It's Superman!

It's Superman!

by Tom De Haven

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Overview

The world's most popular and enduring super hero and acclaimed novelist Tom De Haven come together to create the extraordinary It's Superman!a novel that reinvents the early years of the Man of Steel. Opening with the young Clark Kent on a date, the novel takes an entirely fresh approach to the emergence of his superpowers and the start of his newspaper career, following him from rural 1930s Kansas across america to Hollywood in its golden age, and then to New York City. He meets a worldly Lois Lane and conniving political boss Lex Luthor, and begins his battles against criminal masterminds, mad scientists, and supervillains inspired by fascists. Sure to appeal to fans of the TV show Smallville and the novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, as well as devoted comic book readers, It's Superman is a fun and fast-paced novel of thrilling invention, heroic escapades, ill-fitting costumes, and super-sized coming-of-age angst.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345496751
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/25/2011
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 614,683
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Tom De Haven is the author of eight novels, including the Derby Dugan trilogy, hailed a wild ride" by the Boston Globe and "brimming with life and characters" by the New York Times Books Review. A frequent contributor to Entertainment Weekly and the New

What People are Saying About This

Atlanta Journal-Constititution

"...one of the finest interpretations of Superman in any medium."

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It's Superman! 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
DeHaven's novel is superb: the best version of the Superman myth available. Setting his novel during the Depression (during the very years that Cleveland teenagers Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel created Superman), DeHaven draws from the American culture of the time, recreating a gritty and totally believable setting for his story. The novel begins in Kansas in the mid-30's, where teenaged Clark Kent lives with his parents--and with an intense, painful self-awareness that by nature he is very different from other human beings. Smallville is a poor rural community on the Kansas plains through whichJohn Dillinger/Bonnie & Clyde-like criminals pass, and in which biogtry and racism are the norm. After series of crimes and the death of his mother, Clark is forced to flee--hitting the roads with a New York City newspaper photographer--who is fleeing the mob. The two make their war across the United States to LA and then eastward to New York City (aka, 'Metropolis') The novel also follows the life of Lois Lane--the head strong daughter of a World War II military officer who has moved to New York to pursue a career in journalism (and a life that includes Jazz, liquior and live-in boyfriends.) A third storyline concerns Lex Luther--the New York City official with underworld connections. This story line is as gritty,realistic and entertaining as 'The Godfather' or 'The Untouchables.' The three story lines--Clark Kent's, Lois Lane's and Lex Luther's--finally come together in the last quarter of the novel, and what emerges is the classic Superman myth with which we are all familiar. What is fascinating is the journey on which DeHaven takes the reader. DeHaven knowledge of everything from the films, the movies, the pulp magazines and popular culture of the 1930's is impressive and he shows how these cultural influences effect Clark, Lois, Lex and the extended cast of characters. In short the reader comes away realizing that Superman was a product of the American/Depression-era mind that he could not have emerged during any other time period. Aside from all of this, what elevates the novel artisically is it's focus on Clark's inner-battle to come to term with his human-nature--or his supposedlack of it. The final chapter in which Clark and Lois spot one another at the 1938 Broadway opening night of Thorton Wilder's 'Our Town' is--to put it simply--beautiful and moving. While comic books are certainly an art form to be appreciated on their own merits, and while super-heroes constitute what could be called the modern American pantheon, 'It's Superman' transforms the Superman myth into literature. If one knows nothing about Superman, and if one never sees a movie, TV show, graphic novel or comic book devoted to the character, 'It's Superman' will still provide a thought-provoking memorable reading experience.
ladycato on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a full-length novel, not a graphic novel, about Clark Kent becoming Superman. It's very well-written and researched, and is probably one of the best contemporary novels on the 1930s I've read. The voice, the racism, the pop culture references, all of it felt real and genuine. The story has heart. That said, I was surprised by the twists and turns this tale took. I expected Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and Lex Luthor, but not tangents such as riding along with hobos or going to Los Angeles. But then, I'm a casual Superman fan, and all this could be canon as far as I know. Another peculiar thing is that the story is in present tense, making it read like a comic without the illustrations. My main gripe is that all the main characters don't come together until the very end, which is a shame because they have such wonderful chemistry.Good book if you like Superman and literature based in the 1930s, but I don't think I'll be keeping it.
