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In my old age, I have grown into a love of comic books and superheroes. I was ecstatic to find Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman by Marc Tyler Nobleman and illustrated by Ross MacDonald. This short picturebook tells the story of the creation of superman and the men, themselves, that brought him to life. The character Superman has touched the hearts and imaginations of comic-book readers everywhere not only for his amazing strength and power, but for his ordinary, shy, timid alter-ego, Clark Kent, a man resembed his creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, much more than the Man of Steel. The mark left by Superman is much more far-reaching than the pages he inhabits. Superman has impacted many facets of modern life and culture in major and lasting ways.

5. Social Commentary. Superman dealt with real life problems on a real life earth. Now, we see heroes like Tony Stark or The X Men who fight true-life battles that deal with politics and morality. Superman paved the way for superheroes who were a flash of escapism against a backdrop of gritty realism.

4. Graphic Novels. The graphic novel has become a legitimate and celebrated form of storytelling, thanks to the legacy of Superman. Books like Neil Gaiman’s Stardust and Alan Moore’s Watchmen have become canonical reading.

3. Cinema – Stories. Superman’s legacy of comic books as source material for movies has never been more apparent than it is today. Many major blockbusters of the last decade have originated as comic books or graphic novels, including movies like Road to Perdition and History of Violence.

2. Cinema – Visual Effects. I can’t imagine we would be able to dream up modern visual effects if it weren’t for the artistic legacy of comic books and graphic novels. Without being boxed in by the laws of physics or common sense, both cinema and comic books have shown audiences images that are bigger than their dreams.

1. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I have a major soft spot for Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize winning masterpiece that follows the lives of fictional comic book writers not so different from Siegel and Schuster. This epic novel spans several decades, following the lives of young Jewish writers as they used their writing to battle the Nazi regime and to escape into the lives they always wanted for themselves.

For more information on the Man of Steel or other heroes in the DC Comics universe, check the DC website.

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