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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman (Biography)

Released July 2008

Reviewed by Deb Fowler

Jerry Siegel wasn’t crazy about school. He would much rather be home with his imaginary friends, Tarzan, Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. His father was dead, everyone was looking for a job, the Great Depression was in full tilt, but even so his superheroes kept him going. Every night he would read these fantastic stories about them. He also would sit up in the attic in front of a window, one in which he could see his other young men his age playing, typing his “own adventure and science fiction stories.”

He was shy and most likely no one even knew he existed, except for one other person. His name was Joe Shuster, a guy who looked and acted so much like him they “could’ve passed for brothers. The only difference was that Joe’s passion was not writing, but drawing . . . all the time. These guys became fast friends and had a plan, one that once they got going, no one could tell them they were wasting their time. It was a “science fiction story in cartoons.” At first they were heartbreakingly rejected by a publisher, but then Jerry’s mind lit up like Broadway one night. He had an idea and this time Joe and Jerry would persevere until they were published. They would leap tall buildings in a single bound, or at least climb hundreds of stairs until someone wanted their Superman comic strip.

I loved this biography of two young men who, in spite of numerous rejections, persevered and went on to amazing heights. The writing captures the spirit of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and the art work brings them to life. This book will have wide appeal to young dreamers with big imaginations because like the authors, who once dreamed and acted out their superhero fantasies, know how to render a tale any reluctant reader will snap up!

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