MaxBarry.com
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Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.

Blog

Fri 19
May
2006

Look! Up in the top left panel! It’s….

Jennifer Government Clark Kent reads Jennifer GovernmentOkay, let me just get my breath. All right. The other day—no, wait, I need another minute.

Okay. Okay. I’m just going to say it: in the latest issue of Action Comics, Clark Kent is reading Jennifer Government.

Action Comics is the series that introduced Superman in 1938. And now he’s reading my book.

This is possibly the greatest moment of my life.

Just before I left Australia, I noticed I had a couple of emails with odd subject lines, like “Superman reads Jennifer Government.” But I had a plane to catch and didn’t get around to reading these for a couple of weeks. Then I was sure that it couldn’t be true, that maybe Clark was reading a book that just looked a bit like one of mine if you turned the page upside down and squinted, because… well, it just couldn’t be. But if that was happening, a lot of people seemed to be doing it.

So I emailed DC Comics, pausing only briefly to wipe the drool from my keyboard, and soon had not only confirmation that this extraordinary event had actually come to pass, but a fascinating (and flattering) explanation as to how:

I’m glad you enjoyed the bit — I’m Kurt Busiek, co-writer of that issue, and the guy who violated copyright on your book cover for my own nefarious purposes. The idea, mostly, was that in the past, whenever Clark mentions reading anything, he almost invariably mentions Dickens or Austen or some other long-dead writer that the audience knows from being forced to read them in high school lit class. Since Clark’s supposed to be in his early thirties, I want him to come across like a reasonably young guy, not like your college professor’s dad (and I say that as a big Jane Austen fan; it ain’t the quality, it’s the image). So I wanted Clark to be reading something current, interesting and smart. Something that made him look like he’s part of this century and knows what’s good.

I’m not ashamed to admit that this made me giggle like a schoolgirl who just found the penis pictures in her biology textbook.

My new goal is to land a poster-sized copy, so I can frame it and hang it somewhere conspicuous, like on the front of my house. I mean, Superman! Superman!

Comments

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Machine Man subscriber Bushra (#36)

Location: Fremont, California
Quote: "www.caffeinatedmuslim.com"
Posted: 2889 days ago

Max, that is pretty cool. I'm a huge Superman fan and the fact that Clark is reading your book is awesome.

Machine Man subscriber Alex (#237)

Location: London, England
Quote: "We're today's scrambled creatures, locked in tomorrow's double feature (Bowie)"
Posted: 2889 days ago

Tres cool!

Yenzo (#829)

Location: Secret underwater pyramid base in the Pacific
Quote: "In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe (Carl Sagan)"
Posted: 2889 days ago

Congratulations, man. Now let's wait for the issue where Kent and his Daily Planet buddies discuss Company... or Superman and Batman talking about who's sexier: 6 or J.G.

No, seriously: Walk proudly, Mr. Barry. :-)

Anita Heiney (#292)

Location: Richmond, VA USA
Quote: "I came. I signed up. I got an error."
Posted: 2889 days ago

Hee hee hee - you said 'penis.'
hee hee

Dude - that's way cool. That's cooler than cool - that's Super Cool! Congrats to you!

Picto (#64)

Location: United Kingdom
Quote: "Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light? - Maurice Freehill"
Posted: 2889 days ago

Sweet.

Machine Man subscriber Danni Brennand (#357)

Location: England
Quote: "Eagerly awaiting the European Tour."
Posted: 2889 days ago

This is so great! You deserve it- Jennifer Government is still my favourite book :)

Mike Sarzo (#517)

Posted: 2889 days ago

Wow, that's great! More publicity for Jennifer Government! Next thing you know, he'll be shown on his laptop playing NationStates. :p

Machine Man subscriber Kramy (#818)

Quote: ""it's the way of the future""
Posted: 2889 days ago

Woah! now that is so wow cool!

Feel proud Max, feel proud!

Can't believe it, SUPERMAN! Congrats dude! :)

shabooty (#637)

Location: D.C./V.A/M.D.
Quote: "I will shake your foundation. I will shake the f**cking rafters. Nobody'll be the same -Danny Bonaduce ....& go visit my blog @: http://www.shabooty.com"
Posted: 2889 days ago

lol I love chiming in with these kind of comments but
let's hope the superman curse doesnt get ya now
;)
-s-

but yeah- uber coolage d00d

Duncan (#1311)

Location: Arizona Nova
Quote: "Death to Todd Bunker"
Posted: 2889 days ago

Superman playing NationStates? That would rock so hard the servers would explode.

