July 29, 2012

The Biography of Steel

OK, I admit it, I have a love/hate relationship with serious attempts to examine pop culture and its impact on mainstream culture. I'm finding that several times which include "....and Philosophy" in their title are geared more towards the hardcore philosopher than, say, the casual reader.

(I've had enough philosophy in college to really mess up my thinking, to paraphrase Steve Martin).

On the plus side, I really enjoy Sequart's work (currently making my way through Teenagers of the Future via Kindle Cloud Reader). And the most recent "hardbound" book I've read - and thoroughly enjoyed - is Larry Tye's Superman: The High Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero. 

Think of this book as a more fact-based, in-depth, text version of the 2007 documentary Look, Up in The Sky, focusing on the history of the character, but also providing some of the historical backdrop behind the character's creation. (Think of it as having a little bit more heft than Gerard Jones' Men of Tomorrow, which focused more on comics in general). Thankfully, the book does focus on the travails and experiences of Siegel and Shuster, but does so in a much more open-minded, honest way. (Neither man is necessarily portrayed as a saint, and in reading some of the details around past rights' violations and current  litigation....well, it shows that both sides may have acted less-than-pristinely.)

My only complaint? The book feels way too short. Granted, not much happens after the Byrne-era reboot (only the Death of Superman, the Lois and Clark show, and Superman Returns), but there seems to be more story there. Of course, that may just be my own frustration that the book seemed to end too soon.

Very highly recommended.

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