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It's Superman! Hardcover – September 15, 2005

53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A focus on Clark Kent's high school years only makes comparison to the popular WB show Smallville all the more inevitable—and intentional. De Haven, whose Derby Dugan trilogy beautifully reimagined 20th-century American history through a pleasant sheen of media-tized irony, presents the man of steel as a sullen Depression-era teen, a bad WII-era reporter and as ambivalent about his super powers throughout, all with a kind of knowing that reflects a deep immersion in pulp. De Haven drives his coming-of-age tale toward Superman's first showdown with Lex Luthor and his robot "Lexbots" in the middle of (the real!) New York City—prompted, of course, by the need to save Lois Lane. He gets knocked off his feet by the Lexbots and temporarily dazed. He doesn't want to continue, doesn't think he can win. Suddenly, in an echo of recent Batman and Spiderman film adaptations, a disembodied voice rings out: "Now get off that silly chair and go do something. Doesn't matter what. Just do something, Clark." (It's his mother.) If that's not over-the-top enough, plenty of short chapters begin with lines like "Despite Lex Luthor's savvy and sensitive draft report on the Harlem race riot...." De Haven gives readers X-ray vision for determining when his tongue is in his cheek here; using it is great fun.(Nov. 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

If you enjoyed De Haven’s Derby Dugan trilogy or have fond memories of (or a continued obsession with) the Man of Steel, you’ll like It’s Superman!, a re-creation of Superman’s early life before 1938, when he first started to appear in comic strips and, later, books, radio and television shows, and movies. De Haven, who teaches creative writing at Virginia Commonwealth University, has added a sophisticated, well-rounded, and compelling addition to the Superman genre. In particular, he has an eye for authentic setting and character. Some parts "could be Steinbeck meets Smallville," notes The Palm Beach Post. The verdict: proof that Superman’s appeal has withstood the test of time.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; First Edition edition (September 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811844358
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811844352
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,484,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J. Beard on October 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I want to heartily urge everyone to read ITS SUPERMAN by Tom DeHaven, but also want to "warn" you that its a very different type of Superman story...in some ways.

Its basically Superman's "origin" but set more in the "real world" than ever before. You will find much, much more Clark Kent here than the Big Blue Boy Scout. There's real people populating this novel, real emotions, real actions, real personalities, and really wonderful, quirky characters and situations. DeHaven veers off from the comic book Superman mythos at various points but these diversions are worthwhile and fascinating.

One of the most interesting characters in the book is Lex Luthor. DeHaven paints him as the train wreck you can't look away from, evil and calculating, but intriguing and deep. He's a combination of the out-and-out villainous Luthor of legend and the more-recent crooked-businessman from the modern comics.

The dialogue is crisp and multi-faceted and the scenes are poignant and...humorous.

Yes, there's humor here, but this is definitely not a "comedy" novel. DeHaven's fans will know what to expect. The situations are sometimes so outrageous that you may laugh and smile at the same time you cringe and feel the horror.

Its not a pristine world this Superman lives in. Its a sweaty, often soiled world and all is not clean and bright. But is is captivating and literary.

Bravo, Mr. DeHaven. A truly unique novel.

Jim!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Maloney on October 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I was in my local comic book shop(yes I am a comic book geek and proud of it)when this book caught my eye. All I can say is it's not quite what I expected but far,far more.

The author touches all the main points of Superman's origin without being a slave to continuity. I particularly enjoy his grounding of the story in real Depression era America. He takes his time developing the characters instead of throwing Superman at the reader on page 1.

I'm about two-thirds of the way through at this point and have yet to even see Superman and you know something? I don't even miss him! I highly recommend this book to any comic book/superhero fan.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Scott Bresinger on September 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Tom DeHaven's novel "It's Superman!" is a slightly revisionist, somewhat satirical and all around entertaining retelling of the early days of the Man of Steel. Set in 1935, DeHaven's version has many of the characters that comics fans have known for decades, but he places them in a more realistic setting. Eighteen-year-old Clark Kent is a seemingly ordinary high school student coming of age in Smallville, Kansas. He longs to get away, but he doesn't want to abandon his ailing parents, who we are told adopted him under mysterious circumstances. Meanwhile, in the sprawling metropolis of New York City, plucky young reporter Lois Lane is trying to save her sometimes boyfriend Willi Berg from the clutches of corrupt city Alderman Lex Luthor, who has plans that can only be called megalomaniacal. Willi, on the lam, ends up in Smallville, where he befriends Clark. After living as hobos for a while, they briefly settle in Hollywood. Clark, who has long noticed that he has powers far beyond those of mortal men, becomes a movie stuntman, where he acquires a costume meant for some B-movie "scientifiction" serial. Before long, New York, and destiny, beckons.

DeHaven's main contribution to the Superman mythos, aside from the character of Willi Berg (a New York Jew who basically "conceptualizes" Clark's alter ego--something like Supe's real-life inventors, jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster), is to fill in the blanks from the original comic book stories. He puts in a lot of detail about the time period, in particular the politics and pop culture. This can sometimes be grating, as when he simply lists personages of the day, as if to say "look, I've done my research! Aren't you impressed?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By B. E. Beechler on November 28, 2006
Format: Unknown Binding Verified Purchase
Let me just get this out of the way first.

I really loved this book.

I am a huge fan of the two Elliot S! Maggin Superman novels and this novel by DeHaven is better than both.

John Prine has a great song entitled "Jesus, The Missing Years". It kinda, tangentially, touches on one of the great mysteries of western religion/history/literature. Where was Jesus during those years between his childhood with Mary and Joseph and the moment he stepped forward to be baptized by his first cousin, John? I often thought of that while reading It's Superman.

This novel, and make no mistake, it is a fully-realized novel, covers three years...1935-1938. While we start the book with Clark in Smallville...and a clever opening, "Our version of the story begins...", the real central character is a small-time con in Metropolis (here always New York) named William Berg. Will is dating a young journalism student named Lois Lane and he's decided to try to go legit by becoming a crime scene photographer. Through a series of circumstances, he finds himself in the right/wrong place to discover up-and-coming New York alderman, Lex Luthor, has a lot more ambition than anyone dreams. While on the run from Lex and his quickly organizing forces in Manhattan, Will (now using the last name Boring...wink, wink) finds himself in Kansas where he meets a young, hungry reporter for a small town newspaper. Clark, knowing there is more he should be doing in this life, decides to travel on with Will to California. There he will find true love for the first time (not Lois!), get work in the movies as a stuntman (somehow, he's never hurt!), and learn more about his developing powers.
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