Superman: The Unauthorized Biography
Glen Weldon (Author)
A celebration of Superman's life and history - in time for his 75th birthday. 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 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.
Hardcover: 352 pages
Cover date: August 12, 2009
Writer: John Arcudi
Artist: Lee Bermejo
Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Amanda Conner
Reviewed by: Barry Freiman
The strips which resonate the most for me are Supergirl, Batman, Hawkman, and the two mini-strips about The Flash and Iris. The strips that I'm probably enjoying the least are Wonder Woman (who deserves so much better than this); and The Demon and Catwoman (when Selina turned into a panther I lost interest).
The strips I'm most surprised to be enjoying are Strange Adventures (with the zeta beam-planet-hopping Adam Strange) and Kamandi. Both strips have an old-fashioned look to them. Adam Strange's strip has the look of both Prince Valiant and Buck Rogers. And Kamandi captures a Kirby-esque feel without feeling like someone's just copying Jack Kirby.
In this week's Superman, by John Arcudi and Lee Bermejo, the Man of Steel is asleep in Clark's old bedroom when it blows up - he's being attacked in Smallville by aliens. I don't understand what DC was thinking in making this the strip published in USA Today; while I'd appreciate a strip featuring a more confident Superman kicking butt and Clark interacting with the regulars, but, absent that, they should've gone with Batman instead.
They should've done the origin in week one and, given the strips in a newspaper, they should've had Lois or Clark investigating a story that turns out to be something much bigger - like, say, Brainiac. Even another for the masses Lex story would be better. I really love the art but I'm becoming increasingly discontented by the strip's very uneven plotting.
In Supergirl, by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, Kara seeks out Aquaman to help figure out what's wrong with Krypto and Streaky. Aquaman is busy with emergencies handling the 70% of Earth that's covered with water - after listening to him coordinate emergency responses on his 'shell phone' for an eternity, he asks Kara what she needs. Kara looks dumbfounded.
The strip is still not really going anywhere but oh is it funny this week. Palmiotti manages to poke fun at Aquaman in a new and unique way - he's not the least useful Super Friend; he's the busiest. The Sea King is literally in over his head and Kara's going to burden him with pet problems? Besides, we're not talking about Super Salmon; we're talking Super Dog and Super Cat. Can Aquaman talk to all animals or just fish and water mammals? I believe that's been addressed in the comics but a little clarification would've been nice especially for younger readers.
See ya next week in the funny pages!
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2009.