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It's Superman!
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It's Superman!

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,562 Ratings  ·  235 Reviews
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 by way of Hollywood. This ace reporter is not the only person leading a d ...more
Paperback, 417 pages
Published August 29th 2006 by Ballantine Books (first published 2005)
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Superhero Fiction
40th out of 571 books — 1,015 voters
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Super Hero Books [Not Graphic Novels]
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,819)
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Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*

I re-read this for review purposes because, let's face it, my memory sucks and there's no way I can remember enough details to review it years later. It's also just a good book and worth that re-read.

What Works -

Clark - I have a soft spot for stories that focus on the Clark Kent persona over the Superman one. Of course without the alien part we'd never look twice, but I dig the confused double-identity awkwardness.

Clark shows up for the book after taking a girl out on an unsuccessful date, disc
Jun 17, 2009 Jim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book looked appealing, because it promised a literary and intelligent look at a cultural icon, and that sort of thing has always appealed to me. It was literary, and literate. It's a well-written book. And it was intelligent. And it didn't insult the intelligence of the reader.

What it wasn't was very interesting. I feel like this was a huge opportunity for something as dynamic as the title character, yet De Haven seemed intent on avoiding the big scenes and the big themes that could well h
Jun 03, 2007 Trin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, american-lit
I didn't really know what to expect with this novel; I'm not particularly interested in Superman and I'm actually rather suspicious of novels based on others' works (which is rather bizarre for a fanfic writer, I must say). I guess I was sucked in by the fantastic Chris Ware cover. And hey, for once judging a book by its cover turned out to be a good thing: It's Superman! is immensely enjoyable, sweeping, and highly visual even without the aid of comic illustrations. De Haven reexamines Superm ...more
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
Tom De Haven had a unique version of Superman - and as much as I like the general story we're all used to, I totally dug this alternate version.
Printable Tire
Nov 11, 2009 Printable Tire rated it did not like it
I grew up pretty uninterested in Superman (a dumb invincible jock? Who cares?), but lately I've put my bias aside and done some research into the Superman mythos. For starters, I watched all the Superman movies, and even Supergirl (my recaps can be found here:

So when I heard about this book, I thought it would be a good introduction to the origin of Superman. I was wrong.

Who is the audience for this book? Is there some percentage of the Superman-loving p
Aug 14, 2011 Snotchocheez rated it liked it
Sometimes random library picks yield wonderful surprise reads; this was not one of them. Occasionally, "it's Superman!" delivered the goods: a tense, action-packed and faithful-to-the-comicbook retelling of Clark Kent's odyssey from Smallville, KS to meeting (and falling in love with) Lois Lane in NYC. More often than not, however, I found myself questioning the title of the book (shouldn't it be called "Where's Superman?" instead?) whenever it lapsed into over-lengthy character analyses of mino ...more
Aug 09, 2015 Marc-Antoine rated it really liked it
Great story, very well written, intelligent and inspiring.
Dec 19, 2014 Cody rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Superman fans, dustbowl literature fans
The Superman story has been re-invented for every generation, every few years. Same origin, baby Kal-El just landed in a different decade. If Superman is the ultimate hero, he needs to represent our contemporary values, so this all makes sense. Tom de Haven has gone back to the original era of the character - the 1920s and '30s, and created a back-story which works as a prequel to the Man of Steel, and a period novel as visceral, gritty and real as any document to come out of that time. Prequel ...more
Jan 08, 2013 Brenda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I give up.
I cannot physically finish this book, on account of it being as boring as paste.
Normally, I'm pretty good at finishing even the most atrocious books–I've reviewed a couple before–but this one wasn't just awful, it was boring.

It started off very strong, establishing Clark Kent as a bumbling kid from Kansas confused about his powers, and struggling to find his place in the world. He decides to travel around the country a bit, getting a job as a movie stunt-man, which was a very clever
May 21, 2010 Johnny rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
I've always hated those fan-boys who go to a motion pictures based on a popular media phenomenon (in this case, comic books) and deliberately watched for all the areas where the film differed from the "canonical" comics so that they could immediately trash the film and pretend that they were the savior-archivists of the comic book's tradition. I always wished that they would get over it because the film medium is so different from the comic book medium and it would be either difficult, boring, o ...more
Jan 07, 2010 Sean rated it liked it
I have definitely never been a Superman fan (even as a kid). So I really do have no idea why this title appealed to me enough to pick it up last year. But I did. And finally got around to reading it now. And it was (a bit surprisingly) really fun! I flew through it in 2 days, so I guess it must've been.

