Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “It's Superman!” as Want to Read:
It's Superman!
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

It's Superman!

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,903 ratings  ·  282 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
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about It's Superman!, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Albert Persyn not inappropriate at all nor is it anything like smallville more like a 50's rendition on how the original Superman would be it is really cool.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,903 ratings  ·  282 reviews

More filters
Sort order
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
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this was a pretty good audiobook and different take on the Superman Origin story set in the 1930's. If you enjoy Superman, definitely check this out at your local library and wherever books are sold.
Jan 12, 2008 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
Printable Tire
Nov 11, 2009 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
Jun 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-lit, fiction
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
Jul 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great story, very well written, intelligent and inspiring.
Nov 17, 2012 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
Jul 24, 2011 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
Sydney Gibson
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this book! I got it well over 12 years ago, and it's still one of my favorite books written about superman as a real person, versus the high profile superhero we all love.

I recommend this book to everyone who is interested in a different spin on his backstory and his relationships with all the usual characters in his world.
May 21, 2010 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
Aug 02, 2007 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
Aug 24, 2009 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 10, 2017 rated it did not like it
No, I didn't finish this book. I started out irked and kept getting more irked the further I went into it. I maybe made it through 25% before I decided I was wasting my time and bailed; ugh.

What were my problems with it? First, how do you take a story that everyone's known for over 80 years and turn it into this kind of junk? Second, why is Clark Kent such a plodding bore? Third, why is Lois such a... I'm not sure what word to use? Fourth, what's with all the meaningless dialogue? Fifth, why are
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
"It's Superman!" was a surprising book. It was more of a mob story than a Superman story, with Lex Luthor as the complicated mob boss. I heard a podcast interview with the author, and he alluded to the fact that he saw the story in this book as a prequel to Action Comics #1. This book features the Golden Age Superman, so anytime I felt like I remembered the story differently, I had to remind myself that I'm not very familiar with the Golden Age Superman's backstory.

Set mostly in the 1930's, thi
Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's Superman! was a fun read. The action takes place in the midst of the Great Depression, and a young Clark Kent does a lot of stuff (smoking, drinking, etc) that you never picture Superman as doing. He is a child of his era, and in a way that era is another character in this book-it looms over everything. This retelling of the origin of Superman is a nice coming of age story-Clark Kent is portrayed as having feet of clay, and a wide variety of flaws, including the fact that (bluntly) he is no ...more
I started this book so long ago that I just had no idea what was going on when I picked it back up again. Honestly, even if I stuck with this book, I might've DNF'ed it anyways because it was so boringggggggg
so yeah.
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
Jan 04, 2010 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
Levi Graham
May 18, 2014 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
Sep 06, 2009 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.
Jan 16, 2010 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.
Joseph Lamperth
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
if you like superman and you like history, this is a great book . even if you only like superman this book will give you some sense of history that superman was born into.
Andrew Joseph
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In June 1938, two men from Cleveland, Ohio made history by giving birth to an alien. Although such a feat is remarkable, these men, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, did not even make the front page of their local newspaper. They had to settle for their offspring to be debuted in Action Comics #1. Little did they know that their creation would grow up to become the greatest hero the world has ever known--Superman. Since his inception, Superman has taken the world by storm and his adventures have bee ...more
Mike Bockoven
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am in the strange position of being in awe of author Tom DeHaven’s research, expertise and writing (he’s very good) while at the same time not enjoying almost all of the decisions he made regarding the character of Superman.

“It’s Superman” puts Clark Kent in a plausible and lived in 1930s complete with racism, hobo adventures, pop culture icons of the time and tons and tons of detail. As Clark finds his way into the tights, we are treated to a variety of wonderfully fleshed out characters, no
Allan Olley
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting interpretation of Superman that reimagines the 1930s origins of the character by setting him within what might be a historical novel about the period. The story deals with how Clark Kent goes from Kansas farm boy to become Superman. At the same time the rise of Lex Luthor as a criminal mastermind is chronicled. The characters are carefully drawn with lots of period specific corroborative details. Songs, movies and radio plays of the era are constantly referenced by charact ...more
Jun 04, 2017 rated it liked it
We all grew up with Superman. This author's version brought a smile to my face. While it is still the same age-old story, the one everybody knows, De Haven brings the reader back to a different time.

It begins in 1935 when Clark Kent is 17. It's the days of Chiclets, gum drops, Charleston Chews, wax lips, Black Jack Chewing Gum and candy cigarettes. Young soon-to-be Superman, is insecure and finding his way. His surprising and strange powers are unfolding and the reader learns the background of h
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Astounding! I am not a Superman fan. I never read the comics, I watched the movies because they were about a hero. He always seemed too powerful.
This book solved that for me. This is set in Superman's original era. The late 30's, the story blends some wonderful historical elements and makes the familiar characters of Clark, Lois, and Jimmy (here called Willy) and makes them real people that struggle with real problems. Powered down and more human this Superman had me at the verge of tears and l
David Mcgrady
May 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tim Healy
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is dumb fun. Apparently, DC Comics put this out. I only did it because I got a good deal on it. I've been reading it around other things that I cared more about. This isn't a bad take, though. It's an alternate reality take on Superman set in New York City (only occasionally referred to as "Metropolis") in the 1930s. It's a new take on the origin story. There are no Krypton or Kryptonite references, and Clark seems not to even be really sure he's not human. But Superman is here. So are Lois ...more
Richard Rebel
Jan 11, 2018 rated it liked it
This is an enjoyable take on the iconic character. The novel evokes Depression-era Midwest and New York with great attention to detail and language (at times reminiscent of pulp gangster stories). The pace is languid, which will put a lot of readers off, but patient readers are rewarded with terrific character detail and some unique insights into familiar characters. The focus on Clark Kent is refreshing - he's an insecure adolescent / young adult, uncertain of his identity, abilities and purpos ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Infinite Crisis
  • Kingdom Come
  • The Last Days of Krypton
  • The Death and Life of Superman
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths
  • Superfolks
  • Superman: The High-Flying History of the Man of Steel
  • Black and White (The Icarus Project, #1)
  • Batman: Knightfall
  • JLA:  Exterminators
  • Superman: Peace on Earth
  • Batman, Captured by the Engines
  • Superman: The Unauthorized Biography
  • True Hero?
  • Nobody Gets the Girl (Whoosh! Bam! Pow!, #1)
  • Wonder Woman:  Mythos
  • Batman: No Man's Land
  • Superpowers
See similar books…
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
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »