Myth Conception

Author Brad Meltzer links a Bible tale to the creation of Superman.

The Book of Lies started when a woman came to me and told an incredible story,” says Brad Meltzer about the novel he’ll read from and sign tonight — and he’s not exaggerating.

The woman in question turned out to be the niece of the late Jerry Siegel, who came up with the idea for Superman with partner Joe Shuster in the 1930s. She told him that Siegel’s father died during a robbery when Jerry was a teenager — and while investigating the circumstances of this tragedy, Meltzer grew convinced that the incident spurred Superman’s invention. As Meltzer puts it, Siegel’s father “died during a crime, and then he goes on to create the world’s greatest crimefighter — and nobody knows the story.”

As a longtime comics fan whose credits in the medium include an acclaimed Justice League of America series co-starring the Man of Steel, Meltzer was fascinated by this revelation — but he felt that building an entire book around the information “was maybe even a little bit too geeky for me, and that’s saying something.” Instead, he used the material as a thread in Lies, a complex tale that includes a search for the original weapon with which Cain slew Abel and the troubled relationship between a contemporary father and son inspired by “my own personal baggage,” he admits.

The combination is as unlikely as it is meaningful to Meltzer. “This is as honest as I’ve ever been with my readership,” he maintains. “And it involves arguably two of my favorite stories ever told, Cain and Abel and Superman — as crazy as it is to say in the same sentence.”

Meltzer takes the podium at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover Highlands Ranch, 9315 Dorchester Street; admission is free. Learn more at 303-470-7050 or www.tatteredcover.com — and read an extended Meltzer Q&A at blogs.westword.com/latestword.
Thu., Sept. 11, 2008

 
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