Larry Tye writes about the history of Superman in his new book.Josh T. Reynolds, for USA TODAY
Larry Tye writes about the history of Superman in his new book.The book:Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring HeroBy Larry Tye Random House, $27 The bookWhat's it about: A cultural biography of the Man of Steel, the numerous adaptations, and the unresolved legal battles between heirs of the creator, Jerry Siegel, who died in 1996, and DC Comics.Why it's hot: Superman, who burst into print in 1938, remains hot: The same day Tye's book is released, an animated film, Superman vs The Elite, hits theaters (a coincidence, he says). Coming in June 2013 from Warner Bros.: Man of Steel with British actor Henry Cavill as Superman, Russell Crowe as his Kryptonian father, and Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as as his earthbound parents.A taste: "The most enduring American hero is an alien from outer space who, once he reached Earth, traded in his foreign-sounding name Kal-El for a singularly American handle: Superman."On sale: June 12The authorQuick bio: Tye, 57, a former reporter for The Boston Globe, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal and The Anniston (Ala.) Star, has written four other books, including bios of baseball legend Satchel Paige (Satchel) and public relations pioneer Edward Bernays (The Father of Spin) and was co-author with Kitty Dukakis of Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy. He lives in Lexington, Mass., with his wife, Lisa, and two children, 19, and 17, his "in-home experts on comics and kids."Fun fact: Tye has his own red cape, emblazed with a L (for Larry), a gift on the 10th anniversary in 2011 of a fellowship program he runs to help reporters improve their coverage of health care. On Superman's enduring appeal: "Part of it is the irresistible allure of taking flight. Part of it is the seduction of the love triangle and his secret identity. Part of it is just being 10 years old again. The more that flesh-and-blood role models let us down, the more we turn to fictional ones who stay true."Biggest surprise: "How brilliant writers and screenwriters have been over the years in inventing and reinventing Superman. I expected to be cynical, but I was inspired."Up next: A biography of Robert F. Kennedy, the New York senator assassinated during his 1968 presidential campaign.His summer reading: "For pleasure and work," David Rowell's 2011 novel, TheTrain of Small Mercies, inspired by 1968 photographs of crowds who gathered from New York to Washington as the train carrying RFK's body passed by.E-books or print? "Print, definitely. As an old newspaper guy, holding what I'm reading is part of the joy."
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