Four Superman stories to prepare you for Man of Steel

  
Four Superman stories to prepare you for Man ofSteel
Which classic comics have inspired Man of Steel? (Picture: Warner Brothers)

With Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel hitting UK cinemas this Friday, it’s a good time to dip into the classic comic arcs that appear to have inspired this new take on the Superman mythology.

1. All-Star Superman

I’ve never been a huge Superman fan. Something about his invulnerability and his unbending goodness pushed me towards Batman over the big blue Boy Scout.

That changed with Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman. Critics of the comic anarchist’s work might have feared this interpretation, but what sets this apart from other stories is the respect Morrison shows for the character. It’s a fresh, modern take, but not one that feels the need to ground the character. Instead it feeds off the heart of the Golden Age and the sci-fi weirdness of the Silver Age.

These lines of movie dialogue, spoken by Superman’s biological father, Jor-El, are taken almost entirely from the comic:

You’ll give the people an ideal to strive towards.  They will race behind you.
They will stumble, they will fall.
But in time, they will join you in the sun.
In time you will help them accomplish wonders.

But a line is just a spark, not the whole story. What Morrison truly nails is the sense of wonder attributed to Superman – of doing the impossible, of overcoming the inevitable.

2. Superman: Secret Origin 

Can’t I just keep pretending I’m your son? – Clark Kent

You are my son. – Jonathan Kent

A moment brimming with emotion, a standout from the Man of Steel trailers and once again it’s inspired by a comic (David S. Goyer, writer of the movie, even contributed to the collected edition). Secret Origin is a tale of two fathers – one cosmic and the other cornbread  – and one son destined for greatness. The mini-series from the legendary, Geoff Johns, is another origin story, but it’s now regarded as canon.

(Picture: Warner Bros)
Henry Cavill used Superman: Red Son as inspiration for his character. (Picture: Warner Bros)

3. Superman: Birthright

You’re the answer son, you’re the answer to, ‘Are we alone in the universe?’ – Jonathan Kent

Mark Waid’s take on first contact – the sense of wonder or fear as we reach into the cosmos and something reaches back. A theme that’s central to the film and the comic, as we can see by this line of dialogue from one of the trailers. We also have Jonathan’s reservations about Clark becoming Superman; the technology and landscape of Krypton; the ‘S’ symbol standing for hope; Clark as a traveller – in the comic, the globe, in the film, the heartland of America. Most importantly, it explores identity – what it is to be different and to suffer prejudice simply for what you can do.

4. Superman: Red Son

A soldier…only fights and dies for his own people. I just fought for what’s right. – Superman

Known for his high-concept, and now, sadly, also about his comics-as-movie-pitches, this ‘what if?’ story by Mark Millar really resonates. Importantly, it explores the idea of Superman as an alien through the lens of Soviet politics and the country’s fractious Cold War relationship with the US.

It’s Superman as a threat, rather than a force for good. His X-ray vision and flight makes him the perfect spy, fanning the flames of Communist paranoia. It’s interesting that marketing for Man of Steel has Zod using propaganda and our TV transmissions to announce his arrival.

Henry Cavill used the comic as inspiration and it’s easy to see why, as this Superman deals with the public’s perception, both home and abroad, as well as military opposition from a terrified US government.

Some might call Superman the red and blue bore, but these comics (and hopefully the movie) prove he’s still someone to look up to.

From: http://metro.co.uk/2013/06/10/four-superman-stories-to-prepare-you-for-man-of-steel-3834979/

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