Jun 28, 2013
You know it's summer, because superhero movies are flying into the theaters. This summer, it's Superman's turn in the sun.
Man of Steel is the most recent film incarnation of the exploits of Superman. Check out the hilariously on-the-nose summary from IMDB: "A young itinerant worker is forced to confront his secret extraterrestrial heritage when Earth is invaded by members of his race."
If you've seen Man of Steel and want to check out the other takes on this character, the library has plenty to keep you busy this summer. (Did you know that if you type "Superman" into our catalog, you'll get 497 results? Let us narrow that down for you!)
Check out the second most recent film portrayal of Superman with Superman Returns from 2006. The cast features Kevin Spacey and Parker Posey, which makes it seem like a quirky, independent movie (especially compared to Man of Steel.)
For many, the big red boots and tights of Christopher Reeve are pretty tough to fill. Watch 1978's Superman: The Movie and see how it stands up to more recent films. Followed by Superman 2 and Superman 3. (Remember when movies were numbered for our convenience?)
Superman also hit the small screen as well. In the early 1990s, Lois & Clark, the New Adventures of Superman, had quite the cult following. And in 2003, Smallville took a crack at the young and angsty adventures of Superman. And going way, way back, don't forget George Reeves in Adventures of Superman--this collection includes not just the first season but commercials of the time, other features and a documentary feature. (Sidebar on George Reeves: His mysterious death was fictionalized in the movie starring Ben Affleck: Hollywoodland.)
But enough of the films and tv series! Let's read a book!
Three recent nonfiction books explore the world of the man in the red cape and blue tights:
Superman: The Unauthorized Biography by Glen Weldon - How has the Big Blue Boy Scout stayed so popular for so long? How has he changed with the times, and what essential aspects of him have remained constant? This fascinating biography--written by NPR book critic, blogger, resident comic book expert and co-host of the excellent Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, Glen Weldon--examines Superman as a cultural phenomenon through 75 years of action-packed adventures, from his early years as a social activist in circus tights to his growth into the internationally renowned demigod he is today.
Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the Creators of Superman by Brad Ricca - A comprehensive literary biography of the creators of the Superman character draws on a decade of research and new discoveries to provide coverage of such lesser-known topics as the real inspiration for Lois Lane, Siegel's secret work during World War II and the story behind Siegel's father's suspicious death.
Superman: The High-flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero by Larry Tye - Seventy-five years after he came to life, Superman remains one of America's most adored and enduring heroes. Tye, the "New York Times"-bestselling author of "Satchel," has written the first history of the Man of Steel and the creators, designers, owners, and performers who made the icon.
If you'd like a little more fiction in your Superman reading, check out Kevin J. Anderson's The Last Days of Krypton - Everyone knows how Kal-El--Superman--was sent to Earth just before his planet exploded. But what led to such a disaster? Now, in The Last Days of Krypton, Kevin J. Anderson presents a sweeping tale of the pomp and grandeur, the intrigue and passion, and the politics and betrayals of a doomed world filled with brave heroes and cruel traitors.
Also, It's Superman! A Novel by Tom De Haven - A fictional account of the fictional character. Coming of age in rural 1930s America with X-ray vision, the power to stop bullets, and the ability to fly isn't exactly every boy's story. So just how did Clark Kent, a shy farmer's son, grow up to be the Man of Steel? Follow young Clark's whirlwind journey from Kansas to New York City's Daily Planet. Kirkus Reviews calls it "comic noir with a super-keen edge."
And of course, the library owns tons of comic book collections and graphic novels about Superman, from 1938's Superman Archives, volume 1 to last year's Superman Action Comics. Volume 1, Superman and the Men of Steel. And don't forget ... The Death of Superman! Noooooooo! But don't worry, he will live on forever. By the way, if you need help sorting out the many lives of Superman in comic form? Wikipedia can help.
And that should keep you in nostalgic memories and high flying adventure...at least until the next incarnation of the Man of Steel appears! Which should be any minute now ...