The Austin Chronicle

Summer Reading

Beyond Texas

By Robert Faires, May 28, 2004, Books

It's a Bird ...

by Steven T. Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen

Vertigo, 128 pp., $24.95

You might not think it would be a job for Superman to help the guy who pens his stories, but in Steven Seagle's semi-autobiographical tale, it's the Man of Steel to the rescue of a comic-book scribe in distress. He's offered the dream job of writing the original superhero but finds the prospect about as appealing as Supes does a pocket full of Kryptonite. He has not only never related to the character, he's distracted by family and relationship issues, as well as the looming shadow of an incurable disease that runs in his family. This writer, like Jor-El, restlessly seeks answers that will keep his world from blowing apart, and in his struggle to get Superman, the character becomes the lens through which the writer's able to see his own life with clarity. Teddy Kristiansen illustrates this restiveness in constantly shifting art styles – delicately lined figures; angular, expressionistic landscapes; moody, chiaroscuro portraits – that offer dramatic new views of Krypton's last son. The freshness and thoughtfulness of his and Seagle's presentation make us see why this strange visitor from another planet still fascinates.

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