Clark Kent Will Never Be an All-Star
I just finished reading All-Star Superman written by Grant Morrison, art by Frank Quietly, and letters by Jamie Grant. It was a pretty good story that found its way to an animated movie that I just remembered watching a few years back. I read this for my comic theory class, and I am glad that I finished this book. It was a pretty quick read compared to the scholarly articles I’ve been trying to power through with very little success.
The story is about Superman’s last days on Earth and having to fulfill a challenge of completing 12 amazing tasks. The reason it is his last days on Earth is because Lex Luthor found a way to use the sun to poison his cells and kill him slowly. Think of it as a reference to: “too much of a good thing can be bad for you.” I thought the story was kind of convoluted at first. The different chapters didn’t make sense story wise until probably the middle of the book when all the character began interacting with each other. I think that says much about the difference storytelling has on graphic novels opposed o monthly comic books. I tend to confuse the trade comics, which are monthly issue story arcs bound in a single package. Graphic novels tend to be standalone stories. So, the chapters don’t necessarily have to connect if they work for the overall story.
The big thing that stood out to me about this is the lack of attention that is given to Clark Kent. It was kind of irritating because I wanted Clark to shine for once, and that didn’t really happen. Essentially Clark is like a big oaf that slips on loose papers on the ground and has very little confidence. Superman is the opposite. There were times where Clark was spotted by enemies and called out and people ignored them because they could not get themselves to see that Clark is Superman. The thing that was stupid is that he came out to Louis and she still didn’t believe him. Or when everybody thought that Superman was impersonating Clark because there is no way in Hell that Clark could be Superman.
I think that speaks to the whole dilemma as to why Marvel movies are better than DC movies over all. When you watch a Spiderman, Ironman, or Captain America movie, you are also getting a Peter Parker, Tony Stark, and Steve Rodgers movie. Yet, when you get a Superman movie, you are just getting a Superman movie. To understand that and come to term with it lets me see these two versions of superhero lore for what it is. All the criticism that DC gets for not having characters that people can relate to is by design. That is what their IP are based off. Who can relate to being the last of a dying breed like Superman, or an Amazon that was molded out of clay by the gods themselves. Those aren’t the average tween stories we grow up on. Those are the myths we speak about.
I would love to see a story like Smallville, which focused on Clark Kent because it wasn’t a Superman title, but I know that would go against the identity of the brand. Although I will point out that the approach works for the animated universe because the explosions and action packed superhero stuff is always eye candy in cartoon form. The DC TV universe is good to. Mind you that most of the shows have lead characters that don’t have powers. The serialization and budget limitations of the TV shows force the writers to explore the gold mines that people have been waiting to crack open. I honestly could care less how true to the characters the DC movies are if my DC TV shows and animated movies aren’t messed with. Disney just can’t miss with the Marvel cinematic universe, so they should just stay in their lane when it comes to things that matter.
Create and Conquer!