“Becoming Superman” by J. Michael Straczynski

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Some of us might know Joseph Michael Straczynski through his work on Babylon 5. Some of us came to know him through his time on the Spider-Man and Superman comic book lines. Some might have found Joe by browsing on Netflix and finding Sense8. Some of us might even know him primarily through his always amusing and often insightful Twitter feed.

Well, unless you’ve read this book, you don’t know Joe.

Becoming Superman is a surprisingly intimate, honest, and at times raw look back on Straczynski’s life, especially his youth. Reading this book, I felt like I was afforded a peak inside the mind of a brilliant writer sometimes haunted by demons from his past. Straczynski’s life story is in parts both depressing and inspiring, sometimes all at the same time. And being a master storyteller, Straczynski knows exactly how to tell his life’s story to keep readers engaged.

I’m reluctant to talk too much about Straczynski’s life in this review because there are details that I think need to come directly from him. That said, readers should be warned that Becoming Superman is an intense read. Straczynski did not have a stable and supporting family (to say the least!), and Becoming Superman contains detailed accounts of physical and psychological abuse.

It’s become a truism to claim that life is stranger than fiction, but Straczynski’s Becoming Superman certainly ranks amongst the most interesting stories he’s ever told. I feel as if reading this book I’ve vicariously experienced both the best and worst that life has to offer. The fact that it’s true only increases my admiration for the man. I’d long admired Joe Straczynski as a writer, but now I admire his perseverance and accomplishments in the face of such adversity.

Becoming Superman easily ranks as one of the most meaningful books I’ve read in years. Highly recommended for readers interested in any of Straczynski’s work, as well as anyone interested in compelling life stories.

If you’re still uncertain if Becoming Superman is for you, Straczynski himself wrote out a brief synopsis of the book on Twitter.

Becoming Superman goes on sale on July 23, 2019. I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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