Friday, February 20, 2009

Grant Morrison's Superman Saga: Part III

After nearly 10,000 words, my tour through Grant Morrison's Superman Saga comes to an end with the release of Part III on CBR.

All the pieces don't fit together perfectly, but there's little doubt that Morrison's Superman increases in strength -- both moral and physical -- as he progresses, and there's an overall character arc that culminates in "All-Star Superman" and gets an epilogue in "DC One Million."

Morrison spends far more time on Superman's later years than his earlier ones, perhaps not surprisingly, since Superman was around for over 20 years before Morrison was even born. But I think it's worth pointing out that when most writers step up to "redefine" a character -- to really make their mark -- they tend to give us a new origin story. Morrison doesn't do that with Superman. Make of that what you will.

Now, where did I put all those Morrison Batman comics?


Anonymous said...

I suppose the closest he comes is giving us 'Secret Origins of the Idea' in All-Star #10 and Beyond.

(When I play the game of linking All-Star to 'continuity', that's where I like to join them up. By imagining that FC's Overvoid is the particular piece of paper we see in All-Star #10 and that we're seeing the introduction of the Flaw in the "third time's the charm" sequence.)

Kris Krause said...

I don't think the Superman 2000 pitch is fair play because it was never actually made into a comic. To me, that's the interesting thing about comic book writers. In almost any other medium, the conflict between a writer's ideal vision for a character and what they can actually form into an artistic work doesn't exist. Maybe to some degree in movies or television due to budget or time constraints, but superhero comics are this unique medium where company owned characters that have been published for decades are dominant and creators often have to compromise their ideal vision of a character to fit with the current continuity in order to get their work published at all.

For someone who has been working in superhero comics as long as Morrison has, this fact is especially evident in his Superman work and to me it's more how and why all his Superman work doesn't form a cohesive cannon that's interesting as opposed to the attempt to make it form a cohesive cannon by citing proposals that were never actually made into comics or downplaying inconsistencies.

Because Superman 2000 was never made into an actual comic Morrison's published Superman work makes less sense, and this is an issue so unique to this particular medium that treating an unpublished proposal as an equal to published works for the sake of cohesion ignores the reality of how superhero comics are made. And even if it had been published, it would have been nothing more than a band-aid to cover up the fact that Morrison for a long time was never able to write his ideal Superman in the way he was afforded in All Star Superman. It would have been nothing more than another reflection of the ideal.

I respect the underlying idea of trying to tease out Morrison's ideal Superman from his practical works and I thoroughly enjoyed this series because it is a great, exhaustive look at all of Morrison's Superman work, but at the same time by taking this route, a bevy of ideas and questions about superhero comics that I personally find very interesting had to be swept under the rug.

Anonymous said...

Tim (and anyone else who may know), this is a question that has nothing to do with Superman, but I didn't quite know where else to put it: I came across this comic called Doom Force #1 on eBay that I'd never heard of before. From what I've managed to dig up it's a Doom Patrol spoof on Liefeld's X-Force. It'll probably take a while to make its way to Norway, so could anyone give me any info on it? Wise purchase? Is it reprinted anywhere?

Vanja said...

Doom Force#1 is a Doom Patrol spin-off, but it can be read on it's own (just like Doom Patrol issues dealing with homages to Punisher and Fantastic Four).

Matt Jacobson said...

I didn't catch that line about future Supes facing the chronovore two days ago. That's cool. Know what's not cool? Northlanders.

Anonymous said...

While Morrison's Batman run is, I think, even richer than his Superman work (but I am a Batguy), I think he is more upfront about Batman: "That's the thing about Batman. Batman thinks of everything." What more needs to be said?

Deep Space Transmissions said...

More good work Tim, thanks for these. The summary of Final Crisis and Superman Beyond was brilliant. Looking forward to whatever you do with the Batman stuff.
Also, its been so long since I've read them I have no idea if they contain anything worth talking about but Morrison plotted the Superman One Million issues (along with all the other One Million #s apart from Hitman), or so he says in the Writers On Comic Book Writing interview. Seems to be confirmed by Dan Jurgens being mighty pissed off about it later in the book.
A couple more to add to your already mighty reading list!

Anonymous said...

Vanja: Doom Force was a parody issue of sorts and is re-printed in the last Doom Patrol collection.

Loved the "Saga" as well as the 10 part Q&A on Newsarama that had your involvement. And please, dig out those recent Batman comics and give us your thoughts!