Becoming Superman: My Journey From Poverty to Hollywood

Becoming Superman: My Journey From Poverty to Hollywood


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Thursday, December 9


Featuring an introduction by Neil Gaiman!

“J. Michael Straczynski is, without question, one of the greatest science fiction minds of our time.”   — Max Brooks (World War Z)

For four decades, J. Michael Straczynski has been one of the most successful writers in Hollywood, one of the few to forge multiple careers in movies, television and comics.  Yet there’s one story he’s never told before: his own.

In this dazzling memoir, the acclaimed writer behind Babylon 5, Sense8, Clint Eastwood’s Changeling and Marvel’s Thor reveals how the power of creativity and imagination enabled him to overcome the horrors of his youth and a dysfunctional family haunted by madness, murder and a terrible secret.

Joe's early life nearly defies belief. Raised by damaged adults—a con-man grandfather and a manipulative grandmother, a violent, drunken father and a mother who was repeatedly institutionalized—Joe grew up in abject poverty, living in slums and projects when not on the road, crisscrossing the country in his father’s desperate attempts to escape the consequences of his past. 

To survive his abusive environment Joe found refuge in his beloved comics and his dreams, immersing himself in imaginary worlds populated by superheroes whose amazing powers allowed them to overcome any adversity. The deeper he read, the more he came to realize that he, too, had a superpower: the ability to tell stories and make everything come out the way he wanted it. But even as he found success, he could not escape a dark and shocking secret that hung over his family’s past, a violent truth that he uncovered over the course of decades involving mass murder.

Straczynski’s personal history has always been shrouded in mystery. Becoming Superman lays bare the facts of his life: a story of creation and darkness, hope and success, a larger-than-life villain and a little boy who became the hero of his own life.  It is also a compelling behind-the-scenes look at some of the most successful TV series and movies recognized around the world.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062857842
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/23/2019
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 1,127,898
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

J. Michael Straczynski has had one of the most varied careers of any American writer, penning hundreds of hours of television, comic books for Marvel and DC that have sold over 13 million copies, and movies that have grossed over a billion dollars.

Neil Gaiman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Norse Mythology, Neverwhere, and The Graveyard Book. Among his numerous literary awards are the Newbery and Carnegie medals, and the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, and Will Eisner awards. Originally from England, he now lives in America.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction Neil Gaiman xiii

Chapter 1 We Were Told 1

Chapter 2 Strange Relations 17

Chapter 3 Faster Than a Speeding Bullet 29

Chapter 4 Death as a Lifestyle 35

Chapter 5 Pigeon Dinner with a Slice of Watermelon 39

Chapter 6 The First One's Always Free 49

Chapter 7 The Face Behind the Mask 65

Chapter 8 The Wind Took Away His Name 73

Chapter 9 Being Invisible 81

Chapter 10 Targets of Opportunity 89

Chapter 11 Patricide by Proxy 103

Chapter 12 Discovering Words, Worlds, and Estrogen 115

Chapter 13 The God Thing 131

Chapter 14 The Weed of Evil Bears Strange Fruit 145

Chapter 15 The God Thing, Redux 155

Chapter 16 Blood in the Street 169

Chapter 17 When the Light at the End of the Tunnel Isn't a Train (For a Change) 183

Chapter 18 The Big Con 207

Chapter 19 God, Death, and Harlan Ellison 223

Chapter 20 An Unexpected Journey to Toon-Town 233

Chapter 21 Who Ya Gonna Call? 249

Chapter 22 Captain, My Captain 269

Chapter 23 Into the Zone 279

Chapter 24 Blowing Up the World 285

Chapter 25 Things I Learned Dancing with the Fatman 295

Chapter 26 Paging Jessica Fletcher 303

Chapter 27 Boarding Babylon 323

Chapter 28 The Christmas Ambush 333

Chapter 29 Swingin' with Spider-Man 355

Chapter 30 Lost in the Tall Grass with Jeremiah 367

Chapter 31 What Was I Thinking? 389

Chapter 32 Being Superman 407

Chapter 33 The Truth Unearthed 413

Chapter 34 Selah 433

Epilogue 441

Customer Reviews