Throwback Thursday: Superman in blue jeans in 2011’s Action Comics #1


2011's Action Comics #1.

Superman has returned to his T-shirt and blue jeans look in recent issues of the comic-book storyline “Truth.”  That look was first introduced by Grant Morrison and Rags Morales when they relaunched “Action Comics” with a new No. 1 issue in Sept. 2011.   In this Throwback Thursday post, we look at that issue, and the Word Balloons column of Friday, Sept. 9, 2011.

Writer Grant Morrison and artist Rags Morales have revamped Superman in the pages of the comic book that started it all.

“Action Comics,” renumbered for the first time since introducing Superman in 1938, hit stands with “Action Comics” No. 1 this week. In this version — like the original 1930s story — both of Clark Kent’s earthly adoptive parents have passed away.

“It means that he can maybe go a little too far,” Morrison told Vaneta Rogers of “To a certain extent, he enjoys being on his own because no one can get hurt, and it’s all down to him. But at the same time, that means there’s no limit on him as he loses his temper.”

This Superman, in blue jeans, work boots and a T-shirt bearing a stylized “S,” goes after corporate corruption and bullies wherever he may find them. As such, he has a lot in common with the populist Superman of the 1930s, created by Cleveland teens in the throes of the Great Depression.

The Superman in “Action Comics” is at the beginning of his career, cocky and bold, but not in full control of his powers.

The first printing of the new “Action Comics” No. 1 has already sold out from DC Comics, though many local stores still have them available on the shelves. A second printing will be released in the near future.

The companion series to “Action Comics,” “Superman,” will relaunch with a new No. 1 issue Sept. 28. That book, set five years after the events of the “Action Comics” series, will be written by George Perez, who also provides art breakdowns and the cover. Finished art is by Jesus Merino.

A story in the business section of The Oklahoman the same day recounted that Action Comics was a strong seller in early returns:

“Justice League” and “Action Comics” are leading the way as DC Comics introduces its “The New 52” lineup. Stores in the Oklahoma City area are reporting strong sales for all.

“ ‘Action Comics’ seems to be the biggest,” said Alicia Cox of Second Chance Books Comics in Warr Acres. “Even people who aren’t big Superman fans want to see where they take his story.”

Set six months before the events of “Justice League” No. 1, “Action Comics” No. 1 finds Superman as a brash young hero in blue jeans and work boots standing up to corporate criminals. “Action Comics” is written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Rags Morales.

A review of the issue, which I liked a lot, ran on page 2 of the news section on Sept. 8, 2011:

If you’re going to relaunch “Action Comics,” the granddaddy of all superhero comics, you should probably be prepared for some criticism. However, after reading the 2011 “Action Comics” #1 by Grant Morrison, Rags Morales and Rick Bryant, I can’t find much with which to take issue. For those who have read a lot of “Superman,” there are homages to be found, and a strong tie back to Superman’s original conception in 1938’s “Action Comics” #1. But for brand-new fans or curious new readers, it’s all there on the page. Set six months before the events of “Justice League” No. 1, Clark Kent’s a new reporter at a competitor to the Daily Planet. He’s friends with Jimmy Olsen, who works there, and beneath the radar of star reporter Lois Lane. Superman, meanwhile, goes about his business in work boots and blue jeans, rustling up corporate criminals and raising the ire of everyone from the police and military to Lex Luthor, a brash industrialist who doesn’t much cotton to the idea of a superhuman. Superman’s a bit arrogant, but very much easy to root for, as he attempts to stand up to bullies of all stripes. Rags Morales effortlessly paces Morrison’s script, and readers will all but hear John Williams’ Superman score in the background as the Man of Steel is reintroduced for a new era. So far, this is the comic book of the year.

Four years in, the bloom is somewhat off the rose of the “New 52” relaunch, and it’s possible that toying with Superman wasn’t entirely a success.   A married Superman (though an alternate-world one, it appears) is set to return in an upcoming series titled “Lois and Clark.”  However, the Grant Morrison relaunch issues, taken independently, are solid Superman comics. 


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