Our Hero Superman on Earth Review
In this succinct yet muscular survey (part of the Icons of America series), the author of the novel It's Superman! (2005) explores the enduring appeal of the Man of Steel – the first comic book superhero (or "metahuman", to use the current term). According to De Haven, "No other fictional character has been portrayed – drawn, acted, chronicled, parodied, and bootlegged – as often as Superman." There are at least 400 pop songs about him, a Broadway musical (It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman) and even a Superman brand of sliced white bread ("super flavoured"). Superman is reinvented to meet the needs of each generation: in the 1930s, when Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created him, he was a "working-class warrior"; in the 40s, he personified the fighting spirit of Americans; and in the atomic age, he gained more super powers but became an "honorary policeman", a defender of the status quo. In a nation of immigrants he was "the ultimate immigrant", and an illegal one too. An affectionate and insightful essay about the world's favourite superhero.