Special Edition Podcast

Booksplode #10 – Superman: Birthright

Show Notes

In the wake of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel film, Paul Montgomery, Conor Kilpatrick and Mike Romo look back a decade to another Superman origin story. In 2003, Mark Waid and Leinil Yu modernized the American myth of Krypton’s last son in Superman: Birthright. What’s changed? What remains the same? And does anyone have any second thoughts about Man of Steel? Brace yourselves for another Booksplode!

Running time: 00:51:08


Barbra Streisand


Get Involved

Doing the podcast is fun and all, but let's be honest, listening to the 2 of us talk to each other can get repetitive, so we look to you, the iFanboy listeners to participate in the podcast! "How can I get in on the fun?" you may ask yourself, well here's how:

  • E-Mail us at contact@ifanboy.com with any questions, comments or anything that may be on your mind.

Please don't forget to leave your name and where you're writing from and each week, we'll pick the best e-mails to include on the podcast!


  1. I had just read this leading up to the Man of Steel release, so it was great listening to this discussion! I definitely saw a lot of “Man of Steel” in this and when people ask me after watching the movie what they should read, this is what I point to.
    I’m SO glad you talked about the last two pages, because I absolutely LOVED that moment.

    Regarding Lex not knowing Clark is Superman: I think Jonathan is the one who says that even if Lex wanted to link Superman to Clark, his ego wouldn’t allow it because in Lex’s mind, nothing good will come from the “hick town” of Smallville except him. I read that as meaning it wasn’t so much that in Lex’s mind, he is the greatest mind on Earth who transcended his hometown, who came from nothing and overcame adversity and rose to become the greatest man on Earth. For him to admit that Superman also grew out of Smallville, that he has to share that common origin would be to admit that Superman is as great as he is, which is a huge leap for his ego to make. Not only that but that it wasn’t the town that held Lex back but actually Lex himself. I actually really liked that explanation and I thought it was a great dimension to Lex’s character.

    Thanks again guys. Your passion for Superman is infectious.

  2. Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    I remember HATING this when I read it a decade or so ago. Though I loved Mark Waid, and still do, this story changed my beloved John Byrne Man of Steel continuity, which seemed blasphemous at the time. All the Superman stories from 1986 until the mid-1990s were canon to me and any change to it felt like sandpaper on my skin. Though I bought a trade of this one a few months ago, I haven’t yet had time to go back and reread it. I’ll have to do it soon so I can listen to this discussion.

  3. I’m not a huge fan of Birthright. Whereas Man of Steel felt like it had a lot of new, interesting ideas for Superman, Birthright was more of a reversion to silver age Superman. It was a step backward for the character, rather than a step forward into something new.

    I especially didn’t like Clark’s preoccupation with getting in touch with “his heritage”. Byrne’s Superman was the ultimate immigrant. He left his past in the past and embraced his new identity as an earthling. Waid’s Superman let his Kryptonian past define him, which is one of my biggest gripes with Man of Steel.

  4. I read this a few years ago and I really enjoyed it. The superman books I can’t stand are those JMS Earth One books.

  5. You guys mentioned reading Man of Steel, Birthright, and Secret Origin back to back — I actually did that for my senior thesis, except Secret Origin wasn’t out yet, so I used Superman For All Seasons. It was interesting to see what themes carried over, mostly the different takes on xenophobia. I really prefer Waid’s take on Superman’s acceptance of his Kryptonian heritage to Byrne’s dismissal of it.

    Great discussion as always, guys!

  6. the aura bit actually comes from the Elliot S! Maggin novel, Last Son of Krypton, which came out in 1978. It’s also a pretty good origin story.

    I normally dont plug anything but i did a podcast recently comparing not only man of steel, birthright, and secret origin, but pretty much every origin story i could get my hands on going all the way back to action 1 thru earth 1 and the new 52 action 1-8. the evolution of the origin is pretty interesting, its a process of adding elements through the golden age, consolodating elements from various sources through the silver and bronze ages, then a complete reboot and the struggle to reintroduce old elements in new ways ever since. key things always stay, but it certainly changes to suit the different audiences and needs of the publisher.


  7. Please get the braintrust together and do a Special on Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox when it comes out! While I may not be able to watch it soon, I can hear you guys talking about it!