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It's a Bird Paperback – March 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401203116
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401203115
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.3 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #742,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The first rule of metafiction: stories about how the author can't think of what to write about are a bad idea. So a story about a comics writer named Steve who's been assigned to write Superman comics but can't come up with a way to write them seems unpromising. (Seagle wrote the Supermancomic for several years.) But Seagle and artist Kristiansen (with whom he collaborated on a couple of excellent House of Secrets books) come through. This isn't a Superman story, exactly; it's an experimental, refracted, semifictional memoir, with Superman-or, rather, the variety of ideas that Superman represents-as its central symbol. Kristiansen's inventive ink-and-watercolor artwork, a bit reminiscent of the Expressionist painter Egon Schiele, gives a crisp, arty look to the sections about Steve's progressively more messed-up personal life and family secret. (The latter has to do with Huntington's disease, the discussion of which here approaches Very Special Episode territory.) Both writer and artist shine on the sections that explore Steve's thoughts about what Superman means: Nietzschean übermensch, synthesizer of primary colors' symbolism, embodiment of benevolent violence, alien who's accepted where others aren't, etc. Kristiansen devises a distinct visual technique for each, often inspired by other 20th-century painters. It's a sweet, clever meditation on what makes the concept of Superman so powerful, and the troubled relationship between powerful concepts and creative narrative.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

A quarter-century after Harvey Pekar began American Splendor, autobiographical comics are more a cliche than a novelty, unless they come from a mainstream comic-book publisher and depict a superhero-comics creator's life. When Seagle was offered the chance to write Superman, his surprising response was to reject the plum assignment, contending that he couldn't relate to the unbelievable character. But the refusal coincided with other crises: his father's disappearance, his girlfriend's desire to have children, and, looming over all, the grim prospect of developing Huntington's disease, which had struck other family members. Kristiansen's expert illustration in a variety of styles adds a polish that smooths over the awkward passages in Seagle's sometimes overearnest script. Hardcore alternative-comics devotees may find this effort too slick and self-indulgent; superhero fans probably won't even bother to pick it up. Comics readers with a foot in both camps, however, will recognize Seagle as facing, albeit more urgently than most others, the kinds of questions every grown-up, including those still open to the adolescent charms of superheroes, confronts. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This is a beautifully written and illustrated story.
Cory C. Wagner
From human drama, to superhero deconstructionism, and even as an insight to the creative process of an author.
Patrick Gaffney
This is really one of the best graphic novels I've read in a long time.
d.c.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John on June 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have an affection for comic books but haven't kept up with the various graphic novels. I heard a radio spot on this book and was intrigued. The story has a real emotional kick that I suspect will be relevant for many people. I read it for Father's Day and couldn't help but reflect on the message that this has about the decision to have children as well as the many other thoughts that are expressed about how we choose to live our lives. Variously introspective and contemplative about the world condition, the book grabs our interest with both ideas and art. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steven W. Kendrick on May 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
Steven Seagle presents a wonderful journey into the mind of a writer and the search for meaning in an iconic character that has almost lost meaning as being the ultimate American hero. The author takes issue with the "reality" behind the fantasy and ends up seeing the strengths and the beauty behind Clark Kent/Superman/Kal-El.

The art is whispy yet strong and striking. An oddity in modern superhero comics and manga influnced books, which is a shame.

A very entertaining and enlightening book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Paul Price on May 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is the autobiographical story of writer Steven T. Seagle's struggle with an offer to write one of the monthly Superman comics. Why the struggle? Seagle has associated Superman with a disease that runs in his family. He resents Superman's perfection in relation to the slow, nasty death he fears awaits him. Despite being annoyed by the patent irrationality of resenting a fictional character, and the self pity about possibly dying of this disease (few folks' death is actually pleasant, after all), I found myself respecting the book for the skill with which the story was told. It's not easy to get inside a character's head the way this book does. Seagle's words are honest, and the art work is very expressive.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mark Eisenman on November 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
It amazes me sometimes what you can find amid the mass of superhero spandex in the comic world these days. Don't get me wrong there is a large, and growing larger, area of comics that has nothing to do with superheros. But this book is a mix of both. Steven takes his mostly true tale of having the opportunity to write superman and the trouble he faces trying to write a character that he feels he can't write. He's know for his surreal vertigo work and getting superman seems just beyond him. How does a man that wants to be a serious writer and a serious writer of comics take on the biggest of american comic book icons? well you'll have to read this incredibly drawn and written graphic novel.
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By Sam Quixote TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 23, 2014
Format: Paperback
It’s a dream assignment for many comics writers: a call from DC with the offer to write Superman! The most iconic superhero of all time, Superman is a legendary character whose symbol is recognised across the globe and whose story is known by millions. After 75 years, Superman continues to endure and, thanks to a new wave of movies, is more popular than ever. What an opportunity for any writer to add to the character!

That is, if the writer has a storyline to offer - which Steven Seagle doesn’t, both in the book and actually. His character in the book is basically him, an artsy-fartsy comics writer who dabbles with commercial comics to pay the bills. He read a Superman comic when he was a kid and then avoided them ever since, reading “proper” books instead. The book follows Seagle’s attempts to figure out a way in to the character, as well as talking about a genetic illness that plagues his family: Huntington’s Disease.

The fact that this is published by Vertigo, DC’s indie arm, should tell you this isn’t going to be your regular Superman book. Superman is a background detail mentioned in passing here and there and the main story is Seagle and Huntington’s Disease. And it’s a horrifying illness. It cripples the mind and body, sends the sufferer into involuntary seizures, and slowly kills you; there is no cure.

Seagle’s grandmother died of it, his aunt is currently stricken with it and he fears that he’s in line to receive it, though he’s told it skips generations. That angle of the book is interesting if depressing. Seagle becomes a human being and his actions are understandable from this perspective, even if he comes off as a thoroughly unpleasant and pretentious man throughout.
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By Cory C. Wagner on September 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A bittersweet Superman story that does not have Superman in it. This is a beautifully written and illustrated story. Word.
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Format: Paperback
I wasn't quite sure what this was- I got it in a load of graphic novels bought as part of a dump sale based on the title and the fact I liked Seagle as a writer on other books, The book is not about Superman but rather is Seagle exploring in a psychological manner why he has trouble writing the character. In the process the book really becomes a tale of dealing with genetic diseases.
Normally I hate semi-autobiographical graphic novels about artists and writers because often they really have not had a lot of experience in the broader world.
Seagle's writing though kept my interest throughout as he dealt not only with the issue of writing superman but the disease that afflicts his family
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