Monday, 10 May 2010

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet, Part One: Superman

Superman. Kal-El. Clark Kent. The Man Of Steel. The Last Son of Krypton. The Man of Tomorrow.

To me, he's almost seemed like one of the hardest characters to write for. His array of powers and the fact he is indestructible whilst powered by a yellow sun means very little can believably threaten him.

Kryptonite was introduced in the Forties (first on the radio adaptation, then added to the comics) to give the character an Achilles Heel. But Superman has even died and got better.

Although granted, he's not alone in that matter in the DCU!

There have been some really shockingly bad Superman stories. The Blue-Red energy Superman storyline in the Nineties springs to mind, which was a bold attempt to re-imagine the character, but fell flat on its face in my opinion. Heck, I bought those issues excited at a new jump on point for Supes. They are now excised form my collection!

I was also shocked to discover that I didn't enjoy Kurt Busiek's run on Superman. Camelot Falls, The Third Kryptonian, etc. just didn't do it for me.

Conversely, Brian Azzarello's Superman For Tomorrow story was stunning. It helps that it had beautiful artwork from Jim Lee of course. But the heart of it was that it didn't focus on Superman's abilities. It looked at what Kal-El can't do. When a bunch of people around the world vanish - including Lois - Clark doubts his ability to continue as Superman and finds a kindred spirit in a priest who is struggling with a crisis of faith.

Mark Millar's Red Son, Geoff Johns & Richard Donner's Last Son and Geoff Johns' Legion Of Super Heroes and Brainiac are also excellent examples of Superman storytelling. Check them out.

I have mentioned that the recent New Krypton storytelling and its effects on the Superman titles have seemed fairly lacklustre up until the current War of The Supermen event.

Well, I am excited to say I think Superman is coming back with a bang. Up there in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it clichéd writing on the part of this blogger? Well kinda. But no! It's two incredible writers! J. Michael Straczynski and Paul Cornell.

Superman #700 will come out in June. It's a bumper celebration issue with a beautiful cover from Gary Frank, evocative of the Superman movies, and three different stories. Dan Jurgens, the writer who penned the 'Death Of Superman' is doing one of them. Another comes from recent Superman scribe and Starman legend James Robinson.

The third story comes from the new ongoing writer J. Michael Straczynski and is billed by DC as being an "explosive, all-new direction for The Man of Steel". In July, JMS gets the whole issue to himself and beings his new storyarc. DC's solicitation says this:

After the devastating events of WAR OF THE SUPERMEN, how can Superman possibly continue his battle for Truth, Justice and the American Way? Find out here in "Grounded" part 1 and get in on the starting line of a modern-classic SUPERMAN story!

JMS is also taking over on Wonder Woman, contributing to the landmark #600 issue in June and then owning the show with issue #601 in July.

I'm really psyched about this, two of DC's iconic characters have languished with more sales due to uninspiring stories. Now we have JMS tackling Superman and Wonder Woman and Grant Morrison continuing on Batman.

I have high hopes that on the horizon we will get a new Justice League Of America line up akin to Morrison's classic run or indeed Brad Meltzer's Tornado's Path story.

Ben Fardon is the owner, proprietor, manager and filing clerk for Proud Lion. Bascially, Ben is Proud Lion is Ben. He often uses the personal pronoun 'we', in an attempt to not feel like a man alone. In that context 'we' refers to Ben, the bricks and mortar, the stock and the branding that comprises Proud Lion. It also makes him sound kind of crazy. 'We' are OK with that.

Ben has been reading comics since he was five years old and his Dad bought him a Transformers comic at the local newsagent. In the same comic were reprints of Iron Man in the red and silver armour. To this day, Tony Stark is his favourite superhero.

He likes eating, swimming and science fiction Tv series. He recently became addicted to The West Wing.

One day, he'll finish a script for something.

No comments:

Post a Comment