Amaunette on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Originally, I thought a book about how Clark Kent became Superman would be interesting. Instead, I ended up with historical fiction including details about the thirties I've never been interested enough to look up. The most creative thing about the series is the insecurities Clark has about his abilities, stemming mostly from his perceived lack of intelligence. If I wasn't so surprised by the lack of action, I'd say this was probably a good historical account of the Superman myth.
aproustian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fun, fast read with a very distinctive style--which I'd been afraid would become annoying, but it managaed to stay enjoyable throughout. De Haven creates excellent characterizations of Lex Luthor and Lois Lane especially. A good job with Clark Kent as well, although De Haven makes Clark the soul of the character while Superman is tacked on (not my personal preference, but well done here).
daywing More than 1 year ago
Tom DeHaven's "It's Superman" is one of those books in my library that I've read more than twice. Each time I'm transported to a different world and fantastical reality. The ride is enjoyable every single time. I just wish Mr. DeHaven has written more titles like this. I would have loved to see his treatment of other fantasy characters.
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Kalter More than 1 year ago
Tom De Haven takes us to pre-50's America. Clark Kent is far more interesting here and Tom delivers the 1930's accurately. This was a Batman Begins for me; the slate is clean and I can enjoy Superman without up-the-ante super-villains. The author is omniscient and deals with every character fairly, delivering them close up for inspection; a real joy to hear them speak and sense their motivations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Extremely well written and fascinating 'what if' look at the origins of Superman. The strength of the book were not the characters you already knew -- Clark, Lois, or Lex -- but the cast of original characters that fleshed out not only the story but the entire universe. This is the Silver Age Superman re-conceptualized for the real world (killer robots notwithstanding).
Guest More than 1 year ago
For everyone who has ever read a comic book here's a story you must hear. Tom De Haven's brilliant imagining of the early years of the iconic man of steel begins with 'Our version of the story opens on the last Saturday of May 1935 with the arrival of Sheriff Bill Dutcher at the police station in Smallville, Kansas.' For most that year, 1935, brings to mind the Depression and the attendant gloom, hopelessness that settled over our country. Times were especially tough in Kansas where a young farm boy, Clark Kent, watched as the once fertile earth turned dry. Oh, they can still make a living but it's a meager one. However, like maMy high school boys Clark is swept up in personal problems - maintaining his grade average and wondering about himself, the things that make him different. Life is almost the opposite in New York for Columbia student Lois Lane. She has a boyfriend, photographer Will Berg who soon finds himself accused of murdering his pawnbroker. He's innocent, of course, but has been framed by villainous politico Lex Luthor. Innocent or not Will is forced to run and who should he meet as he skedaddles across the country? Of course, Clark. What a pair they are as they crisscross the U.S. Clark learns a lot from his more sophisticated pal but not quite enough to prepare him for New York City, the tempting Lois Lane, and the challenges of leading a double life. Author De Haven mirrors a Depression ravaged America with painterly accuracy and engenders smiles as Clark comes to terms with who he is and what he might accomplish. Highly recommended. - Gail Cooke
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
For everyone who has ever read a comic book here's a story you must hear. Tom De Haven's brilliant imagining of the early years of the iconic man of steel begins with 'Our version of the story opens on the last Saturday of May 1935 with the arrival of Sheriff Bill Dutcher at the police station in Smallville, Kansas.' For most that year, 1935, brings to mind the Depression and the attendant gloom, hopelessness that settled over our country. Times were especially tough in Kansas where a young farm boy, Clark Kent, watched as the once fertile earth turned dry. Oh, they can still make a living but it's a meager one. However, like many high school boys Clark is swept up in personal problems - maintaining his grade average and wondering about himself, the things that make him different. Life is almost the opposite in New York for Columbia student Lois