A celebration of Superman's life and history?in time for his 75th birthday
How has the Big Blue Boy Scout stayed so popular for so long? How has he changed with the times, and what essential aspects of him have remained constant? This fascinating biography examines Superman as a cultural phenomenon through 75 years of action-packed adventures, from his early years as a social activist in circus tights to his growth into the internationally renowned demigod he is today.
Chronicles the ever-evolving Man of Steel and his world?not just the men and women behind the comics, movies and shows, but his continually shifting origin story, burgeoning powers, and the colorful cast of trusted friends and deadly villains that surround himPlaces every iteration of the Man of Steel into the character's greater, decades-long story: From Bud Collyer to Henry Cavill, World War II propagandist to peanut butter pitchman, Super Pup to Super Friends, comic strip to Broadway musical, Lori Lemaris to Lois & Clark?it's all hereAffectionate, in-depth analyses of the hero's most beloved adventures, in and out of the comics?his most iconic Golden Age tales, goofiest Silver Age exploits, and the contemporary film, television, and comics stories that keep him alive todayWritten by NPR book critic, blogger, and resident comic book expert, Glen Weldon
Weldon, who reviews comics for NPR, has penned an excellent portrait of the Man of Steel, managing to be fan-crazed and critical at the same time. Starting with a look at Superman's goody-two-shoes reputation, Weldon dares to ask, "Why has a schmuck like that endured for seventy-five years?" His answer is Superman's motivation he "puts the needs of others over those of himself" and he "never gives up." Weldon wonderfully details the many twists and turns in Superman's career, beginning with a look at how the comic's creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster borrowed many traits from other comic figures in the 1930s, from Popeye to The Shadow. Weldon analyzes the shift from going after "petty crooks, crooked politicians, and those who exploited the working class" in the 1930s and 1940s to a trend towards "increasingly kid-oriented" stories after the Comic Code was instituted in the 1950s. Weldon is excellent at showing how, in the 1960s, "when Superman's writers gave themselves license to dream up anything they could, they invariably dreamed the American dream of the fifties."