Becoming Superman by J. Michael Straczynski

Becoming Superman

With an introduction by Neil Gaiman!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.For four decades, J. Michael Straczynski has been one of the most successful writers in Hollywood, one of the few t...

Details Becoming Superman

TitleBecoming Superman
Release DateJul 23rd, 2019
PublisherHarper Voyager
GenreNonfiction, Biography, Autobiography, Memoir, Language, Writing

Reviews Becoming Superman

  • Jason Snell
    When Joe Straczynski talks publicly about his difficult upbringing, it's easy to insert a generic, TV-movie sort of rags-to-riches story. Only in this book does he reveal, after most of the participants have died, the depths of the awfulness of his childhood and family. It's almost certainly worse than you imagined.The magic of "Becoming Superman," though, is that it's simultaneously horrifying and uplifting, and a great read. It helps that not o...
  • Robert Greenberger
    I first met Joe in 1984 when we both attended a talk by producer Dan Blatt about NBC's V series. We were both fairly terrified at his pronouncement that SF could be anything, without being grounded in, you know, science. We became friends and would run into one another at east and west coast conventions over the next few years before he blossomed into a prolific writer/producer in TV.At one point, he expressed interest in comics which led me and/...
  • Adam
    If there is anything remarkable about my life, it is that I did not come out the other side a serial killer.When I review a book, I’ll highlight passages I’ll want to refer to after I complete it. By the end of chapter two of J. Michael Straczynski’s autobiography Becoming Superman I had already highlighted an obscene amount of passages and notes expressing a mix of shock, incredulity, and an unhealthy amount of swearing. Similar to Jeanett...
  • Rebecca
    Holy cow.The first 16 pages are unnerving; the next 12 pages will curdle your blood. And it doesn't stop. Chapter after chapter, the evil, the depravity, of the author's family (mainly his father) beggars belief. For plenty of people, this is all they need for a five-star memoir. My Horrific Childhood could be the title of any number of popular books.This one is different. Yes, the author wants to lay bare the details of his family history, but i...
  • Mark Baker
    In this book, author J. Michael Stracyznski (JMS to his fans) tells the story of his family and his life. Starting with his grandparents, he gives us some background before telling us about his childhood under an abusive father and a distant mother. In between moving every few months to stay ahead of creditors, JMS discovered ways to escape via TV shows, comic books, and science fiction. As he discovered the power of words, he vowed to become a w...
  • Stewart Tame
    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. And I’m also a big fan of Straczynski’s work. I was first exposed to it in an issue of Teen Titans Spotlight, but I didn't really start to take notice of it until my wife and I started watching Babylon 5 around about season 3 or so. Anyway, yes, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion I was going to like this. You have been warned. So. This is an autobiography of J. Mich...
  • Joe Crowe
    This book is really good, an autobiography about someone whose work I knew, but not his personal history. Straczynski digs deep into both, discussing everything from his work on some of my favorite TV shows, Real Ghostbusters, He-Man, and his creation, Babylon 5. He details his comic book work, including writing the issue of Spider-Man where the Marvel heroes (and villains) reacted to the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. JMS gets to all that, but f...
  • The Kawaii Slartibartfast
    I received a copy of Becoming Superman from HarperCollins Publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Wow, this book was exceptional. The beginning was horrifying but somehow entrancing in a way that all survivor stories are.Joe Straczynski made a choice and by Grabthars hammer he stuck with it.The raw determination espoused is nothing short of inspiring. I don't think I can put into words how much this book touched me and I am ...
  • Jan Schroeder
    “My father was a monster.” As a fan who’s seen J. Michael Straczynski (JMS) at a number of appearances, I’d heard those words and imagined the worst father I’d ever known or heard of. I couldn’t have been more wrong if I’d been picturing Mr. Rogers.Year by year, step by step, JMS describes every conscious decision he made, even while extremely young, that would form him into the man he wanted to be, not what seemed destined by famil...
  • J.D. DeHart
    From comic books to real life, this author engages the reader. This book is a rarity — the chance to get to know the life of a creative voice, the reality that exists behind authorship and invention.
  • Cathy Doyle
    Just an amazing book.
  • Michael
    For a journalism course in college, we were assigned an in-depth piece on a business issue. Being a fan of sci-fi pop culture, I decided to marry my love of two new series, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Babylon Five in my assignment. Both shows were in their early days (B5 was about six to seven episodes into season one) and I decided to look at the business aspects of what kept a syndicated genre series on the airwaves.At the time, B5 creator J...
  • Clay Davis
    Many of the family's dirty laundry details would have been better left to the imagination. I wonder if the ex-wife Kathryn should not have been a co-author with the pages she wrote in the book. I would have liked more details about writing and the Babylon 5 show. Very disappointing that the actor and director Stephen Furst who played Vir Cotto on Babylon 5 who died in 2017 was not mentioned in this book while other actors who died were written ab...
  • Nancy
    Not always an easy read -- there is a lot of dark and terrible things in Straczynski's life -- but an absolutely compelling read. I did not want to put this down. (These original reading dates say it took me almost a month; in reality, it was more like two or three days, just separated by several weeks of classwork.)I personally became aware of Straczynski because of Babylon 5, which is obviously discussed, but not particularly in-depth. I suspec...
  • Dominic
    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, ...
  • Marlene
