I've had Secret Identity sitting here for years in one of the stacks on unread graphic novels and collections. I didn't know what it was when I bought it, and I didn't know much about author Kurt Busiek. All I knew was that Stuart Immonen's art was amazing. The cover had caught my eye, so I bought the book. And now, over a decade later, I finally read it.
It is nothing short of brilliant. If you haven't read it, you should. It's about what it might be like to develop superpowers in the real world. Our world. It's about a teen named Clark Kent -- for the comic book character, because his parents had a weird sense of humor -- and how he got teased over his name. About how he always felt he was an outsider, not sure who he was or what his place in the world would be. In other words, an average teenager. And then one day, he discovered he could fly.
Everything he knew about himself changed, and part of that was not knowing who or what he was and that having more implications than ever. Finding his way in life got infinitely more complicated as he contemplated becoming a hero. The book -- originally a mini-series -- examines what it means to be a hero, what the ramifications might be if that became public. It looks at privacy and government overreaction, while at its heart, it remains a coming-of-age story, taking Clark from his teen years to a man of sixty, thereabouts. It's about making decisions and trying to live your life and it's about being human and what that means, too. And it's about hope and love and doing what is right. It's a graphic novel for the ages. And I'm very glad I got around to finally reading it.