Speaking of bitemetechie
, I'm compiling a "Why Superman Actually Doesn't Suck" mix of graphic novels for her to read during out mad twelve-day excursion to Orlando Fringe Festival.
And really, I've needed to make this collection for some time now. After all the years of hearing people complain about how they hate Superman, it's only in the past year or two that I think we finally have some amazing Superman comics that can finally depict what we fans have always known in our hearts and seen between
the bright colors, boy-scout heroics, and lack of grimdark angst.
Therefore, on the "musts" list for this "Why Superman Actually Doesn't Suck" collection, I think it's essential to have the first part of Geoff Johns' current ACTION COMICS run. Start with ACTION COMICS ANNUAL # 10, which for some reason is idiotically not
collected anywhere*, even though it contains crucial material.
And then, go on to SUPERMAN: LAST SON (which I didn't love at first, but it leads to get stuff later with Zod), skip the BIZARRO WORLD story (unless anyone here thinks it's awesome/essential), go right to the LEGION OF SUPERHEROES story (the book that finally helped me get
the Legion, and features three heart-stopping Clark moments), and finally, SUPERMAN: BRAINIAC (I dislike Brainy 1.0's new muscle-bound look, but it's better than the bony 90's-esque monstrosity he's been sporting recently).
Besides that, ALL-STAR SUPERMAN. I mean, duh. I think that should go after
the Johns stuff. Let that be the grand finale of Superman. I hate, hate, hate
what Morrison's done with BATMAN and FINAL CRISIS, but after rereading ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, I'm just in awe of this book's elegant power and joy. Throughout, he and Quitely are able to say so much with so little, making it tempting to breeze through the stories as if they were light little trifles, and thereby miss out on all the incredible detail they cram into each panel. Like a Sergio Leone movie, no one says a word of dialogue unless it's absolutely essential to the story.
Plus, Mark Waid's introduction to Vol. 2 really helped me better get what Morrison is showing here with this perfect portrait of who Superman is and why does what he does. He particularly nails it at the end: But the big moment is the perfect line of dialogue. It comes in Chapter Ten, when Superman, without a second's hesitation, takes time from his world-building feats to embrace and comfort a suicidal young girl. When he tells her, "You're much stronger than you think you are," they become the most moving words we have ever read in a Superman story. And they are perfect because they reveal, in one sentence, the fundamental secret of Superman and why we love him so:
Gods achieve their power by encouraging us to believe in them.
Superman achieves his power by believing in us.
Couldn't have put it better myself.
Besides the Johns and Morrison essentials, I was thinking of including maybe the two Excellent Superman Comics That Don't Actually Feature Superman: IT'S A BIRD, by Steven T. Seagle and Terry Kristiansen, and SUPERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY by Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen (which is criminally out of print now! WTF?), not to mention SUPERMAN: RED SON, which is the one truly great thing Mark Millar has ever written.
I've considered SUPERMAN: BIRTHRIGHT, but I didn't get it for the same reason I didn't pick up Geoff Johns' "One Year Later" arc, UP UP AND AWAY, because it just seemed a little too been there, done that. Good stories, but nothing that'll really persuade somebody who doesn't like Superman. Maybe I'm wrong?
Meantime, I'm reading Alan Moore's two SUPREME collections. I'm not sure I'd put them on the list, as they're more about superheroes and comics in general rather than Superman himself. But damn if they aren't fun. Anyone who thinks Moore is too grim and serious should check these out, if they're even still in print. Cracktacular meta superheroics galore!
So yeah, to sum up my list, in the following order:The Essentials
ACTION COMICS ANNUAL # 10
SUPERMAN: LAST SON
SUPERMAN AND THE LEGION OF SUPERHEROES
ALL-STAR SUPERMAN VOL. 1
ALL-STAR SUPERMAN VOL. 2Other possibilities
IT'S A BIRD
UP UP AND AWAY
What think you, Super-fans? Any other suggestions? If nothing else, do assure Techie that these books are actually good, because I suspect getting her to read 'em will take some persuasion.
*More and more, I'm trying to figure out some way to campaign against Bob Joy, the editor of collected editions at DC. I've noticed so many problems in DC's graphic novels, such a drop in quality compared to previous editors like Robert Greenberger, that I feel like something seriously needs to be done. Who else is the blame for putting all the tie-in issues of SINESTRO CORPS in a separate volume, rather than integrating them into the actual story as they're SUPPOSED to be read?
But the one sternly polite letter I'd written him regarding my displeasure of the BATMAN VS. TWO-FACE collection went unanswered, and I feel like there's nothing I can do to voice my frustrations to any powers-that-be. It's seriously hindering my interest in buying trade paperbacks from DC.