My Last Days by Lou Rowan ff. When I began reading this autobiography of Superman, I thought of Candide, another of literature’s great innocents who filter their alarm at the evils so prevalent in human behavior through their ever-surprised naiveté. In this case, our wholesome extraterrestrial superhero is brought face to face with the cesspool of journalism and economics that controls the lives of Metropolis.
We can make no mistake about who and what are being satirized as the author had a great deal of fun creating takeoffs on well-known names -- Giusillini, the Reverend Al Sharpie, and Van Umph, to name a few.
This book came out in 2007; Supe (as he is often called here) would undoubtedly be floored to discover what has happened in the years since.
This book, like satire in general, is funny and sad simultaneously, and then, like Candide, ultimately serious. Maybe only through laughing can we see how rife with injustice our society is. A character that sticks with me is the impoverished and starving girl Tyesha; Superman is so ingenuous that he cannot fathom her dire predicament and attributes her lack of response to the failure of his own charm when actually she is dying.
At last (finally) Superman turns out to be no idiot. He takes some rather satisfying action. I don’t think of myself as rancorous, but that really did feel good. Is there a Cultivez votre jardin moment? Not exactly. It would seem that things have gone downhill since the eighteenth century.
By the way, every chapter has a charming illustration by alum Quentin Rowan.