De Haven's writing style is warm and engaging - and oddly, in the present tense. His characters are all dependably colorful and easily likable. (Despite or perhaps because he is the villian, Lex
Aug 04, 2007 Jeff rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: People who like spandex.
My cousin, who is a librarian, gave me an advanced readers edition of this book. See, years and years ago, this guy who lived across the street from me showed me his comic book collection. He showed me Iron Man. I thought Iron Man was the bomb. A dude in armor, he can fly and shoot lasers out of his hands... what's not to love about comics? 15 years later, I gave up on the medium, cause hell, who wants to pay $4 for a 22 page book? Still my family associates me with comics. I wasn't enthused whe ...more
J.S. Frankel
Mar 02, 2016 J.S. Frankel rated it really liked it
I started reading this last year and life got in the way of finishing it, but now it's read and overall, it was decent. As a self-confessed superhero geek, it was nice to go through yet another interpretation of Superman in the Golden Age, another alternate universe look. We have the usual legend of Supes being raised by kindly folk, and have the early years of Clark Kent traveling the highways and byways of the country, helping out and discovering who and what he is. Working as a stuntman was a ...more
Philip Cosand
Sep 30, 2014 Philip Cosand rated it liked it
More precisely, It's A Version of Superman.

For the most part, the novel reflects the earliest descriptions of Superman, owing much to the first few years of Action Comics and a touch to Grant Morrison's more recent run. Superman is a fellow with limited powers who is not above breaking someone out of jail who has been arrested wrongly. (There is even a reference to his first adventure where he frees a woman from death row.)

That being said, there are many differences. Superman has often been cred
WT Sharpe
Aug 23, 2014 WT Sharpe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review is for the Blackstone Audio iPad app of It's Superman! by Tom De Haven. Scott Brick was the narrator, and he did an excellent job.

This is a rather lengthy book with a 16 hours and 42 minutes running time, which isn't too surprising given that the paperback weighs in at 432 pages, but I guess a book about a super man deserves a super length. Although somewhat slow-paced, it's very good, and the author's frequent insertion of real people and brand names common to the 1930s instills the
Mar 08, 2016 Daniel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-reading, reread
I debated whether this should be four or five stars, but the fact that I recently reread it gives it the benefit of the doubt.

It's Superman is a coming of age story about Clark Kent becoming Superman. Unlike most interpretations, this story takes place in the same period that the Superman comic was originally published in, the 1930s. The author shows a good understanding of the era. His take on Lex Luthor is a joy to read.
Josh Bush
Jan 29, 2014 Josh Bush rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi, fiction, superman
Tom De Haven begins with "Our version of the story opens..." and tells a new origin story for Superman. This story has no mention of where Clark Kent came from. No one knows the answer and whatever it was he rode in on was completely destroyed. This leaves Clark with a sense of isolation and confusion about who he is that lasts throughout the entire story. There are not a lot of "super" feats through the book, as it is mostly about Clark Kent learning what he is capable of and trying to find a p ...more
Levi Graham
May 18, 2014 Levi Graham rated it it was ok
To be honest, this book was dull, but creative. Two complete opposites, i know. I found the beginning fun, but soon found myself asking, "when will this get good?" It was okay throughout, but I had high hopes that it would get to some action. It did not happen until the final quarter of the book and then, it was done. I am a big superman fan, but this book did not do him justice. There was no truth to any of it. It was dark and slow, but worth a read once. I probably would not recommend this boo ...more
Nov 08, 2011 Lynda rated it it was ok
I am a big Superman fan, and this book left me feeling sad. I judge books by how they engage me and how they make me feel. That is why I often feel uncomfortable about reviewing books.

This book felt slow to me. It might have been better if it was edited about 25 percent. I hate abrupt endings.
Alex Gherzo
I had been wanting to read It's Superman! for years, ever since it was first released to rave reviews, but it kind of slipped through the cracks of my memory (which seem to get steeper and steeper as time goes on) until a few weeks ago when I saw the paperback on the Barnes and Noble staff recommendations table. I bought it and was told by the cashier that it's out of print now and this was one of the last copies in the store; a nice, heroic save for a Superman novel. It wasn't long before I sta ...more
Blake Petit
It's Superman is the latest retelling of the origin of the Man of Steel, and this latest retelling takes the character back to where he began -- the 1930s and the Great Depression.

