Book Spotlight–5/22/2011

It’s Superman! by Tom De Haven

Call it a fresh reinterpretation of a story ubiquitous in American culture. In It’s Superman!, author Tom De Haven places the Superman mythos squarely within an American historical context, providing a more realistic take on the life journey of a poor kid from Kansas during the Great Depression.

There’s no Superboy, no sudden, glorious instance where Kal-El dons the mantle of The Man of Steel. Instead, we follow a Clark Kent shaped by circumstance, as he bootstraps his way to New York City, via the WPA and a brief stint in Hollywood as a stuntman.

But for all its realism, It’s Superman doesn’t wallow in the disaffected, antiheroic rhetoric of Watchmen or The Dark Knight. De Haven gives us realism without losing any of the character’s magic. Instead, he gives that magic texture and depth. And he scores extra points for evoking the Fleischer cartoons of the 40s.

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