It doesn’t matter whether or not you like Batman or Spiderman better, because Superman was the very first comic book superhero. From the first thirteen pages in Action No. 1 to his latest big screen appearance in Man of Steel, Superman has shaped comics and culture to an unparalleled degree.

“Evolution was inevitable for a character who had lasted as long as Superman. Stasis would have doomed him.”

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In Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero , author Larry Tye covers over 80 years of Superman, the people who shaped his character, and his place in American culture.

Why is this on our bookshelf?

I admit it– I’m a total Superman fan girl. I’m in love with his idealistic save-the-day ways and his nerdy secret identity. However– and here’s the real confession– I have a really hard time reading comic books and graphic novels. I’m a total bibliophile, but it takes me three times as long to read a story when part of it is told through pictures. I totally miss what is going on.

Considering comic books is Superman’s primary medium, this makes it really hard to indulge my Superman obsession. Thankfully, not only is he prevalent in nearly every form of entertainment, he’s also so famous that there are whole books devoted to his history.

Rating (5 stars)

The history of Superman stretches over 80 years and involves a convoluted legal battle– this could have been a tedious story. It wasn’t.

Although non-fiction books have a reputation for taking exciting and compelling subjects (like Superman) and making them dull, Superman manages to avoid this trap. Instead, Larry Tye covers the evolution of Superman in comics, radio, television, and movies and the creators, designers, artists, writers, actors, producers and fans who have left their mark on the iconic character.

Even if Superman isn’t your cup of tea, this book is an great history read for any comic book fan.