Superman (quick crash course) was created in the 1930s by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and, after a few years of shopping the property around, made his debut as a comic book character in Action Comics #1 in 1938. While the comics that are published these days are set firmly in the modern-day, with Superman perpetually
Jack Foster
Dec 04, 2015 Jack Foster rated it it was amazing
I love this book. The way you tell a King Kong movie is you set it in 1950: you have him swatting bi-planes, you can't have him fending off attack helicopters or fighter jets; it doesn't work. If you want to tell a good Superman story you set the clock back. Clark's aw shucks charm doesn't read in a modern context. Growing up in a midwest that's earnest, still dusting off its knees from the depression, having Clark ride the rails to head west, landing in Los Angeles, working on B-movie sci-fi pi ...more
Brad Abraham
Oct 07, 2015 Brad Abraham rated it really liked it
A disclaimer: I've never been a fan of superheroes or superhero comics - I find them boring. So why did I enjoy It's Superman? Probably because I like the *idea* of superheroes. It's Superman is a story of ideas. Of an orphan who knows he's different, who doesn't fit in, and his odyssey through Depression era America, all while other players soon to become a significant part of his life - Lois Lane and Lex Luthor - move into position. A sprawling mosaic of a book, it paints a vivid portrait of a ...more
Carey Grace Dillahunty
Jul 23, 2016 Carey Grace Dillahunty rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. I loved it. I'm not familiar with Superman besides what everyone is born knowing. I loved the setting, and the switching POVS. I hated Lex Luther and kind loved Clark Kent. Lois Lane is killer female character.

And the story unfolds you see the obvious good guys and bad guys, but what I really love is how no one is all good, and no one is all bad. Lex had his refining qualities, and Clark had moments where he wasn't super. Willy really goes that good and bad line, but you love him.

Nov 27, 2015 Patrick rated it really liked it
Wonderful retcon of Golden Age Superman, from his teenage years in Kansas to his big debut in New York City in 1938. Written in a sort of "Our Town"
present tense, a device that normally annoys me but works well here. Features Lois Lane as the debutante modern girl turned hard-nosed reporter and Lex Luthor, reimagined as a con-man turned corrupt politician. Also features a strong supporting cast of fully-realized characters, including Willi Berg, the streetwise photographer. Loved De Haven's take
V.J. Sr.
How Did I Miss This One?
Every once in a while a book slips by your notice; It’s Superman, 2005, is one that got by me. After the book came to my attention I was pleased to learn it was to take place in 1935 and would be a retelling of Clark Kent’s early years and his subsequent move from Smallville to the big city. In this case the big city was not Metropolis, but would be instead, New York City. This did not seem out of the ordinary and I accepted the change.
Tom De Haven has taken one of my fav
May 18, 2016 Zedsdead rated it really liked it
Recommended to Zedsdead by: Borrowed from Tim.
A relatively mature, text-only version of the Superman origin story. I dislike superheroes and was surprised at how much I enjoyed this.

De Haven attempts to bring the canonical characters into the real world as much as possible. Teenaged Clark Kent is wholly different and doesn't know why, and as a result is tragically, acutely lonely. I mean, how could he NOT be? He gets laid a couple times and then wallows in old-timey Protestant guilt for the rest of the book. I can't imagine a better take on
Nov 22, 2015 Dale rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Published by GraphicAudio in March of 2014
Adapted from the novel It's Superman by Tom De Haven
Multicast performance
Duration; Approximately 7 hours

Let me be clear from the beginning about two things:

1) I am a Superman fan

2) I do not mind re-makes or re-interpretations so long as they are done respectfully of the source material.

However, this book does not do that, with the exception of Lex Luthor.

This re-imagined world of Superman is set in the 1930s, which I liked as a choice because that's when
Aug 07, 2011 Ron rated it it was amazing
DeHaven has written many fine novels illustrating the history of everything from early newspaper strips to the beginnings of underground comix, but the story of Superman's early years may be his finest moment. The period details are wonderful, but the real strength of the writing is that it is actually drawn from much of the literature of the period. We are treated not only to an homage to the crime novels of Runyon and the bleak depression era poetry of Steinbeck, but a tale that is true to the ...more
Jun 15, 2012 Osvaldo rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics-related
I had never heard of this book before I picked it up for a dime at a library sale. I had low expectations, but for ten cents? Hey, I like superheroes! Why not? This book was good. Surprisingly good. I am actually tempted to give it 5-stars. It'd be four-and-a-half if I could do that.

This novel would be a social realist work, if it were not for the fact that it is about the last son of Krypton (and has some heat-ray wielding robots at the end). Set in the Depression-era from which Action Comics e
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Tom De Haven is the author of five novels, Freaks' Amour, Jersey Luck, Funny Papers, Derby Dugan's Depression Funnies, and Dugan Under Ground; a collection of three related novellas, Sunburn Lake; and a three-novel series, Chronicle of the King's Tramp, which includes Walker of Worlds, The End-of-Everything Man, and The Last Human. His latest novel for young adults, The Orphan's Tent, was publishe ...more
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