An Unlikely Prophet: A Metaphysical Memoir by the Legendary Writer of Superman and Batman

Excerpts & Samples

By Alvin Schwartz

Publisher : Inner Traditions/Bear & Company

ABOUT Alvin Schwartz

Alvin Schwartz
Alvin Schwartz wrote Superman and Batman strips as well as many other DC comic-book titles during the 1940s and '50s. In 2006 he received the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing. He is the author of An Unlikely Prophet and The Blowtop, which was described by the New York More...



A profound investigation into the shifting nature of identity and reality

• Looks at the ways thought is embodied and how it takes on a life of its own

• Shows how Superman, an archetype of popular culture, is a perfect example of the nonlocality of quantum physics

Writer Alvin Schwartz received a great deal of attention from fans when he began talking publicly about his seventeen-year stint writing Superman and Batman comics. One of the individuals who contacted him was no ordinary fan, but a seven-foot Buddhist monk named Thongden, a tulpa or individual who was thought into being by a Tibetan mystic. Thongden put Alvin Schwartz on the path without form, an amazing journey he took in the company of Hawaiian kahunas, quantum physicists, and superheroes. Superman, as it turns out, is also a tulpa, a being created by thought that takes on a life of its own and, in Mr. Schwartz’s words, is an archetype expressing the sense of nonlocality that is always present in the back of our minds--that capacity to be everywhere instantly. Superman is one of the specific forms that embodies our reality when we’re at our highest point, when we’re truly impermeable, indestructible, totally concentrated, and living entirely in the now, a condition each of us actually attains from time to time.

Alvin Schwartz’s story is a personal journey through a lifelong remembrance of synchrony, inspiration, accident, and magic. As it unfolds it puts into vivid clarity the saving grace that inhabits every moment of our lives. The author travels as a stranger in a strange land, whose greatest oddity is that this land is our own.
”. . . a unique meditation on time and space, personal identity, and the creative instinct.”
Independent Publisher

”The finely crafted narrative will hold readers' attention, and the speculations in this 'spiritual autobiography' (as Schwartz calls it) will give even skeptics plenty of food for thought.”
Kevin Grandfield, Booklist

“If you like comic books, especially Superman, and have an interest in Eastern spirituality, An Unlikely Prophet is the perfect book for you.”

An Unlikely Prophet is an essential text for anyone interested in the history of American comics, the principles behind fiction, and many of the themes Alan Moore has been exploring of late. Consider it ‘Kavalier & Clay’ meets the Superboy from Earth Prime.”
Rich Johnson, Comic Book Resource

". . . a can't-lay-it-down novel . . . . It's all a great adventure, a book about 'possibilities.’"
NAPRA Review

". . . a vast spiritual landscape with translucent forms from the past and future merging into physical form.”
The Edge

“Schwartz weaves a tale that lingers with you long after the read concludes. Symbolism, masked in the 'ordinary' details of Schwartz's life, is potently and subtly utilized.”
Bob Hughes,

"A rare and mystifying must-read, this book redefines the constructs of reality, imagination, and life itself."
Four Corners, Oct-Nov 2006