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Our Hero: Superman on Earth
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Our Hero: Superman on Earth

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  83 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Since his first appearance in Action Comics Number One, published in late spring of 1938, Superman has represented the essence of American heroism. “Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound,” the Man of Steel has thrilled audiences across the globe, yet as life-long “Superman Guy” Tom De Haven argues ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by Yale University Press (first published 2010)
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Emmett Spain
Jan 19, 2012 Emmett Spain rated it really liked it
Essentially one long essay on the Man of Steel, author Tom De Haven packs in enough insight and information into this book to make it a compelling read for any Superman fan.

De Haven smartly keeps personal Superman anecdotes to a minimum, focusing instead on Superman's history, from creation to development to merchandising to cinema. Insights into the creators is especially enlightening, highlighting the myriad legal battles from original co-creator Jerry Siegel, and the gritty reality behind wha
...more
Whitney
Jan 06, 2016 Whitney rated it liked it
Not exactly what I was looking for, but it's a succinct, entertaining history of the character. There are a couple insights into how/why the character has evolved/not evolved. But mostly it's a series of anecdotes about how various creators have contributed to the Superman character.
Tim
Nov 26, 2014 Tim rated it did not like it
Shelves: superheroes, comics, 2014
What a miserable take on Superman.

I started reading this doing research for a paper that may end up involving Superman, because I love Superman. And I couldn't stop reading it. It wasn't particularly well written. Mr. De Haven's writing style is too conversational and prone to repetition. I found the tone insufferable. His analysis of Superman as a character borders on cynical (despite his professed affection for the character) and seems to be rooted in a nostalgia that he long ago lost touch w
...more
Rick Lee James
Jul 01, 2015 Rick Lee James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another Well Written History

This is a well written history of the character, creators, and times of Superman. Dehaven's novel, it's Superman, was a non-canonical novel of the hero living in the 1950's. It seems to be this era that captures his imagination in this book. While most of the details in the book are told in other sources, there are a few gems that were new to me. The Mort Weisinger stories are worth the price of admission. While this book is very well written, I wouldn't recommend it
...more
Andy Lawrence
Jul 26, 2016 Andy Lawrence rated it it was ok
Fundamentally flawed cultural history of Superman. Investigation is marred by an over-reliance on secondary sources. Anecdotes are presented as fact without criticism or further investigation. Author admits to not having sufficient time or resources to survey available material in depth.

Sloppy prose more suited to magazine journalism and personal prejudices expressed as evidence further derails any attempts at presenting a detailed analysis of the character's properties and its cultural impact.

Chazzbot
Oct 23, 2011 Chazzbot rated it liked it
DeHaven's book explores the cultural history of Superman in a concise, accessible format. As a long-time fan of Superman, there was not much new information here for me, though I would recommend this book to people who are interested in the character primarily through his many television and film appearances. It should be noted, however, that DeHaven borrows heavily from other, better, histories of comic book culture, particularly "Men of Tomorrow" by Gerard Jones. DeHaven provides citations for ...more
Osvaldo
Sep 13, 2012 Osvaldo rated it liked it
Shelves: comics-related
Maybe add a half-star?

A solid long essay in book form that traces out the history of Superman in the media, from his origins in comic strips and comic books to his radio plays, TV shows and the eventual movies.

De Haven demonstrates a strong knowledge of the character and a does a great job synthesizing a variety of sources on the character and the property/brand.

I am not sure that De Haven succeeds at his stated goal of explaining why Superman still matters in the 21st century, except perhaps by
...more
Chris Aylott
Nov 17, 2010 Chris Aylott rated it did not like it
Disappointing. De Haven promises to dig into the long-term of appeal of Superman, but most of the book is a review of Superman's history in the comics, the movies, and on television. The history is interesting, but unoriginal -- literally a review of what other sources have written. It's also skimpy after the seventies, compressing what is now thirty years of Superman into a few bewildered comments.

In the last few pages, he gets back to the appeal and cultural role of Superman, but doesn't have
...more
Trin
Jun 11, 2010 Trin rated it really liked it
I loved Tom De Haven's reimagining of the Superman mythos, the utterly enchanting It's Superman It seems he can pull off a great nonfiction look at Supes, too, with Our Hero, a fantastic exploration of the character’s real-life origin story, his ups and downs, and his lasting cultural impact. De Haven comes across like the wise fanboy on a hill—he's got both the perspective and the enthusiasm. Even if you're not a big fan of the Man of Steel—and I'm not—this book is a joy to read: a thoughtful i ...more
Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson
Jul 08, 2013 Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-comics
Tom De Haven is a terrific writer and anything he writes is a good choice. This particular book is a well-researched treatise on the uniquely American qualities of this archetypal super hero. Tom explores the nature of Superman through the comics, radio, tv and movies--all the outlets of popular culture. I should disclose that I was interviewed for this book and I appreciated that Tom was willing to include the Major in his discussion of how Superman came about. Tom is a writer's writer and this ...more
Michael
Mar 16, 2016 Michael rated it it was ok
completely unnecessary. quick read, but not sure who the audience is supposed to be.
Laurel Narizny
Aug 31, 2013 Laurel Narizny rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics-studies
As a movie fan, I would have liked to see a great deal more discussion of the Superman films and tv series. But this is a fast and engaging read regardless, about what makes Superman essentially Superman, and incorporating the entertaining petty dramas of the people who made the comic books. De Haven's writing style surprised me at first, but by the end I greatly enjoyed his snappy, punchy prose, vividly full of life whether it was reverent or cynical.
Shawn Meunier
Jul 30, 2011 Shawn Meunier rated it liked it
An interesting analysis of Superman's creation, history, and character. Written by a Superman ubergeek, Our Hero: Superman on Earth explores what makes the character relevant to pop culture, and what continues to make him tick in our hearts and imaginations. A fantastic read for anyone who wants to understand how superheroes thrive to reflect our society and the world we live in.
Marty Allain
Mar 24, 2010 Marty Allain rated it liked it
An excellent primer into the world of SUPERMAN including a chronological overview of how the character was represented and considered in pop culture through the decades to the present. If you don't care about this type of thing, you will probably not find it the least bit interesting. Only for folks who have a relationship with the Man of Steel.
Michael
Aug 20, 2010 Michael rated it it was amazing
An excellent history of the character of Superman and what he has meant to American culture. I would have liked a bit more about the development of the character in the comics since 1970.
Jim
Sep 23, 2014 Jim rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
there's a new Tom Dehaven!
there's a new Tom Dehaven!
there's a new Tom Dehaven!


and it reads like it was written on deadline. everybody is allowed one off book.
Jim
Jul 21, 2012 Jim rated it it was amazing
Fantastic walk down memory lane with the various incarnations of the Man of Steel....although he shortsifted Tom Welling and Smallville....
Christopher
Jun 11, 2010 Christopher rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Smart, punchy, well written history & interpretation of Superman as culture, in culture.
David
Oct 17, 2010 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best books about superhero comics I have ever read. Maybe THE best.
Samuel B.  Shaw
Nice little book on Superman, the original and the greatest superhero.
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Aug 15, 2016
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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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