Tom De Haven
|Tom De Haven|
Bayonne, New Jersey
|Occupation||author, professor, private investigator|
|Alma mater||Rutgers University (1971)
Bowling Green State University (1973)
|Genre||literary noir, film noir|
Tom De Haven (born 1949) is an American author, editor, journalist, and writing teacher. His recurring subjects include literary and film noir, the Hollywood studio system and the American comics industry. De Haven is noted for his comics-themed novels, including the Derby Dugan trilogy and It's Superman.
Life and career
Born in Bayonne, New Jersey in a neighborhood that the author says is not far from where Steven Spielberg filmed War of the Worlds. He attended Catholic School, where he was a classmate of fellow author George R. R. Martin, though he notes that they weren't friends, even though Martin was an editor of the school newspaper where he was a cartoonist.
De Haven originally wanted to be cartoonist before attending college, but by the time he graduated from the university, he realized that he would never be a professional cartoonist, and considers the realization "the First Great Disappointment Of My Life". He received a Sociology degree from Rutgers University in 1971 and an MFA from Bowling Green State University in 1973.
An avid reader of comic books and graphic novels, De Haven considers himself a narrative writer, and considers the storytelling style of comics to have been a major influence on his writing since he was a child of almost six or seven.
He began teaching creative writing part-time at Hofstra University in 1981, before moving in 1987 to Rutgers to teach American Studies (including one of the first college courses on American comics) before relocating to Richmond, Virginia to become a full-time teacher.
De Haven is currently[when?] a full professor of Creative Writing at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia in the MFA program, and often teaches at least one American Studies course, including "The Graphic Novel", De Haven is also the co-creator with author Laura Browder of the VCU's First Novelist Award, honoring the best debut novel published during a calendar year. He is also a licensed private investigator. He considers himself a Democrat, and has been criticized for anti-Republican statements he has made over the years.
The author noted in an interview that he agreed with Robert Crumb's observation that the Thirties was the pinnacle of American culture. He also notes in the same interview that he finds truth to Art Spiegelman's statement "that we are, for whatever reason, most nostalgic for the decade before the one we were born in", as he was born in the Forties.
As a freelance journalist, he has written criticism for publications such as the New York Times Book Review and Entertainment Weekly. De Haven’s novels include the Funny Paper trilogy (consisting of Funny Papers (1985), Derby Dugan’s Depression Funnies (1996) and Dugan Under Ground (2001)). The trilogy's storyline stretches from the beginnings of the newspaper comic strips in the 1890s to the 1970s.
In 2005, his novel It’s Superman reinvented the early years of the well-known superhero of the same name amidst the Great Depression. The author noted his initial apprehension when he was contacted by DC Comics in 1997 in regards to writing a novel about Superman: "[S]hould I do a novel with a character that I don’t own? So I had to think about it, but I didn’t think about it very long, really. I just thought...this is too good to let go...they were giving me carte blanche." He states that his prior novels about comic strips are what prompted DC to contact him about writing the period piece. For the novel, he took as his inspiration the early Superman stories of the thirties through the fifties; wherein the hero is not fighting super-villains and Lex Luthor, but clearing slums in the New Deal era and expose corrupt politicians. De Haven says he was aiming for his hero to develop a social conscience during the Great Depression. He states in the interview that only real departure from the Superman that Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster originally created is that while their original hero lived in Cleveland, De Haven places his hero in the real "Metropolis" of New York.
Award and honors
De Haven's awards include a fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and he has twice won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. His novel, Depression Funnies, received an American Book Award in 1997. Dugan Under Ground received the Library of Virginia Fiction Award (also called the Library of Virginia Literary Awards.
- Caroline Miniscule. "The Thunder Child Interview". interview. The ThunderChild. Retrieved 12 November 2008.
- Caroline Miniscule. "Tom DeHaven's Biography". ThunderChild. Retrieved 12 November 2008.
- Michaux Dempster (Fall 2005). "An Interview with Tom De Haven". Vol 4, No. 2. Blackbird. Retrieved 12 November 2008.
- "Mighty Accomplishment". New York Times Book Review (New York Times). 2001. Retrieved 12 November 2008.
- "It's Superman!" (PDF). Pressroom. Chronicle Books. Retrieved 12 November 2008.
- Michaux Dempster (November 2005). "Tom De Haven". Interview. Blackbird. Retrieved 12 November 2008.
