Featuring an introduction by Neil Gaiman!
“J. Michael Straczynski is, without question, one of the greatest science fiction minds of our time.” Max Brooks (World War Z)
For four decades, J. Michael Straczynski has been one of the most successful writers in Hollywood, one of the few to forge multiple careers in movies, television and comics. Yet there’s one story he’s never told before: his own.
In this dazzling memoir, the acclaimed writer behind Babylon 5, Sense8, Clint Eastwood’s Changeling and Marvel’s Thor reveals how the power of creativity and imagination enabled him to overcome the horrors of his youth and a dysfunctional family haunted by madness, murder and a terrible secret.
Joe's early life nearly defies belief. Raised by damaged adults—a con-man grandfather and a manipulative grandmother, a violent, drunken father and a mother who was repeatedly institutionalized—Joe grew up in abject poverty, living in slums and projects when not on the road, crisscrossing the country in his father’s desperate attempts to escape the consequences of his past.
To survive his abusive environment Joe found refuge in his beloved comics and his dreams, immersing himself in imaginary worlds populated by superheroes whose amazing powers allowed them to overcome any adversity. The deeper he read, the more he came to realize that he, too, had a superpower: the ability to tell stories and make everything come out the way he wanted it. But even as he found success, he could not escape a dark and shocking secret that hung over his family’s past, a violent truth that he uncovered over the course of decades involving mass murder.
Straczynski’s personal history has always been shrouded in mystery. Becoming Superman lays bare the facts of his life: a story of creation and darkness, hope and success, a larger-than-life villain and a little boy who became the hero of his own life. It is also a compelling behind-the-scenes look at some of the most successful TV series and movies recognized around the world.
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About the Author
Neil Gaiman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Norse Mythology, Neverwhere, and The Graveyard Book. Among his numerous literary awards are the Newbery and Carnegie medals, and the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, and Will Eisner awards. Originally from England, he now lives in America.
Table of Contents
Introduction Neil Gaiman xiii
Chapter 1 We Were Told 1
Chapter 2 Strange Relations 17
Chapter 3 Faster Than a Speeding Bullet 29
Chapter 4 Death as a Lifestyle 35
Chapter 5 Pigeon Dinner with a Slice of Watermelon 39
Chapter 6 The First One's Always Free 49
Chapter 7 The Face Behind the Mask 65
Chapter 8 The Wind Took Away His Name 73
Chapter 9 Being Invisible 81
Chapter 10 Targets of Opportunity 89
Chapter 11 Patricide by Proxy 103
Chapter 12 Discovering Words, Worlds, and Estrogen 115
Chapter 13 The God Thing 131
Chapter 14 The Weed of Evil Bears Strange Fruit 145
Chapter 15 The God Thing, Redux 155
Chapter 16 Blood in the Street 169
Chapter 17 When the Light at the End of the Tunnel Isn't a Train (For a Change) 183
Chapter 18 The Big Con 207
Chapter 19 God, Death, and Harlan Ellison 223
Chapter 20 An Unexpected Journey to Toon-Town 233
Chapter 21 Who Ya Gonna Call? 249
Chapter 22 Captain, My Captain 269
Chapter 23 Into the Zone 279
Chapter 24 Blowing Up the World 285
Chapter 25 Things I Learned Dancing with the Fatman 295
Chapter 26 Paging Jessica Fletcher 303
Chapter 27 Boarding Babylon 323
Chapter 28 The Christmas Ambush 333
Chapter 29 Swingin' with Spider-Man 355
Chapter 30 Lost in the Tall Grass with Jeremiah 367
Chapter 31 What Was I Thinking? 389
Chapter 32 Being Superman 407
Chapter 33 The Truth Unearthed 413
Chapter 34 Selah 433