Well looky here… A real fucking post for a change. Sorry, friends, it’s been a busy summer thus far, and the quality content has suffered, I know.
But what a post you! And for me, in particular, because I get to talk a little bit about what may be the brightest, keenest, coolest title for the superhero of superheroes — SUPERMAN — that exists on the DC imprint —
OR AT THE V LEAST A V STRONG RUNNER-UP.
I am talking, of course, about Grant Morrison’s seminal Supes treatment: All-Star Superman.
The series ran from 2005 to 2008, and was the brainchild of Morrison, and artist Frank Quietly, allegedly inspired at a San Diego Comic Con many years ago when they saw a cosplayer outside of the main hall gone ‘full Supes.’ But this guy was chillin’ righteously on a nearby bench.
“He looked totally relaxed,” Morrison is quoted saying. “And I suddenly realized, that’s how Superman would sit. He would be totally chilled.” … “If nothing can hurt you, you can afford to be cool.“
What manifested, then, was this twelve issue repackaging of the full breadth of Superman mythos, but in a series of pared-down tales that capture both the character’s energy and power, but personal struggle and humanity. Coupled with Morrison’s writing, which, here, more so than any other title he’s helmed, is not only that is snappy and fun. Although it was frequently pegged as “alternative,” referring to this as “alt-Superman,” I feel, is reductive and doesn’t really get to the heart of what makes it so good.
It’s got everything you know you love about Superman, and even you some of what you didn’t.
And all this — vamping on Morrison’s obvious brilliance — is to say nothing of the contribution of Quietly’s soothing visual landscape to the All-Star Superman experience. I don’t feel like there’s been a comic yet where I’ve referenced the art, which is *sad* considering that it’s probably three-quarters of the medium. Quietly’s art seems to possess an inherent sense of Zen, a sort of childlike simplicity that’s both disarming and, when used as it is in All-Star Superman, unexpected when it’s wielding the galaxy-spanning gravitas of a Superman story.
Every page captures both the Superman you recognize, but also one you don’t. All-Star Superman encapsulates this beloved and illimitable character, and then somehow manages to refine him. With each successive panel, it’s like it seems to hone Superman down more and more to the very essence of every his every aspect. Finally, he is depicted here for our modern age as, I can only presume, he was always meant to be.
I can’t suggest this Superman comic to be quintessential, because, sorry, all the facts aren’t in and, frankly, what I’m learning is that the ‘Caped One’ is an elusive subject to make both current and relevant.
Regardless, this is such a fun read, useful and proficient in all the ways a comic book should be, but hip, in a way that they almost never are.