- De Haven, Tom (1979). Freak's Amour. NY: William Morrow. p. 276. ISBN 0-14-008679-X.
- De Haven, Tom (1980). Jersey luck: A novel. NY: Harper & Row. p. 193. ISBN 0-06-011087-2.
- De Haven, Tom (February 28, 1985). Funny Papers. NY: Viking Press. p. 368. ISBN 978-0-670-33251-9.
- De Haven, Tom; Christopher H. Bing (Illustrator) (October 1, 1992). The Orphan's Tent. NY: Atheneum. p. 192. ISBN 0-689-31967-3.
- De Haven, Tom (1987). Top Secret U.S.S.A.: Book. Avon Books. ASIN B000ILMT5U.
- De Haven, Tom; Ralph Reese (Illustrator) (1988). Joe Gosh. NY: Walker. ASIN B000VZDF7E.
- De Haven, Tom (1989). Neuromancer: the Graphic Novel, Volume 1. NY: Epic Comics/Marvel Enterprises. ISBN 0-87135-574-4.
- De Haven, Tom; Charles Burns, Gary Panter, Susan Moore (Letterer) (1990). Pixie Meat. Sudbury, MA: Water Row Press. p. 12. ISBN 0-934953-23-6.
- De Haven, Tom (January 3, 1990). Sunburn Lake (Contemporary American Fiction). NY: Penguin (Non-Classics). p. 304. ISBN 0-14-008549-1.
- De Haven, Tom (June 1, 1990). Walker of Worlds (Chronicles of the King's Tramp, Book 1. NY: Broadway. p. 350. ISBN 0-385-26430-5.
- De Haven, Tom (1991). End-Of-Everything Man (Chronicles of the King's Tramp, Book 2. NY: Doubleday. ASIN B000P3HDHU.
- De Haven, Tom (November 1, 1992). The Last Human (Chronicles of the King's Tramp, Book 3. NY: Spectra. p. 276. ISBN 0-553-37066-9.
- De Haven, Tom (1996). Derby Dugan’s Depression Funnies. NY: Metropolitan. ASIN B000UCZNNC.
- De Haven, Tom (April 1, 1997). Green Candles: Volume 1 (Paradox Graphic Mystery). NY: Pocket Books. p. 304. ISBN 0-671-00467-0.
- De Haven, Tom (2001). Dugan Under Ground: A Novel. NY: Metropolitan Books. p. 304. ISBN 0-312-42101-X.
- De Haven, Tom (September 15, 2005). It's Superman!. NY: Chronicle Books (Random House). p. 384. ISBN 0-8118-4435-8.
- De Haven, Tom (2011). Our Hero: Superman on Earth (Icons of America). Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-17124-2.
- De Haven, Tom; Henry Beck; Veronica Chapman; Brian Daley; Laurel Davis (1986). Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers. Koch Vision. ASIN B00009P9MO.
- De Haven, Tom; Henry Beck; Veronica Chapman; Brian Daley; Laurel Davis (1986). Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: Chained and Other Tales. Koch Vision. ISBN 6302800951.
- De Haven, Tom; Henry Beck; Veronica Chapman; Brian Daley; Laurel Davis (1986). Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: Mindnet and Other Tales. Koch Vision. ISBN 6302800978.
- De Haven, Tom; Henry Beck; Veronica Chapman; Brian Daley; Laurel Davis (1986). Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: Mistwalker and Other Tales. Koch Vision. ISBN 6302801125.
- De Haven, Tom; Henry Beck; Veronica Chapman; Brian Daley; Laurel Davis (1986). Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: Tortuna. Koch Vision. ASIN B0002HVE2Y.
- De Haven, Tom; Henry Beck; Veronica Chapman; Brian Daley; Laurel Davis (1986). Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: Sundancer and Other Tales. Koch Vision. ISBN 6302801001.
- De Haven, Tom; Henry Beck; Veronica Chapman; Brian Daley; Laurel Davis (1986). Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers:Supertroopers. Koch Vision. ASIN B0002HVE38.
- Tom De Haven (2008-08-10). "In Flagrante Dilecto". Sunday Book Review (New York Times). Retrieved August 10, 2008.
- Tom De Haven (October 31, 2008). "Out in the Big Empty Spaces". Sunday Book Review (New York Times). Retrieved 12 November 2008.
- 2/16/06 interview with the author
- Article with excerpts of the first pages of books by Tom De Haven
- Article and review on author Tom De Haven