Saturday, May 26, 2012

Reign of the Supermen #423: Novel's Superman

Source: The Adventures of Superman by George Lowther (Applewood Books, 1942; reprint 1995)
Type: BookI've never read it, so here are some second-hand sources:

From Library Journal (via Amazon): This novel was first published in 1942 to cash in on the man of steel's popularity in comics as well as on radio for which Lowther was a scriptwriter. Superman has proved a hero for all ages and is almost as popular today as he was 40 years ago. The character is still featured in comics and is fodder for feature films, TV cartoons, and a weekly TV series. Though originally written for a young adult audience, this is probably a little too sophisticated for today's youth and will probably find a wider readership among adults who enjoyed Superman as kids. This also contains color and black-and-white illustrations. A great piece of Americana.

From Amazon reviewer Chris Cho: This novel is full of exciting action, yet it is also meaningful because it lets the reader know what is going on in Clark's head during all this. I think it is important in all books to let the reader know what is happening in the minds of the characters in addition to their environment. My favorite part of the book was when Clark discovered his first super power, x-ray vision, when he was 13 years old. At first it was of course awkward and maybe a little scary for him. But when he learned to control it, it became very useful. This part of the book was exciting because this was when Clark found out he was from a different planet. This is when the book picks up speed and starts to get even more exciting!

And an interesting historical note from Wikipedia: In his 1942 novel, George Lowther changes the names Jor-L, Kal-L and Lora (Superman's birth mother) to the more modern Jor-El and Lara.

If you've read it, tell us about it!

5 comments:

LiamKav said...

"Though originally written for a young adult audience, this is probably a little too sophisticated for today's youth..."

Teeny bit snobby there, aren't they? Or are they saying the kids that devoured Harry Potter, the Hunger Games and so on wouldn't be able to cope with a young adult book from the 40s?

(Sorry, but the "kids today are dumb" argument has always annoyed me. Look at an 80s episode of Transformers, or Thundercats, or TMNT, and compare them to their modern equivalent. They are not even close in terms of sophistication and complexity of ideas and storytelling.

LiamKav said...

Sorry, two posts.

"My favorite part of the book was when Clark discovered his first super power, x-ray vision, when he was 13 years old...

I always thought that was a post-Crisis thing. Was it only in the silver age then that Clark had superpowers pretty much from birth?

Siskoid said...

A lot of the mythology started on the radio show and made its way to the comics, but Superman had a fuller complement of powers a good while before the start of the Silver Age.

And yeah, complete snobbery, which is part of why I left it in.

Tom Foss said...

I reviewed the Lowther Superman novel for my on-again, off-again "Superman Sunday" series examining the character's different origins (links here, though it looks like I still have to finish the last post). The last half of it is a bit like a Hardy Boys novel, with Clark investigating a mystery (and keeping Superman's activities mostly secret), and it features some really weird moments where the Man of Steel casually kills boatloads of Nazis.

The first half, though, is a thorough origin retelling that, shockingly enough, reminded me of Byrne's "Man of Steel" more than anything, right down to Clark's powers explicitly developing gradually as he grew up.

Siskoid said...

Thanks for the extra details, Tom!