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Becoming Superman: My Journey From Poverty…

Becoming Superman: My Journey From Poverty to Hollywood (edition 2019)

by J. Michael Straczynski (Author), Neil Gaiman (Introduction)

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552328,863 (4.5)4
Featuring an introduction by Neil Gaiman! "J. Michael Straczynski is, without question, one of the greatest science fiction minds of our time."   -- Max Brooks (World War Z) For four decades, J. Michael Straczynski has been one of the most successful writers in Hollywood, one of the few to forge multiple careers in movies, television and comics.  Yet there's one story he's never told before: his own. In this dazzling memoir, the acclaimed writer behind Babylon 5, Sense8, Clint Eastwood's Changeling and Marvel's Thor reveals how the power of creativity and imagination enabled him to overcome the horrors of his youth and a dysfunctional family haunted by madness, murder and a terrible secret. Joe's early life nearly defies belief. Raised by damaged adults--a con-man grandfather and a manipulative grandmother, a violent, drunken father and a mother who was repeatedly institutionalized--Joe grew up in abject poverty, living in slums and projects when not on the road, crisscrossing the country in his father's desperate attempts to escape the consequences of his past.  To survive his abusive environment Joe found refuge in his beloved comics and his dreams, immersing himself in imaginary worlds populated by superheroes whose amazing powers allowed them to overcome any adversity. The deeper he read, the more he came to realize that he, too, had a superpower: the ability to tell stories and make everything come out the way he wanted it. But even as he found success, he could not escape a dark and shocking secret that hung over his family's past, a violent truth that he uncovered over the course of decades involving mass murder. Straczynski's personal history has always been shrouded in mystery. Becoming Superman lays bare the facts of his life: a story of creation and darkness, hope and success, a larger-than-life villain and a little boy who became the hero of his own life.  It is also a compelling behind-the-scenes look at some of the most successful TV series and movies recognized around the world.… (more)
Title:Becoming Superman: My Journey From Poverty to Hollywood
Authors:J. Michael Straczynski (Author)
Other authors:Neil Gaiman (Introduction)
Info:Harper Voyager (2019), 462 pages
Collections:Your library

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Becoming Superman: My Journey From Poverty to Hollywood by J. Michael Straczynski (Author)



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Had watched 'Babylon 5' as a kid but never in its entirety so it seemed like an interesting coincidence that I had just binge-watched the entire series to see this book had come out. I'm not familiar with the author's other works for the most part but the title intrigued me.

Content note for mentions of violence, assault, etc. ahead.

He had a tough upbringing, with an alcoholic, physically abusive father and a mentally ill mother. The reader should be warned that it is not pleasant reading: there are descriptions of emotional, verbal and physical abusive from his father inflicted on JMS, that he observed his father sexually assaulting and his mother one night, etc. JMS also gets gets beaten by (what police thought was) prospective gang members undergoing an initiation ritual, etc. It's not overly graphic but it's not pleasant to read about, either.

So in some ways it was amazing to see what the author went through and still come out on the other side anyway and kudos to him.

That said, the book itself wasn't very interesting to read. The author himself is interesting but sometimes it gets way too bogged down in the details which I kind of thought was a similar problem for B5--great concept but the execution doesn't quite pull it off. Which is also worth mentioning: the show is not covered in great detail here. It's my understanding this was because the author has written specifically about B5 elsewhere but not so much here if that's what you're looking for.

More passionate fans of his work might enjoy this but as someone who is casual at best this wasn't for me. Library was best. ( )
  acciolibros | Aug 25, 2019 |
For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

Becoming Superman: My Journey from Poverty to Hollywood by J. Michael Straczynski is an autobiography following the author from his poverty stricken childhood into being a successful writer and a decent human being. Mr. Straczynski wrote TV screenplays, comic books and the movie Changeling.

I actually know the name J. Michael Straczynski from the comic book world, I really enjoyed his run on Superman, Spiderman among other issues I have read here and there. When I saw that he is writing the autobiography Becoming Superman: My Journey from Poverty to Hollywood, I thought it would be an interesting read with some fascinating insight in the industry.

What I didn’t realize, or maybe I did but never thought much about, is how many TV shows Mr. Straczynski was involved in which were some of my favorites. He-Man, Babylon-5, The Twilight Zone, Sense8, and more. I was even more surprised to learn that he scripted several movies including Changeling and Thor (in which he had a small part) which I thought was very well put together.

Mr. Straczynski’s early life is full of shocking abuses, led by parents who lack any affection for their kids, or morals in general. In order to survive his childhood, Mr. Straczynski realized he must become Superman / Clark Kent in several aspects.
Frankly, it’s amazing that the author became a productive member of society.

The book is very detailed, and sometimes difficult to believe. The author tells the story in a vivid manner, with self-introspection and analysis which makes the book worth reading.

Of course, Mr. Straczynski’s doesn’t disappoint on the sales point of the book – a look behind the scenes of pop-culture. While sometimes painful, the author’s story is powerful and inspirational, especially when he takes huge chances to achieve a goal. ( )
1 vote ZoharLaor | Aug 9, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Straczynski, J. MichaelAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, NeilIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jurasik, PeterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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