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It's a Bird Paperback – March 1, 2005

4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401203116
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401203115
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #996,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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Format: Paperback
A beautiful book that had me utterly engrossed. I would recommend this book to anyone, especially any family suffering with congenital disease. It tells a unique, adult story in a whimsical and heartbreaking way. I love too see the graphic novel used to such affect.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I took this on a recommendation from a comic shop for a deep, moving book that grabs you like Blankets because I have read nothing like that since. This is a wonderful and searching story of this man's wrestling with his life and family. Highly recommended.
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By Michael on December 3, 2015
Format: Paperback
To be clear, this is not a Superman story. This is about a comic book writer and his feelings towards Superman.

This autobiographical story starts with Steven T. Seagle being offered the chance to write Superman by his editor. Throughout the book he struggles to find something about the character he can relate to, an "in" for the story. His attempts to zero in on exactly what he doesn't like bring about short dissections of all things Superman: his costume, powers, origins, etc, each serving as parallel to the real events occurring in his life. While these didn't emotionally grab me, I still enjoyed seeing him work through the problems, with all the kinks and errant thoughts that accompany trying to figure an issue out. However, as this is from 2004 and most of these critiques have been shared and adopted by people who never really had them in the first place, nothing here is new or insightful. Visit any comment section about Superman today and people can't wait to tell you how they "can't relate to a character who's so perfect."

Peppered lightly through his agonizing are nods to how much comics have changed, how people view them, and what they --and their heroes-- are expected to be versus what they are. And while the main character is very cynical, the book itself isn't. For sure there's judgement concerning Superman, but it's never done in a way that forces the reader to agree; we understand that this is the character's point of view and not one we're necessarily expected to adopt. This is a story of expression, not education.
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