
I didn t really know what to expect with this novel I m not particularly interested in Superman and I m actually rather suspicious of novels based on others works which is rather bizarre for a fanfic writer, I must say I guess I was sucked in by the fantastic Chris Ware cover And hey, for once judging a book by its cover turned out to be a good thing It s Superman is immensely enjoyable, sweeping, and highly visual even without the aid of comic illustrations De Haven reexamines Superman s origin story, bringing the setting back to the era of the character s creation, the 1930s and the Great Depression Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and Lex Luthor are all compellingly presented, and seem like real people Clark s self doubt does a lot to make Superman interesting, and human No offense to the people of Krypton intended De Haven s OCs oh, and now watch me slip into fanfic parlance are fun and interesting too The book is a good 425 pages long and when I reached the end all I wanted was for it to keep going.
Coming Of Age In Rural S America With X Ray Vision, The Power To Stop Bullets, And The Ability To Fly Isn T Exactly Every Boy S Story So Just How Did Clark Kent, A Shy Farmer S Son, Grow Up To Be The Man Of Steel Follow Young Clark S Whirlwind Journey From Kansas To New York City S Daily Planet By Way Of Hollywood This Ace Reporter Is Not The Only Person Leading A Double Life In The Teeming Metropolis, Just The Only One Able To Leap Tall Buildings In A Single Bound A Skill That Comes In Handy When Battling Powerful Criminal Masterminds Like Scheming Lex Luthor And Fascist Robots But Can Clark S Midwestern Charm Save The Day And Win The Heart Of Stunning, Seen It All Newspaperwoman Lois Lane Or Is It A Job For Superman Look Deep Into The Soul Of A Pop Culture Legend Brilliantly Re Imagined In This Novel, Which Is As Inventive And Thrilling As It Is Touching And Wise I grew up pretty uninterested in Superman a dumb invincible jock Who cares , but lately I ve put my bias aside and done some research into the Superman mythos For starters, I watched all the Superman movies, and even Supergirl my recaps can be found here So when I heard about this book, I thought it would be a good introduction to the origin of Superman I was wrong.
Who is the audience for this book Is there some percentage of the Superman loving public that really demanded a post modern, anti majestic, neo realistic, cynical black humor retelling of the Man of Steel s origins, with Clark Kent almost a minor character, morally ambiguous and agnostic, even atheistic The author had so little to do to please me and he screwed it up Clark Kent leaves Smallville, goes to Metropolis annoyingly renamed New York City here , meet Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen replaced here by a Jewish cameraman on the lam with Kent and battle Lex Luthor, and maybe even a Nazi or robot or two Such a story would be entertaining, uplifting, even if it probably wouldn t pass as Big Thinkin Literature.
But De Haven here flucks it up Kent leaves Smallville, sure, but then he goes hoboing around and off to Hollywood to become a stuntman Which could be interesting, sure, but, well, it s not I know Superman has a long history of being a dick see superdickery if you don t believe me , and in the movies sometimes he s handled as an adult baby having a temper tantrum, but De Haven doesn t bother to portray him as anything but a shiftless, drifting ripoff of Spider Man Clark Kent is a drip, and he s boring.
Which could be fine, too, if the action picked up and he was actually doing something But De Haven apparently thinks it s too clich to make action scenes, you know, exciting, so he sort of thumbs over them with the barest of detail And what s worse is that Clark Kent is nothing than wallpaper for half the novel, swallowed up in the minutia of a thousand cast of characters whose heads we enter for NO REASON WHATSOEVER At worst, to me, entering a thousand pointless heads instead of two or three protagonists is a sign of bad writing at best, it s an attempt to make their often grisly deaths as jarring and meaningful as a snuff film Which brings up another point there was far too much death and black comedy in this book for it to ever seem like the story of Superman.
Another bad habit this author has is wearing his homework on his sleeve They met on a rainy weekday afternoon Lex deliberately arrived early and sat at the bar with his briefcase on the floor leaning against his right leg As he waited for Colluzo to appear he sipped a whiskey and watched in the back bar mirror as the fat English movie director Alfred Hitchcock entertained a table full of reporters Hitchcock was waving an ice cream cone, his wife and small daughter sitting there with him at the table with tight smiles on their faces With orotund delivery he was singing the praises of American ice cream, which he wouldn t trade for a steak and kidney pie, he said, or a broiled silversmith with carrots and dumplings, or even Kentish chicken pudding It sounded rehearsed to Lex Hitchcock was doing publicity for his new picture The review that Led had read in the Times made it sound good but he just hadn t gotten around to seeing it He hadn t gotten around to a lot of things 203 Not only is that passage an obnoxious show off piece, it is fluff and illustrates nothing What s the payoff to that paragraph We learn Lex Luthor is wishywashy about Hitchcock films Great Now imagine 400 pages of in your face 1930 s references, and everybody from the hot dog guy to a doorman in Los Angeles opinion on jazz music.
