Monday, July 08, 2013

Lois Lane looks darn good for her age!

I swam uptown tonight to attend a reading for Brad Ricca and his new book SUPER BOYS: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster--The Creators of Superman.

It was a full house (sorry, I didn't get pictures, I was busy swilling a mocha frappucino, no whipped creme!) with lots of interested Superman fans.

I didn't get a chance to ask the question I'm always interested in knowing about authors who work with a single subject for many years: When you turned the book in to the editor for the final time was it the Empty Nest or "Hallelujah I'm done with those guys!"

The reading was really good, and that's not a given at these things.  Brad Ricca asked the audience if we wanted to hear about the NY Worlds' Fair in 1940 (the first time someone dressed up as Superman in public) or how Lois Lane got started.  The vote seemed even to me but Lois Lane was the winner, and Brad read a passage starting with this:

Across town, a girl pins her hair back, looks at her younger sisters and her tired, scrubbing mother, and wonders what her own future will hold. There is not much money, but she goes to the movies and sees a world that somehow seems more real than her own.  She writes for school newspaper and brings the papers home to show her dad, named Mike, who is covered in black from the steel mill.  His job will end soon. Her name is Jolan Kovacs, but nobody at school can say "Jolan" (her parents are Hungarian), so she goes by Helen.  That too will change.

She lives in Cleveland and times are tight and has little sisters so what she does is think as big as she can.  Even though she has no experience at this sort of thing, how hard could it be?  She's seen the movies and read all the magazines.  So she takes out an ad in the local paper and announces that she is a model and wants work.  She is really that interested, that desperate or just that something.  When her ad shows up in the paper, she reads it and laughs out loud.  She then gets a little scared.

The letters fly in.

Most of them are from guys looking for dates.  That makes her grimace but also smile just a bit. One is really bad.  She eventually gets to one letter that actually sound genuine.  It is from an artist, a cartoonist, who has been published, won contests and is seeking a model for a cartoon strip.  She likes the funnies, especially on Sundays, and thinks that wouldn't be too bad at all.  That might be perfect, actually.  She is impressed, so she writes him back.  His name is Mr. Joseph Shuster.

If I already hadn't grabbed a copy when I came in, I'd have hustled out to get one right then.

I started reading on the subway home, and this book is terrific!

Of course he's got blurbs from Neal Adams, a comic book artist, and Stan Lee, co-creator of Spider-Man and X-Men.  Those are go-to guys for a book about comics.

But the blurb that caught my attention was from Tracy Daugherty cause Tracy Daugherty writes books I love.

"Super Boys details how two 'underdog' high school buddies seized the future and then lost it through their creation of Superman, a hero who ultimately could not protect them from the injustices at the heart of American business.  No square panels or word balloons can contain Ricca's gripping effervescence: It's headier than a bird or a plane or a speeding bullet."

You don't need to be a comics fan to find this book fascinating!


Michael Seese said...

Not too bad for a couple of Cleveland boys.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

I shared this post with my fanboy friends. You hit a subject near and dear to my heart - comic books.

The copyright lawsuit that goes along with this story also played a part in my own 7-year intellectual property legal battle so I know the case well.

Michelle Kollar said...

I went to his book launch and got free Clark Kent glasses. It was rock in'.