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Superman: Birthright Paperback – October 1, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401202527
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401202521
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.4 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Superman's origins have been imagined and reimagined over the years. Here is a new take on the character's roots. Superman: Birthright retells the early chapters of Superman's story, from escape as an infant from the doomed planet Krypton to arrival as reporter Clark Kent at the Daily Planet and his first public exploits. Writer Waid puts his own spin on the legend, rethinking nearly every aspect of the venerable character while remaining respectful of his established history. Waid wisely integrates ideas from the popular TV series smallville but doesn't slavishly follow its innovations; for instance, a young Lex Luthor befriends Clark in high school, but unlike in the series, his sinister nature is clear even then. Waid similarly tweaks the rest of the well-known cast, from Lois Lane and Clark's other Planet colleagues to Ma and Pa Kent. Ironically, though he updates the character, Waid evokes Superman's pre-World War II incarnation, whom his Depression-reared creators kept engaged in righting society's ills. Leinil Francis Yu's stylized artwork is expressively dynamic to the point of caricature, but this larger-than-life visual approach befits the retelling of a myth. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Birthright has everything a Superman fan could want...Mark Waid was born to write Superman."—BrokenFrontier

"...a rich retelling and revamping of Superman's origin."—The Fourth Rail

Customer Reviews

The story moves along well and the characters are very memorable.
John Haslach
The thing I love about this story is that while this is obviously an origin story about Superman, it is also a Lois Lane and Lex Luthor origin story.
All in all, a must read for Superman fans everywhere and definitely a high recommendation for newcomers.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Brendan L. Agnew on September 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
"People know now, it stands for courage. It stands for hope. It stands for SUPERMAN."

What makes the Man of Tomorrow take his stand? What goes through a young boy's mind that causes him to don tights and a cape and a big red "S" and stand up to fight for truth, justice, and the American way? These are questions that get asked when the real question is, "Why should we care about a man who cannot be hurt?"

These are the questions that Mark Waid and Leinil Francis Yu set out to answer in Superman: Birthright.

This book was the big effort from DC to bring the Man of Steel into the 21st century, and it was the job of the writer, artist, and the rest of the collaborators to accomplish this while keeping true to the spirit of the character created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster. A new view of a familiar origin was needed, a new perspective on characters that had been loved for over six decades, and Superman Birthright accomplishes all that and more.

We first see Superman as Kal El, infant son of Jor El and Lara during Krypton's last dying hours. The familiar elements are there - his parents will send him to earth where his Kryptonian biology will gain incredible powers from the radiation of Earth's yellow sun, but before he goes, he is wrapped in the Flag of Krypton and given a recordings of its history. This is where Waid and Yu really start to dig into the mythology and explore some new motivations. The "S" symbol is not just the El family crest, not just a sign on a blanket sent with the last son of Krypton to his new home - it is a reminder of his heritage, a symbol of his people and what they stood for, and something that Clark Kent will always carry with him.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Diana Huang on November 16, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a big fan of the Superman world but it was only during this summer that I shelled out money to buy Superman products after seeing the latest movie. Two dvds of the Reeves movies snowballed into seven comic books. This was one of the seven. Out of all of them this one really stood out. I just love the first few pages. It is a given that it talks about his parents and how they sent him to earth in a pod. How they drew and colored and placed the panels and used them as part of the title and credit page and then a time Its like a openning title sequence for film... so beautiful. I'm like YES!!! THIS IS WHY I LOVE COMIC BOOKS! This story talks about a part of Clark's life that is rarely if never addressed. Life after Smallvile but pre Daily Planet. I like it for its youthful hip energy and the addressing of problems in a different country. Lois Lane is a big reason I follow this franchise. Seeing the many incarnations of her is watching the evolution of the independent modern woman. Some depictions leave more to be desired than others. The way they introduced her was refreshing. Her intelligence and her courage has a slightly new flavor. I'd like to see a follow up of this story arc. I recomend everyone pick up a copy and take a good look. I don't regret buying this one. I enjoy looking at it over and over.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By David Petersen on December 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
I read all of the bad reviews before picking up this trade, believing that it would pale in comparison to the John Byrne modern-age revamp of the character back in the 80s. I was almost tempted to tell the clerk at the store as she was ringing up the trade that I had changed my mind on buying it, thinking it might be a waste of $20. I sat down for a couple hours and read it front ot back, which is something I usually don't do for something 12 (comic) issues in length, and I found this instantly became my definitive origin for the Man of Steel, despite my love for Jeph Loeb's interpretation in his "Superman: For All Seasons." He wasn't instantly accepted by society as a savior, instead having to prove himself the hard way, against the machinations of a (for once) truly menacing Lex Luthor. This was the first trade in a while that I felt compelled to pick up again to flip through on the same day I read it. I'm generally a Marvel fan, but in these handful of instances such as with "Birthright" and "Batman: Year One" where DC publishes a gem that shines above the rest, at least within my opinion.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Yumeru on July 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
If you have ever felt that Superman has become an icon rather than a character, this story is a breath of fresh air. You actually get to see Clark Kent as a person, a fallible person, and how he constructs both the "Clark" and "Superman" personas. It also deals with the secondary characters intelligently. The Kents are real people with thoughts, feelings, and flaws rather than just paragons of American parenting. The reporters in the Daily Planet bullpen are well done as well, especially Lois. All in all, if you are a die hard Supes fan, or have never been able to connect with him as a character, this is worth a read.
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29 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Bart Easton on November 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
When Mark Waid and the editors at DC Comics first announced their plans for Superman: Birthright, I was excited. From all accounts, it looked like it was going to be the continuation of the Smallville Superman, taken out of the TV show and moved forwards eight or ten years, and the story of how that Clark Kent first came to put on the costume. Which I was quite excited for; the tying in of this newest part of the legend back to its original format seemed like a very good idea. By the end of the first issue, it was somewhat obvious that it was more Ultimate Superman than Smallville; while taking elements from the TV show, it was clearly set in its own universe.

But then came the big news; the sources from on high had ruled that, after seventeen years, Superman's origin had grown stale and needed revision - and that Birthright would henceforth be the origin of the one, true Superman. For a while, it seemed like the entire Superman universe was in limbo; was the S-man about to be rebooted? Were nearly two decades of history about to be written over? Well, yes and no.

It ended up that this story was designed to be a sort of prequel to the current Superman's history, that they were rewriting his history from the present but that it was actually to take place in the past. Unfortunately, either someone forgot to get Waid the memo or the story was too far along to change, as the entire run seems more like the first 12 issues of a new continuum than the rewriting of Superman's past in a way that would make sense in today's continuity.
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More About the Author

Mark Waid, a New York Times bestselling author, has written a wider variety of well-known comics characters than any other American comics author, from Superman to the Justice League to Spider-Man to Archie and hundreds of others. His award-winning graphic novel with artist Alex Ross, KINGDOM COME, is one of the best-selling comics collections of all time. (Secretly, however, he prefers SUPERMAN: BIRTHRIGHT and his IRREDEEMABLE collections as his favorite works he's produced.)

With over twenty years of experience in his field, Waid maintains a blog at that is full of advice for beginning writers and experienced authors both.

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