Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman

Marc Tyler Nobleman, Author, Ross MacDonald, Illustrator
Marc Tyler Nobleman, Author, Ross MacDonald, Illustrator , illus. by Ross MacDonald. Knopf $16.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-375-83802-6
Reviewed on: 06/23/2008
Release date: 07/01/2008
Library Binding - 40 pages - 978-0-375-93802-3
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-449-81063-7
Open Ebook - 45 pages - 978-0-449-81064-4
Prebound-Glued - 40 pages - 978-0-606-31931-7
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Catering to comics junkies, this vibrant and well-researched picture book biography introduces the youthful inventors of Superman, who this year celebrates his 70th anniversary. Writer Jerry Siegel and illustrator Joe Shuster are mild-mannered everymen whose reflective glasses conceal their eyes—and their potential. In a crowded high school hallway, Jerry wishes he could be with his “friends,” and a turn of the page reveals Tarzan, Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. Joe, “lousy at sports and mousy around girls,” draws sci-fi heroes with a passion. In 1934, when both are 20, Jerry dreams up the Superman concept and Joe draws prototypes labeled “S” for “ 'super.' And for 'Siegel' and 'Shuster.' ” In June 1938, their creation launches in Action Comics . Nobleman details this achievement with a zest amplified by MacDonald's (Another Perfect Day ) punchy illustrations, done in a classic litho palette of brassy gold, antique blue and fireplug red. MacDonald's Depression-era vignettes picture Siegel pondering his superhero's powers and the friends casting a single, caped shadow. A cautionary afterword chronicles their protracted financial struggles with DC Comics—when Siegel and Shuster sold their first Superman story, they also sold all rights to the character, for $130. Ages 10–up. (July)

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