344 Clinton Street,
& then ring the buzzer for
Do you remember when I used to dye my hair blue-black, because it was the same colour as Superman's? I am really not joking when I say Superman is my model for ethical behavior. Superman sure is an informative book, but it is also a really boring book, as well. To be fair, in a post-Supergods landscape, it is probably really hard to do comic book journalism. Grant Morrison wrote a book about the history of comics, but it was also about drugs & magic? Difficult to top. A better comparison for this was De Haven's Our Hero, except Our Hero is shorter & De Haven is comfortable editorializing a little bit. Superman doesn't really have a thesis or a message...but what it does have is a meticulously researched history of the real life story of Superman, from four colour to motion picture. Actually, now that I've read it, I'm happy to keep it; the footnotes, bibliography & index are the major strength of the book. A few points: Bud Collyer, who helped define The Man of Steel in the original radio show, reminds me a lot like Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman in Batman: the Animated Series. Both define the role in deep, definitional ways, but often get passed over in "who is better?" rundowns. I'll say it: Christopher Reeve is the best Superman, & Kevin Conroy is the best Batman. Something that bugged me? Tye mentions that David Prowse helped train Christopher Reeve, to get him bulked up for the role of Superman, but he doesn't mention that Prowse was the guy inside of the Darth Vader suit. That is fun trivia! Even weirder, other then a brief mention of the animated movie, Tye doesn't talk about All-Star Superman, which is sort of the flagship Superman of the twenty-first century; it is the answer to Kingdom Come, in a way, much as Kingdom Come was an answer to the The Death of Superman. What I treasure most about this is that it shows the muddy river of history, & how various artists have gone panning for gold in it. Superman!