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It's a Bird
     

It's a Bird

by Steven T. Seagle
 

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Gorgeously painted by European artist, Teddy Kristiansen, It's A Bird... is a Superman story that doesn't feature Superman at all. Rather, this unique graphic novel explores what the icon of Superman means to the world. Told from the perspective of an author who has written tales about Superman, this book explores the overwhelming effect that the Man of Steel has

Overview

Gorgeously painted by European artist, Teddy Kristiansen, It's A Bird... is a Superman story that doesn't feature Superman at all. Rather, this unique graphic novel explores what the icon of Superman means to the world. Told from the perspective of an author who has written tales about Superman, this book explores the overwhelming effect that the Man of Steel has had on society. A compelling narrative told in a variety of experimental styles, It's A Bird weaves two interlocking stories: one that ultimately explores our own mortality and another that dissects the symbolic and cultural elements which make up Supeman's mythic importance.

Editorial Reviews

The New Yorker
What the adventures of muscle-bound, crime-fighting superheroes are to mainstream comics, the existential crises of kvetchy, self-loathing comics writers are to graphic novels. In this semi-autobiographical book, the two genres collide when Steve, a comics writer—and stand-in for the author—is asked to take over “Superman,” a job most of his colleagues would kill for. Steve is haunted by his family’s history of Huntington’s disease, a genetic curse that makes Superman’s celebrated invulnerability seem distastefully phony. Alternately hostile and depressive, Steve produces a series of strikingly original meditations on Superman’s powers, his origins, and his relationship to humanity. Kristiansen’s muted watercolor washes, the furthest possible remove from the Man of Tomorrow’s primary colors, echo the prevailing tone of anguished doubt.
David Colton
Seagle's writing has the vérité of American Splendor's Harvey Pekar; Kristiansen's art is spare and limber; the book's payoff is satisfying and wise … It's a Bird brings us closer yet to the battles between good, evil and acceptance that must be fought before any of us can truly fly.
USA Today
Dan Nadel
With It's a Bird, Seagle and Kristiansen have only outlined a penetrating analysis of superheroes and the writing life.
The Washington Post
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 Superman comic 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 ubermensch, 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. (Apr. 14) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In the past 60-plus years, DC has found many ways to explore the myth and meaning of Superman, the most iconic character in comics, but none has been quite like this. In this semi-autobiographical tale, comics writer Steve has been offered Superman as his latest assignment. Trouble is, Steve doesn't like Superman--he can't relate to a character he sees as fundamentally inhuman. Then Steve gets another assignment, this time from his mother: to find his father, who has disappeared. Steve's family has a secret: Huntington's Disease, an inherited, incurable, fatal disorder that destroys the nervous system. Steve's dad could have it, Steve could develop it, and Steve worries that if he and his girlfriend have kids, the kids could die from it. While Steve searches for his father, he tries to find an approach to Superman, riffing on various aspects of Superman's mythos--the costume, kryptonite, Smallville, Nietzsche's "ubermensch"--and Kristiansen, in a remarkable display of versatility, illustrates each of these short meditations in a different and wholly appropriate painted style while also sensitively portraying Steve's deftly and movingly told family story. Strongly recommended for readers mid-teen and up, even if--and perhaps especially if--they're not Superman fans. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781401201098
Publisher:
DC Comics
Publication date:
05/28/2004
Pages:
134
Product dimensions:
6.92(w) x 10.46(h) x 0.51(d)
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Steven T. Seagle is an American writer who works in the comic book, television, film, live theater, video game, and animation, industries. He is best known for his nationally acclaimed graphic novel memoir It's a Bird (Vertigo,),and as part of his Man of Action Studios (with Duncan Rouleau, Joe Casey and Joe Kelly) which created the animated Cartoon Network series Ben 10 responsible for both Cartoon Network's highest-rated single program and highest rated series premiere.

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