    Originally published at Reading RealityI jumped at the chance to read this book and be on this tour because, well, basically because Babylon 5. Which I’ve watched more than once, and have frequently cited in regards to its treatment of chaos vs. order in the Shadow War. Because that dichotomy rears its head, over and over, in SF, in Fantasy, in life.It’s what makes Loki such a fascinating character, because he represents chaos. While the MCU ...
  • Melissa
    While I never got into Sense 8, my husband did, and we were both fans of J. Michael Straczynski’s previous television offerings, most notably Babylon 5, and Jeremiah. When I was offered the chance to read the man’s autobiography, then, I jumped at the chance, both to read it for my own enjoyment, and because I knew my husband would also like the opportunity (we share a Kindle library).From the first word of Neil Gaiman’s introduction, I was...
  • Nathalie
    JMS is one of a kind. A writer, and a really good one. Hooked to Babylon5 from the start in the mid 90s, I still refer to him as the guy I insulted most when I watched the series, as he made me go through such a rollercoaster with his series. I was in a way mad at him for good reasons : I didn't know where the show will go, what will happen to the characters, and many times I was fooled when I thought I knew what will happen next. That was the mo...
  • Dan
    Wow, what a horribly traumatic childhood Straczynski survived in this gripping memoir. He uses his many years of storytelling experience across multiple formats to inform readers how he not only survived his abusive, alcoholic, philandering, lying, and violent father, but how he thrived in spite of him. Roughly the first half of this autobiography is about his years growing up and trying to escape his father's cruelty, and the second half is most...
  • Bonnie McDaniel
    J. Michael Straczynski has been a working writer for decades, and is the mind behind the original She-Ra, Babylon 5, Sense8, and innumerable comics, books, television scripts, and screenplays. He is also the survivor of a hellish childhood, rife with domestic violence, physical, emotional and sexual abuse, poverty, starvation--seriously, this book deserves about all the content warnings it is possible to name. Your spoon drawer needs to be well s...
  • Julie Capell
    Ever since I encountered JMS through Babylon 5, I have known he was a helluva writer. I've gone to hear him speak several times, read his scriptwriting book, and followed him through all his teevee shows, movies and comic book series. So I began reading this autobiography with pretty high expectations. In typical JMS fasion, he blew past my expectations in the first chapter, revealing that in his family, deeply held secrets formed the rotten core...
  • JM
    After reading a bunch or rock star memoirs this one was recommended to me because it was supposedly very interesting and Straczynski, whom I was familiar with as a comics writer from back in my college days and as a writer for many acclaimed TV shows I've never seen*, included many useful tips and interesting insights regarding being a writer.Man, not only is this guy's life, especially his early life, way more fucked up than the most fucked up o...
  • Michael O.
    Look, Babylon 5 is my favorite show of all time, so I didn’t exactly go into J. Michael Straczynski’s autobiography unbiased. But this book really isn’t about the shows and movies and comics, and I got a lot less of that than I thought I wanted. Instead what I got was what the cover promised: the story of a man who triumphed over what seem like impossible odds, just by doing many of the things I did as a kid - reading comics, looking for Hu...
  • Kifflie
    Wow. I'm mentally and emotionally exhausted after reading this. It is very, very hard to put down. It's not just the horror of Joe's childhood that gripped me; his writing career is also an enthralling roller coaster ride in and of itself. I picked this up mostly because I am a fan of Babylon 5 and currently going through a re-watch of the series. I did not know much at all about the other shows and comics that he's been associated with (although...
  • J. Dotson
    I've tried to come up with the words you describe how I feel about this book. I even wrote a blog post about it here: Becoming Superman by J. Michael StraczynskiBut the shorter version is this: Becoming Superman: My Journey from Poverty to Hollywood by J. Michael Straczynski is the most incredible story. And especially because it's all true. That this man endured STAGGERING abuse and somehow moved up, up, and away from it to become likely the mos...
  • Kerry
    A fascinating, no holds barred, punch you in the gut look back at the career of a fascinating man. Proof, if you need it, that you don't have to be defined by where you come from. You can choose to be better. You can choose to be Superman.
  • Mackay
    I always admired Straczynski's commentary on his TV show, Babylon 5 , a show I loved, so I was curious about his own story. It's horrifying, inspiring, and for any writer, interesting about the craft. How he Straczynski ever survived his childhood is nearly miraculous, and how he came out of that life with a moral code, a drive to succeed, and a love of story is perhaps more miraculous still. Gripping, entertaining, and shocking - and well worth ...
  • Lisa Wright
    Joe Straczynski is a superhero. He must be to have survived a brutal childhood and a roller coaster of a writing career. The story of his childhood is harrowing. Beaten by an alcoholic, abusive father and nearly killed by a mentally ill mother, Joe turned to Superman in TV and comic book form as the one good thing in his life. Here was a man who never threw the first punch, who kept every promise he ever made, who was kind and generous; everythin...
  • Meghan
    This book was received as an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. I was so intrigued from the start to read this book because it's main focus was the original TV show which I remember watching a long time ago as a child. The episode that Straczynski reflects on in the episode I remember clearly and thought it was the sweetest thing he will ever do for anyone and when I read th...
  • Mindy
    I was fortunate enough to win an advanced copy of this book here and i'm so glad I did.Quite honestly this was one of the best memoirs i've ever read. Very engaging and of course you have to love the sarcastic bits which definitely had me laughing a lot in some parts. I'm a huge fan of Joe and even more so now after reading this one. So much respect for this brilliant man.Inspiring on so many levels. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.