The Aston­ish­ing Secret of Awe­some Man

Jake Park­er, illus.

  • Review
By – April 24, 2012

With the look and flair of a clas­sic Mar­vel Com­ic, this is a book sure to delight young super­hero fans. Awe­some Man has every­thing one expects from a com­ic book hero: a snazzy form-fit­ting out­fit with a huge let­ter A on the front, a red cape, a black mask, a loy­al side­kick (Moskowitz the Awe­some Dog) and, best of all, a secret iden­ti­ty. Awe­some Man also has a few espe­cial­ly awe­some super­pow­ers like positron­ic rays that shoot out of his eye­balls and his trade­mark Awe­some Pow­er Grip. These come in handy when con­fronting var­i­ous forces of evil like the Flam­ing Eye­ball and the Red Shark. Uti­liz­ing nar­ra­tive and visu­al clues, the secret iden­ti­ty of our super­hero slow­ly comes to light, reveal­ing that Awe­some Man is real­ly a young boy. While high-pow­er lin­go like ther­movul­can­ized pro­tein-deliv­ery orb” deliv­ers a com­ic book punch, more con­tem­po­rary phras­es such as stylin’” and ginor­mous” bring the text into the present. Bold­ly col­ored illus­tra­tions include some half-tone back­grounds that give them an authen­tic retro feel.

The Jew­ish sen­si­bil­i­ty for which Chabon has been not­ed in his adult offer­ings, although unspo­ken, per­me­ates this sto­ry in a sub­tle yet def­i­nite way. Although this is not a Jew­ish book, per se, this feels like part of Chabon’s Jew­ish canon, par­tic­u­lar­ly in light of his nov­el The Amaz­ing Adven­tures of Kava­lier and Clay, which explored the Jew­ish roots of the com­ic book indus­try in all its col­or­ful glo­ry. It is high­ly rec­om­mend­ed for chil­dren of all ages and adults who once loved com­ic books and per­haps still do.
Teri Mark­son has been a children’s librar­i­an for over 18 years. She is cur­rent­ly the act­ing senior librar­i­an at the Val­ley Plaza Branch Library in North Hol­ly­wood, CA.

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