Kalle (#1278)

Quote: "Sex is herital. If your parents never had it, chanses are you'll never have it either."
Posted: 2888 days ago

Nice Max! I didn't even know Superman was still running. Nice way to find out!

Nora Jean Stone (#1170)

Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Quote: "Do Wa Ditty, Life in the CITY, where the Women are Strong and the Men are Pretty... anon"
Posted: 2888 days ago

You've invaded a new reading crowd. Those who read comix will want to know what is this book that Superman is reading. How cool is that? I wonder if your book sales spiked? Gosh, it must be so exciting for you being picked as current popular culture.

Carly (#2091)

Posted: 2888 days ago

ROFLMAO!!!

Sehr toll, Max!

Chris McBride (#1977)

Location: Belfast, N.Ireland
Quote: "Plagiarism saves thinking time"
Posted: 2888 days ago

What amazes me is how accurately they copied the book.

Mincetro (#584)

Quote: "This isn't skiing"
Posted: 2888 days ago

I love how Kurk Busiek compared you to Dickens and Jane Austen.

Mindy Beth (#2341)

Location: Tualatin, OR
Posted: 2888 days ago

Way to go! Totally cool!

Jason (#1193)

Location: Indianapolis, IN
Quote: "The bulwark of the suggestion box has failed."
Posted: 2888 days ago

Daaaaaaaaamn that is so many levels of cool it's almost impossible to measure.

John Doe (#797)

Location: Live from Omicron Persei 8
Quote: "You're just jealous because the little voices only talk to me."
Posted: 2888 days ago

w00t

Hobbie (#1359)

Location: Cornwall, England
Quote: "There was a little man in his hair!"
Posted: 2888 days ago

Come on guys... jeeze... not like it's someone REALLY cool, like Batman. :)

Tim Ashwood (#595)

Location: Sydney
Posted: 2888 days ago

Being published? Professional satisfaction.
Producing a darling little girl? Personal delight.
Being incorporated into Superman? Abso-frigging-lutely awesome!

Rod McBride (#688)

Location: Gardner, KS
Quote: "www.MidwestRockLobster.blogspot.com"
Posted: 2888 days ago

What a tribute!

Machine Man subscriber David (#1456)

Location: Sydney, Australia
Quote: "Why are the pretty ones always insane?"
Posted: 2888 days ago

Screw those New York Times reviews, you're Clark Kent's favourite author!

However, when wearing the tights and travelling faster than a speeding bullet I believe he prefers something more chick-lit'ie to pass the (short) time...

Coolet (#37)

Location: Goshen, Indiana
Quote: "Man who goes to bed with itchy bum, wakes up with smelly finger."
Posted: 2888 days ago

L#@!OL, WOW! AWSOME! Congrats.. ^_^~

shalini (#717)

Location: http://www.kai-india.com
Posted: 2888 days ago

nice one - solid proof that you've not only made it in this, but also alternate, universes!

SilverCloud (#2038)

Location: SANTA MONICA ,CA.U.S.A.
Quote: "Fortune Favors the Brave"
Posted: 2888 days ago

Hey..That's a totally cool poster.
How about a second printing of the poster..say 500,000
I would gladly hang it on my wall
You were cool before the poster, now you've become immortal.

Rick (#2406)

Posted: 2888 days ago

You're welcome, Max. :)

Machine Man subscriber Mapuche (#1184)

Location: Darwin, Australia
Quote: "Inconceivable!"
Posted: 2888 days ago

Sue their a**es off for breach of copyright! LOL

Just kidding, that is just... out there for coolness..

Will (#2384)

Location: In the depths of Yorkshire.
Quote: "You can only be young once. But you can always be immature."
Posted: 2888 days ago

=O! Congratulations!

Now i wonder how many people are going to go out and buy that copy of Superman now...

Rob2Kx (#1125)

Location: Canada
Quote: "Anything for laughs even if it kills you"
Posted: 2888 days ago

you said penis.

Michael Ricksand (#2212)

Location: Terra
Quote: "You do not have a right to be stupid."
Posted: 2888 days ago

I dont't think there is a greater honour to be given to a book. And to top it off, it was Kurt Busiek himself who chose it! Mr Astro City!

