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Superman: Secret Identity Paperback – April 9, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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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. Busiek and Immonen start with mild-mannered teen Clark Kent, who, after years of being kidded about his name, suddenly discovers that he has powers like those of his fictional namesake. He feels obligated to use his capabilities for good but realizes that, to live a normal life, he has to operate in secret, performing his superfeats covertly. His precautions prove insufficiently protective, however, and government agents investigating the existence of a real-life superhero have ominous plans for him. Busiek here uses the same trick--setting characters with fantastic powers in a "real-life" world closely resembling that of readers--that has made his Astro City a critical favorite, and Immonen greatly aids him with quietly powerful, realistic artwork. Superman has remained popular for nearly 70 years because of the appeal of having powers "far beyond those of mortal men." Busiek gives us a glimpse of what actually possessing them would probably entail, taking a cue from the contemporary superheroic slogan, "With great power comes great responsibility." Gordon Flagg
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Review

SFX Magazine Feb 2005: "...moving, smart and stirring."; The Leeds Guide 26th Jan-10th Feb 2005: " ..a fascinating story...Immonen's artwork suits the story perfectly..." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Superman
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics (April 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401204511
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401204518
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.3 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Let me start by saying that I have never and will probably never read Superman comics. I don't really like Superman as a character that much. Why did I pick this up? I read Busiek's Astro City and enjoyed the human drama approach to his writing in "the tarnished Angel". I see this as somewhat similar in story telling approach. There is a definite melancholy to his writing in Superman SI, but it's not depressing. He talks about mortality, identity, our inherent weaknesses and how this conflicts with our desire to do good. If one needed a movie equivalent I guess you could say it's in the same vein as the Shawshank redemption in tone. The story's greatest strength I believe is it's ability to convey something that we comic book readers have always wanted/day dreamed about/wished for: super powers. What would it be like if suddenly we had super powers like that of Superman? How would we use them? What would happen to us? Unlike many superhero stories, this is grounded in our real world. Not Gotham or Metropolis. And as such we get to see what might happen in the case of powers suddenly thrusted upon us. It's detailed story telling with an emphasis on minutiae that ultimately do make a difference. there isn't a lot of action, so beware if you are expecting a rock 'em, sock 'em Superman. But, I found myself unable to put the book down. And although (as i said before) there is a certain elegy to the story, it's beautifully written and quite uplifting. One of the best "in the life and times of" stories I have ever read. And the artwork is excellent and well suited to the tone of the book.
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Format: Paperback
I just want to say that this is the best graphic novel I've read to date. As stated in the book's excellent intro, it is simply a collection of "stories" rather than a "series" that focuses on more of the reality of being Superman rather than the powers. There are no battles with super villans or anything you're normally used to, however, the book is so good and so well paced that the normalities you may be used to are not even missed. As a matter of fact, it's this aspect that contributes to the masterpiece it is. I usually read through other comics very quickly, one after the other. After reading this one, I just want to sit back and take it in. It truly is that good and deserves to be up there with the best of them. This one is a must have. Own it.
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Format: Paperback
This is basically a stand alone story that has no ties whatsoever to the DC Universe or any other superheoes for that matter. It is basically a story of an unfortunate young man in real life who is comically named Clark Kent. He later on discovers that not only does he share the comic book character's name but that he also has superpowers. The story follows Clark from his high school years and concludes with him growing old. The end result is you have a very moving and poignant story. A lot of credit muct be given to the writer Kurt Busiek who writes the entire story from the POV of Clark Kent and writes it in real-time. He manages to draw the readers into his direction of story-telling, so that you eventually stop caring and questioning the whos and whys of Clark's powers. And instead of being concerned with the past, you are eager to follow Clark Kent into the future. This is a surprisingly good story that has nothing to do with Superman and would have worked just as well with anyone names Frogman, Garbageman etc. But naming him Superman, just gives you a hint of familiarity. Do youself a favor and pick this up.
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Format: Paperback
Simply put, SECRET IDENTITY may be the best comic offering ... ever. In a time when writing seems to take a back seat to flashy art, Kurt Busiek remains the readers' best amigo. Rarely have I finished a comic and had a big smile on my face, or found myself nodding in agreement and happiness. S.I. did both for me. In this unique imagining of the Superman mythos, Busiek and artist Immonen place *story* way ahead of flashy action or villains. This world has no heroes, no villains. A young lad, who happens to be named Clark Kent, endures the childish taunts of his peers because he shares the moniker of a popular comicbook hero. Funny then, that, Clark eventually discovers he *has* superpowers!

Of course, a flying do-gooder causes our government to be suspicious, and they try to nab "Supes." And this Supes is *scared.* He just wants to live as normal life as possible (with the big exception of occasionally saving people from major disasters!). He eventually makes a "deal" with the covert side of our gov., gets a girlfriend, then gets married, then has twin daughters. Busiek's storytelling soars (pardon the pun) as you genuinely feel what Clark (and wife Lois) are going through.

I'm not even a big DC fan, but with anything Busiek gets his hands on, I, or anyone else, doesn't have to be. Just savor every written word, and in this case, Immonen's phenom pencils and inks. It's worth every penny.
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Format: Paperback
Who else but Kurt Busiek can take a character as iconic, as immortal, as familiar as Superman and turn into a literary character that is fresh, new and entirely relevant and fascinating today? After all, Kurt had long ago made it his main interest to study the different relationships so-called "super-heroes" could have with the real world and with real people, in his Astro City series and in his timeless masterpiece Marvels, and while other great authors, such as Alan Moore, Frank Miller and Grant Morrison, who toyed with these ideas in the late 80's when they were still trendy, moved on to explore new areas the graphic novel medium could be applied to, he is still fascinated with a genre that is as old as the medium itself, and keeps finding ways to make it new and fresh. It's only natural that he finally deals with the one character that started it all.

Busiek's take is original and unexpected; it's important for Superman fans to realize that the lead character in this story is not the Superman they know and love: as such, it's difficult to even consider it a `Superman story'. Secret Identity takes place not in Smallville and Metropolis, but in the real Kansas and New York City, and the protagonist is a young aspiring writer who just happens to be stuck with the unfortunate name Clark Kent.
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