Lane. She has a boyfriend, photographer Will Berg who soon finds himself accused of murdering his pawnbroker. He's innocent, of course, but has been framed by villainous politico Lex Luthor. Innocent or not Will is forced to run and who should he meet as he skedaddles across the country? Of course, Clark. What a pair they are as they crisscross the U.S. Clark learns a lot from his more sophisticated pal but not quite enough to prepare him for New York City, the tempting Lois Lane, and the challenges of leading a double life. Author De Haven mirrors a Depression ravaged America with painterly accuracy and engenders smiles as Clark comes to terms with who he is and what he might accomplish. What more can be said about voice performer Scott Brick? He has garnered every professional honor - 18 Earphone Awards, an Audie Award for best science fiction, and an AudioFile magazine Golden Voice award. He expertly carries us through the coming of age and coming out of one of the most popular comic heroes of all time. Highly recommended. - Gail Cooke
Guest More than 1 year ago
First disclaimer: When people ask who I like better, Superman or Spiderman, I usually pick Spiderman. Second disclaimer: I have been a cultish follower of De Haven's books for about fifteen years. For my money, this is his best work. No spoilers here, but this is the Super-Backstory: How Clark Kent grows up. How Lois Lane grows up. How Lex Luthor gets bald. That much has been done before in comics, graphic novels, movie and TV serials, Smallville, etc. One of the reasons it keeps getting done is that a flying bulletproof guy, once you get over the initial surprise, is only so interesting. For the same reason we read People and watch Entertainment Tonight, we want to know how the flying bulletproof guy got that way. And who he's dating. And so on. With this book, instead of Entertainment Tonight, think History Channel. The Depression, when Superman was created, was a time of tremendous injustice, not just poverty. Young Clark witnesses some terrible things and, in one of the best parts of the book, uses his super powers to correct them in a predictable juvenile way. De Haven is the perfect writer to capture the story of Superman's early days. He was approached about writing the book in 1996, but was then working on his well-received 'Derby Dugan' trilogy, which involves a family of comic strip writers in the 1930's. D.C. waited, and DeHaven accepted the assignment in 2001. DeHaven provides rich details of the time. As always, he has a tremendous ear for dialogue. His Superman is real, and the plot gripping. Superman fans, and anyone who enjoys fine writing or a terrific yarn, will enjoy this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the wake of 'The Adventures of Kavalier and Klay,' I suppose it was only inevitable that we would soon see a Chabon-like effort using one of the actual characters dating from the late 1930s. Batman being a little too removed and exposed these days, Wonder Woman being, well, a woman with a fantastic mythological origin, and Captain America being too militaristic (or at least military- oriented) for some, I guess we come down to that most American of icons, the Everyman every man physically aspires to, Superman. Except that this isn't the Superman Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster wrote so greatly of. I suppose it's fashionable nowadays, especially in the comics realm after 'Watchmen' and 'Dark Knight Returns,' to give your heroes feet of clay -- a temper, sexual problems, inadequacies, etc. What no one seems to realize, however, is that when the 'grim and gritty' style was applied, it never worked with Superman. Superman IS a paragon, that's why they call him super! Self-doubt, fumbling words, unsureness of action...Superman never exhibited these. Even as Clark Kent, he only appeared to be an oaf to protect his secret identity -- you never got the impression that he really WAS an oaf. George Reeves (and to some extent Christopher Reeve) got that exactly right. Tom DeHaven, though, in countless examples, didn't. He makes both Kent AND Superman into an oaf...and in the end, you wonder why you should care so much about this character to begin with. Following that thought, the line between Clark Kent and Superman was something the character so jealously guarded that he wouldn't reveal himself to anyone, let alone his great love Lois...so why did DeHaven find Willi Berg, a character who doesn't exist in the comics, necessary to include as being in on things? This was a misfire. The other problem I brought up before was about showing a hero's sexual problems. Well, I know adult relationships existed long before the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s, but I honestly don't think, even in big cities, that being as loose as Lois Lane and some of the other female characters in this book was the rule rather than the exception. In the early comics, Lois came off as headstrong, and brash, but never lascivious, or the type you'd think would jump into bed with a man at any second. If anything, you'd swear she never needed a man, in fact never needed sex, because she was so dedicated to ruling the journalistic world. Truthfully, I have always