Jason Wallwork (#675)

Location: Peterborough, Canada
Quote: "If it ain't broke you're not trying hard enough."
Posted: 2887 days ago

That's awesome. A superhero who was a creation by a Canadian who went on to became an American icon, reading a famous book written by an Australian. Who says globalisation is all bad?

kap (#1374)

Location: DC
Posted: 2887 days ago

Try finding out (from Kurt, or with help from some geeks (and there are plenty of us here I'm sure)) if you can buy that page of art from the artist, if the artist actually drew that on the page and it wasn't added after. That'd be one kickass piece of original art.

DewKnight (#815)

Location: WP, CO,USA
Quote: "Booyah"
Posted: 2887 days ago

You're bound to get a few more search engine results with the "superman" and "penis" keywords, I would expect.

Kurt Busiek (#2410)

Location: The Vast Pacific Northwest
Posted: 2887 days ago

>> Try finding out .. if you can buy that page of art from the artist, if the artist actually drew that on the page and it wasn't added after. >>

Alas, it was added after -- we just stole the Amazon cover-image file and dropped it in during the coloring stage. There's nothing but a white rectangle there on the original art.

But DC is doing up an 11 X 17 color print of the page for Max, in recognition for his unwitting contribution to the Superman mythos and as thanks for not having his publishers sue them.

Now that Max has printed an image owned by DC in his blong, though, they're going to sue him unless his next novel contains the line, "My! That Kurt Busiek certainly is a fine fellow, wouldn't you say?"

Or so I hear.

kdb

David L (#2403)

Location: New Jersey
Quote: "I'm a nasty piece of work, chief. Ask anybody. - John Constantine"
Posted: 2887 days ago

Max, this is flat out awesome. As hinted by my quote, I am a total comic book nerd and am flat out amazed. Not only do you get such recogniton but you got an email fron Kurt Busiek! A message from the man behind Astro City and Marvels -- two of the best things ever published for the medium and that isn't just my sole, humble opinion. You have no idea how honored you should be. I, myself, feel lucky enough to have posted just below him! (Not to hijack the post or anything but) Mr. Busiek, you and Geoff Johns keep up the good work on Action Comics, this is perhaps the best Superman story I have ever read.

Machine Man subscriber eldpollard (#1687)

Location: Blighty
Quote: "So it turns out the only only way to stop the butler running is to cut off his legs."
Posted: 2886 days ago

Wow. just wow. Thats amazing.
Grrr. Ive lost my Jennifer Government copy, ill have to find it. I probably should clean my room so i can see it.

Steve Collins (#1763)

Location: Canberra, Australia
Quote: "Ouch!"
Posted: 2886 days ago

Nice. And it's the same JG cover I have on my copy.

Now, if it had been Sandman, or one of the X-Men or Melaka Fray reading (I dramatically give away my reading prefs here, don't I?) THAT would be even cooler.

That said, Superman rates fairly high in the coolness stakes.

Jeffrey (#2286)

Location: Right here
Quote: "Mathematics is a powerful language. Just look at how mathematicians destroyed the housing market."
Posted: 2886 days ago

Sweet Ass Sweet

Cupie (#1396)

Location: Seattle-ish
Quote: ""You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think." -Dorothy Parker"
Posted: 2886 days ago

Hot damn Martha! You sit solidly in the lap of pop culture, faboo!

Coley (#2323)

Location: USA
Quote: "I was walking home one night and a guy hammering on a roof called me a paranoid little weirdo. In morse code"
Posted: 2884 days ago

O_O AMAZINGLY AWESOME!!!!!!!

Joe (#2270)

Location: Campbell, CA, USA
Quote: "I'm subverting the system from the inside. I think."
Posted: 2884 days ago

Hey Max,

Before you get too excited about Superman's endorsement, you might want to check out

http://www.superdickery.com/dick/1.html

for an aspect of Superman's character you might have been unaware of. :-)

Mincetro (#584)

Quote: "This isn't skiing"
Posted: 2881 days ago

Kurt Busiek posted on one of my favorite authors blogs about one of my favorite super heroes reading one of my favorite books - this has been one awesome week!
Can we buy the posters?

Trespassers Will (#2174)

Location: Puyallup, WA
Quote: ""...and if I laugh at any mortal thing, 'tis that I may not weep" - Lord Byron"
Posted: 2876 days ago

Congratulations, Max!

You've really hit the Bigtime!

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