On the plus side, It s Superman was a quick read 400 pages in three days is crazy for me, so I must have liked reading it at least 25% of the time But I wouldn t even give De Haven that much credit this book has an inherent hook, the origin of Superman, and half the time I was probably wondering when Superman was actually going to appear But it only takes about 350 pages before De Haven starts to get the ball rolling.
Maybe only a genius like Dostoevsky can write a story about a genuinely and fundamentally good person, an optimist and an idiot who believes in truth, justice, and the American way, and has the power to force this cheerful will on everybody But to me at least I wish this author would have tried and failed to write a story like that, instead of handing in this first draft mush of drab, cheerless shit.
I give up I cannot physically finish this book, on account of it being as boring as paste Normally, I m pretty good at finishing even the most atrocious books I ve reviewed a couple before but this one wasn t just awful, it was boring It started off very strong, establishing Clark Kent as a bumbling kid from Kansas confused about his powers, and struggling to find his place in the world He decides to travel around the country a bit, getting a job as a movie stunt man, which was a very clever plot point, in my opinion His Superman suit, in this version, is actually an unused costume from a science fiction thriller Neat And then, he s just not in the book much any The second half of the book centers around Lex Luthor being an awful human being, and killing people He s joined by Lois Lane and a guy who s not Jimmy Olson, and they do some stuff, but, I really can t recall what It wasn t very exciting Luthor has a bunch of thugs who also kill people There s a subplot about robotsThis is the point I really stopped caring Like I said, this novel started off very strong, but it strayed towards the end when it became less about Superman, and about Lex Luthor The author was trying to keep a realistic feel to the entire tale, but I feel as though he strayed a bit, and really lost sight of what the book s original intent was to tell the story of Superman s origin.
It should really be titled It s Superman and then Lex Luthor and some Robots I really have no idea what was up with the robots There were only about 20 pages left I don t think they were ever going to be relevant.
Great story, very well written, intelligent and inspiring.
Sometimes random library picks yield wonderful surprise reads this was not one of them Occasionally, it s Superman delivered the goods a tense, action packed and faithful to the comicbook retelling of Clark Kent s odyssey from Smallville, KS to meeting and falling in love with Lois Lane in NYC More often than not, however, I found myself questioning the title of the book shouldn t it be called Where s Superman instead whenever it lapsed into over lengthy character analyses of minor players or turned into a moody thought piece trying to dissect Clark s psyche Author Tom De Haven is a gifted writer, but sometimes his machinations waxed bombastic in favor of stylistic flourish, in lieu of meaty substance his protagonist s necessitated.
I ve always hated those fan boys who go to a motion pictures based on a popular media phenomenon in this case, comic books and deliberately watched for all the areas where the film differed from the canonical comics so that they could immediately trash the film and pretend that they were the savior archivists of the comic book s tradition I always wished that they would get over it because the film medium is so different from the comic book medium and it would be either difficult, boring, or both to force the conceits of one medium upon the other.
So, it is with some trepidation that I admit that I didn t care a lot for this novel Oh, it had its moments Clark s encounter with the notorious armed robber, Pa Kent showing the wreckage of Clark s spaceship to him, Superman s first appearance in the Superman suit, and Lex Luthor s unveiling of his real intention with the Lexbot However, the new origin of the super suit, the new unintelligent Superman, the long delayed discoveries of Clark s super powers or, peculiar talents as they are described in the book , the cynical view of life espoused by Pa Kent, Willi, and Clark at various times, and the amoral ethical egoism of Superman and many of the other characters all combined for something than I could bear.
As a result, I finished the book, but I m not proud of myself for doing so For a longer explanation of my difficulties with the book, please check out my literary blog on this site.
this was a pretty good audiobook and different take on the Superman Origin story set in the 1930 s If you enjoy Superman, definitely check this out at your local library and wherever books are sold.
This book looked appealing, because it promised a literary and intelligent look at a cultural icon, and that sort of thing has always appealed to me It was literary, and literate It s a well written book And it was intelligent And it didn t insult the intelligence of the reader What it wasn t was very interesting I feel like this was a huge opportunity for something as dynamic as the title character, yet De Haven seemed intent on avoiding the big scenes and the big themes that could well have suited this subject Everything he writes is interesting and very well researched, insofar as authenticity to its time, it seems to me But if you re going to write a book about Superman and how he got to be who he is, I would hope you wouldn t save all your extraordinary action and conflict until the final quarter I enjoyed reading along, but kept thinking, When s it going to start Right after it finally did start, it stopped.
A serious novel on Superman, as well written as this one is, should leave the reader deeply moved, intensely affected in some way This one left me remembering how I d cried over the death of Superman story back in one of the 1960s comic books, and wondering why I felt so much moved then.