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Superman on Film, Television, Radio and Broadway

Superman on Film, Television, Radio and Broadway

Writer: Bruce Scivally

Published by: Mcfarland & Co Inc Pub [800-253-2187] (October 2007)

Reviewed by: Ronald J Zaguli

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As someone who owns Mr. Scivally's great James Bond: The Legacy, I was really looking forward to receiving my copy of his latest, Superman on Film, Television, Radio and Broadway.

The cover showcases the title exploding out from the Man of Steel's chest as he rips open his shirt - PERFECT!! I am a huge fan of that iconic image and couldn't think of a better choice for the cover.

The book itself is 240 pages long (of that about 50 pages at the end are appendices, chapter notes, a bibliography and an index). Unlike James Bond: The Legacy, this book is "normal" size at 7" x 10" with a thick - almost textbook thick - cover. There are unfortunately precious few pictures spread throughout the book - if I counted right there are only 12 and they are black and white. Now, sounds like I was dissappointed right? Wrong!

What Mr. Scivally seems to have aimed for is the definitive textbook on the history of the Man of Steel. It is thorough, well-written and a joy to read. I am concerned though that at a list price of US$49.95, it may not reach the widespread audience it should. I am somewhat confused about the price point I have to admit - I would have expected it to be closer to US$29.99. Anyway, on to the review...

From the dedication page which reads:

    "To my dear wife, Sandra, and daughter, Amanda, who, every day, make this Clark Kent feel like a Superman"

the reader knows that the author is dedicated to the character and telling a fascinating story of the challenges which were faced in bringing every incarnation of Superman to life. He thoroughly covers the creation of our hero by Siegel and Shuster, his radio and cartoon appearances, the Kirk Alyn serials and the George Reeves era. Included are the "failed" attempts of Superboy and Superpup, the Broadway show It's a Bird... It's a Plane.... It's Superman, and of course the movies we have come to love and question beginning with Superman: The Movie and ending with Superman Returns. The TV incarnations of Lois & Clark and Smallville are extremely well covered and will no doubt surprise most readers with some tidbits even seasoned fans don't know. I consider myself a pretty knowledgable guy on the history of Superman but there were many things I didn't know and really enjoyed discovering. For those who want to relive the recent years including the efforts before Superman Returns made it to the screen they are very well handled - its a miracle Singer's film made it to theaters after all the trials and tribulations that proceeded it.

I would like to end this review with Mr. Scivally's afterword - I think it really encompasses all our hopes and dreams for the Man of Steel. His book will be a very worthwhile addition to any Superman fan's collection.

    "Will there be another Superman movie? Of course there will. It's inevitable, because Superman is too much a part of our culture. He has been celebrated in song by Jim Croce, Barbra Streisand, The Kinks, REM, Five for Fighting, and 3 Doors Down. He has been a video game fixture since the dawn of the computer revolution.The comic books are still selling steadily, and the yearly Superman Celebration in Metropolis, Illinois continues to attract thousands of visitors each June.

    From the pages of the comics to radio's theater of the imagination, from the intimacy of television to the majesty of the movies, there has always been and will perhaps always be a Superman for every medium and every generation."

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