Book Reviews

The best place to start reading… Superman!

This is part 1 of my 24-part-series „Super-Heroes: Best Place to start“ [Link to the complete list… here!].


You’re interested in Superman [Link] / Clark Kent [Link]?

To me, the best place to start is:

„Superman for all Seasons“ by Joeph Loeb (Writing) and Tim Sale (Art), a trade paperback collection [Link] published in 1999.


What’s the appeal of… Clark Kent?

Clark won a Pulitzer for his work at the „Daily Planet“. He’s a self-aware, fiercely idealistic advocate. A loving husband. And a constant, smart reminder that we can change our worlds… once we harness our power, and work towards our best.


3 other books, good for beginners:


good books for advanced readers:


sub-par or disappointing books:


common problems / grievances in „Superman“ books:

  • …endless fistfights / brawls with brutish, one-dimensional monsters, mutants and aliens.
  • …extremely likeable side characters… who have nothing to do and hardly change or evolve.
  • Every month, „Batman“ has nearly one dozen of interconnected, complex titles with a variety of fully fleshed-out bat-characters working in Gotham City. „Superman“ does not have that kind of editorial attention / worldbuilding / energy.


Is the current monthly „Superman“ book, launched in September 2011, any good?

Yes. Grant Morrison’s „Action Comic“ is a faced-paced, engaging starting point for new readers. „Superman“ is a little wooden, talky and old-fashioned… but likeable, too.

Interested in other comic book heroes?

I’d recommend „Supergirl“, „Wonder Woman“ and „Green Arrow“.

Here’s my full list [Link]!


related Links:

my German comic book journalism:

No Need to Read? 40 disappointing Literary Classics.

Coming up: A list of noteworthy, accomplished and exciting authors

…and the books that didn’t quite work.

Not all of these classics are total failures or trainwrecks – but with all of them, the author either has much better alternative books (I’ll work out a list with recommendations next month)… or the book just wasn’t a very profound or joyful reading experience.

If I could travel back in time and prevent my younger self from wasting time with certain „classic“ books… these would be my candidates:


Chingis (Tschingis) AITMATOV: ‚Jamilia‘ (Dschamilja), 1958

Martin AMIS: ‚Time’s Arrow‘, 1991

Jane AUSTEN: ‚Pride and Prejudice‘, 1813

Simone de BEAUVOIR: ‚All Men are mortal‘, 1946

Thomas BERNHARD: ‚The Loser‘ (Der Untergeher), 1983

Georg BÜCHNER: ‚Leonce & Lena‘, 1838

Mikhail BULGAKOV: ‚Master and Marguerite‘, 1942

Albert CAMUS: ‚A Happy Death‘, 1971

Lewis CARROLL: ‚Through the Looking Glass‘ / ‚Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland‘, 1871 / 1865

Bruce CHATWIN: ‚Songlines‘, 1987

Paulo COELHO: ‚Veronika decides to die‘, 1998

J.M. COETZEE: ‚Disgrace‘, 1999

Don DeLILLO: ‚Falling Man‘, 2007

Junot DIAZ: ‚The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao‘, 2007

Ford Madox FORD: ‚The Good Soldier‘, 1914

Richard FORD: ‚The Sportswriter‘, 1986

E.M. FORSTER: ‚Howard’s End‘, 1910

Nathaniel HAWTHORNE: ‚The Scarlet Letter‘, 1850

Gerhard HAUPTMANN: ‚Lineman Thiel‘, 1888

Ernest HEMINGWAY: ‚To Have and Have not‘, 1937

S.E. HINTON: ‚The Outsiders‘, 1967

James JOYCE: ‚Portrait of the Artist as a young Man‘, 1916

Uwe JOHNSON: ‚Speculations about Jakob‘, 1959

Heinrich von KLEIST: ‚The Marquise of O‘, 1808

Guiseppe Tomasi di LAMPEDUSA: ‚Il Gattopardo‘, 1958

Margaret LAURENCE: ‚The Diviners‘, 1974

Klaus MANN: ‚Pathetic Symphony‘, 1935

Gabriel Garcia MARQUEZ, ‚Love in the Time of Cholera‘, 1985

W. Somerset MAUGHAM: ‚Of Human Bondage‘, 1915

Ian McEWAN: ‚Enduring Love‘, 1991

Haruki MURAKAMI: ‚Afterdark‘, 2004

Vladimir NABOKOV: ‚Transparent Things‘, 1972

Juan Carlos ONETTI: ‚A Brief Life‘, 1950

Annie PROULX: ‚The Shipping News‘, 1993

Jean-Paul SARTRE: ‚The Words‘, 1964

Andrezej SZCZYPIORSKI: ‚The Beautiful Mrs. Seidenmann‘, 1972

Ingo SCHULZE: ‚Simple Storys‘, 1998

Birgit VANDERBEKE: ‚Das Muschelessen‘, 1990

Thornton WILDER: ‚Theophilus North‘, 1973

Virginia WOOLF: ‚Orlando‘, 1928


What books did you regret? What classics are overrated? Let me know in the comments!


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