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Superman: The High-Flying History of…

Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero (edition 2012)

by Larry Tye (Author)

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14723122,387 (3.88)5
Title:Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero
Authors:Larry Tye (Author)
Info:Random House (2012), 432 pages
Collections:Your library, Nonfiction, eBook
Tags:Nonfiction, Reference, Comic Books, 21st Century, Random House, eBook, Kindle Edition, Read

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Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero by Larry Tye



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In his unique history of the iconic character, Larry Tye delivers an insightful biographical account from the perspective of the creators, publishers, and stars behind Superman. Beginning with Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel in Cleveland through the character's re-birth as part of DC's recent 52 remake, Tye analyzes and reveals many fascinating behind-the-scene aspects such as why Superman didn't fight oversees during World War II, the complex origins of kryptonite, and the stories behind the various radio, cartoon, television, and movie incarnations. The comprehensive volume includes numerous interviews and accounts, copious endnotes, and an all-too-short collection of images. The even-handed, thoughtful, and thorough accounting of the muddy and controversial relationship between Siegel and DC delivers one of the best explanations of the whole sordid affair. Though Tye's literary paint-by-numbers styling lacks any zing, he successfully maintains interest throughout the compulsive and highly recommended Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero. ( )
  rickklaw | Oct 13, 2017 |
In Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero, author Larry Tye argues, "There's no better way to understand modern-day heroes than to look at Superman, the superhero who tapped into the American psyche more effectively than anyone else and, as a result, has lasted longer than all of them" (pg. xi). Type explores creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's backgrounds as well as the cultural mythology on which the two built in creating their hero. He finds, "Jerry and Joe did not cook up Superman from scratch. They built on as well as borrowed from a long line of myth-makers and storytellers, the same way Burroughs borrowed from Homer and Wylie from the ancient Hebrews" (pg. 33). Of the religious undertones, Tye concludes that the character's "appeal was his universality along with his particularity, which ensured his stories would live on the way most parables do" (pg. 80). Tye explores every facet of the character and how he changed over time to reflect the world of his readers, in any decade. He concludes, "Evolution was inevitable for a character who had lasted as long as Superman. Stasis would have doomed him" (pg. 228).
Tye's book, while ambitious in its scope, reflects some of the best scholarship available on Superman's history. He draws upon his own interviews, published and recorded interviews with people involved in shepherding Superman's image, legal documents, internal DC and Warner Bros. memos, and more. The end result is a readable and thorough history of each iteration of the character from his creation to the time Tye's monograph appeared in print. He offers new insights into the history. For example, he challenges the established narrative for why Joe Shuster burned the original artwork for "The Superman," arguing it was due to a temporary falling out between the creators rather than publishers' rejections (pg. 18). Tye's work is a valuable resource for those studying comic books as well as for fans. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Aug 6, 2017 |
I enjoyed this book but it was a bit tedious for me. Since I'm not a big fan of the man of steel, I was curious about what I've been missing. Now I know but, I'm still not interested. Surprisingly, I was most interested in the religious analysis. If you're a fan, you'll probably enjoy this book more than I did. That being said, I'm still glad I read it. ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
The more I read, the more I liked the book. I appreciate Superman but have never been a fan yet I found this history of the Man of Steel to be fascinating. It covers his origin and to as recently as the "upcomming" Man of Steel movie. This book, though enlightning and well researched, did not make me want to run out and buy huge numbers of Superman comics, it did give me an appreciation of the character and opened my mind up to what his appeal is. This book is not merely about the printed incarnation of the hero but also radio, television, cartoon, serial, and full length movie. I found this to be a great read and, as I noted earlier, I am not a super-fan. ( )
  dirac | May 19, 2014 |
Easy to read, this history of the Superman character and franchise covers a lot of familiar ground, but Tye includes fascinating details about the lifelong bitter search for adequate compensation by creators Seigel and Shuster, the financial juggling of the Salkinds for the first Superman film, and much more. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
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The most enudring American hero of the last century is someone who lived half his life in disguise and the other half as the world's most reconizable man.
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Larry Tye, the prize-winning journalist and "New York Times" bestselling author of "Satchel, " delivers the first full-fledged history not just of the Man of Steel but of the creators, designers, owners, and performers who made Superman the icon he is today.… (more)

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