found it conundrum enough to wonder why Superman would even be attracted to someone like Lois, especially when he had the good-natured and sweet hometown girl Lana Lang around. Why he'd want to love someone as shrill and shrewish as Lois Lane, especially the Lois of this novel (whom his 'best pal,' Willi Berg, already bedded, no less) is a mystery, one which this novel does nothing to explore. What saves this book from being a one-star is exactly what others have talked about: the richness of the American landscape. DeHaven is at his best here when describing the swathes of Kansas, the sprawling American Southwest, the newly-burgeoning Hollywood, and the confines of New York City. (Which, incidentally, he still could've called Metropolis, it wouldn't have hurt anything.) Dropping the names of celebrities famous in the 1930s but near-forgotten now also lent this work the verisimilitude DeHaven was aiming for but didn't quite achieve. Finally, unrelatedly, I give full props to the author for getting almost every other character right, from the too-little-explored Soda Wauters (read 'Etta Candy' if you're a Wonder Woman fan) to the sublimely-vicious Lex Luthor. Lex's selfish villainy drives this book as effectively as Gene Hackman's thinly-veneered evil drove the second half of the first Superman movie to great effect. While I can't quite see why Lex w
Guest More than 1 year ago
What makes this retelling of the Superman myth distinct is its period detail and unremarkable patience. DeHaven has rendered a Man of Steel beset, like the rest of America in the 30's, by the Great Depression. You don't need xray vision to see the literary allusions to 'The Grapes of Wrath' and 'Of Mice and Men,' as 19-year-old Clark Kent and his defacto best friend, misplaced Willi Berg, make their way across the Dust Bowl, to Hollywood, then to New York (DeHaven wisely chose to preserve the novel's veneer of plausibility by using NYC, and not a fictional Metropolis). Despite the single-bound-leaping pace, the author takes his time leading Clark to his destiny, and the story is the better for his restraint. The ultimate compliment for the book, I would think, would be that one need not be a comics fan at all to enjoy it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not too many people love superman the way I do. I have '3' tatoos 2 of the logo and one of him flying they way he looked in the 60's.The story stars very slow with clark growing up and then clark nor Suerman is in the story until 3/4 of the way in . then it starts to get good. I just wish that superman stays in thoughout the book thats why I give it 3*s
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was never a big comic book fan. I know the character of superman and the myth associated with him and was intrigued to see what Tom DeHaven did with the story. It is a fresh take on the series. I am a big fan of this book and would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of great novels. You do not have to be a comic book lover to enjoy this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Over my 30 years of reading comics I have seen and read many interpretations of the Superman mythos.With the novel It's Superman by Tom Dehaven comes one the purist and best interpretations I have ever read. This isn't the Superman of today but the Superman of the Golden Age of comics as invisioned by Seigel and Shuster. This is the Superman of the Depression Era and a world soon to be on the brink of it's second world war. In this novel we see a young Clark Kent as his powers emerge. All Clarks wants to do is fit in, to be human. As his powers grows he finds himself at a crossroad. What does he do with these powers? Should he help people? If he does then how will he live a normal life? The novels starts in 1935 and ends in 1938. In those 3 years we see Clark's power grow as he leaves Smallville and travels across the Depression torn United States. Also we learn of Lois Lane and Lex Luther who both are on a road with destiny with the Man Of Steel. Tom Dehaven has perfectly captured the Golden Age Superman. With the novel we see a man destined(Like the Clark of Smallville TV series) for greatness but not sure he is worthy of that destiny. And Mr.Dehaven writes Clark not as the confident hero but a young man who is unsure of who he is and where he belongs in the world. Another great thing about this novel it is steeped in history. Mr Dehaven shows a what the world was like in the Depression Era as if he was there himself. Especially of smalltown America. I was drwann into the story from his description of not just the time period but his characterization of Clark, Clark's father & mother Lois, Luther and all the other characters that grace this novel. This is a novel a fan of any era of comics can enjoy. Or if you just watch Smallville.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this has almost no tie-ins to the origanal plot. I felt it was a true waste of my money. who is this Willie guy and clark isnt that depressed. But for someone who doesnt live and breathe Superman like me i say go ahead
Guest More than 1 year ago
it,s superman is already out in bookstores, it came out 2 weeks ago. I have not read the book yet.