The histories of Batman and Superman

Posted by David Konow

The tales of Batman and Superman, from comics to billion dollar industries, offer rich, detailed histories that would provide a great and rewarding challenge for any writer. 



They're the two big daddies of the comic world, and it sure wouldn't be easy to sift through all the history leading up to today, but again, there's a lot there if you want to dig in and excavate.

The histories of Batman and Superman
 
So now the histories of both Superman and Batman are at your local book store, and what makes the Batman book interesting is that it's written by Michael Uslan who helped bring the caped crusader back in the 80's. 

Plus, Uslan has the executive producer on every Batman film since the 1989 Tim Burton big screen version, and it was also his mission to make Batman the much darker story that it really is instead of the campy, 60's TV version.
 
Uslan's history / memoir is titled The Boy Who Loved Batman, and it's a great companion piece to the new history of Superman, which just came out through Random House. The book's full title is Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero, which is penned by Larry Tye, who in the course of his research, interviewed hundreds of people.

He also sifted through unpublished autobiographies of the men behind the Superman comics, Jerry Siegel, who created the character, and Jack Liebowitz, who co-owned DC Comics. 

Both men lost their fathers young, and the man of steel became somewhat of a surrogate papa to them, just like many children look up to their father as an omnipotent hero when they're younger.
 
As to why he chose the Man of Steel as his subject, Tye explained, "What better way to understand modern-day heroes, I thought, than to look at Superman, who tapped into the American psyche more effectively than anyone and has lasted longer than all of them…I had grown up reading Superman comics and Superman remains comfort food for my spirit."

Tye continued that with Superman, his "enduring power starts with the simplicity of his story, and that "nobody has a more instinctual sense than Superman of right and wrong. Superman has always embodied our best selves and our collective aspirations. The more jaded the era, the more we have been lured back to his elemental familiarity."