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Author Topic: Superman! - All-Star Superman #1  (Read 39755 times)
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Captain Kal
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« Reply #48 on: November 21, 2005, 03:18:28 PM »

Dr. Leo Quintum's (not Quantum though that's probably the implication) dialogue isn't characterization-free.  His dogged persistence to continue his mission because of his fear rather than being stymied by it was pretty clear in his dialogue and was in no way related to his artistic depiction.  His dialogue where he expounds how he revived the Project by being inspired by Superman was not art-based entirely in conveying his character.  But on the whole, I agree that the art outshone the dialogue for characterizing Leo. (It must be noted that in the real world, 90%+ of communication is non-verbal so this is actually realistic where the art shows more of the character than the words.)

As Kurt Busiek pointed out on his legendary thread here, different projects have different levels and types of collaboration between artists and writers.  Without knowing that working relationship and dynamic on this book, one cannot glorify Quitely as doing Morrison's job for him.  I know, for instance, that Kirby used to make the panels first and Lee penned the appropriate dialogue for them afterwards.  See Kurt's original posts on this on his thread for more on the collaborative process (and it was a direct answer to my questions to him on collaboration).

It's not clear if this Steve's last name is Lombard, Lombardi, or whatever.  Unless I missed something, he wasn't given a last name yet so maybe we're all assuming something without actual evidence yet.  It remains to be seen how this Steve will be characterized and how he will relate to Clark.  All we know is he's a would-be rival for Lois' affections, though Lois has absolutely no use for the man.

Well, some differences exist between the bombs of DARK STAR and Lex's creation.  Lex's version is an actual living, biological being as opposed to a purely mechanical AI entity.  DARK STAR's bomb malfunctioned and was going crazy, along with the rest of the crew and ship, after too long at their mission; Luthor's bomb was designed to destroy the sun mission from the get-go.  The DARK STAR crew knew full well the presence and purpose of their bomb; The Ray Bradbury's crew were infiltrated by this human bomb.  While a slight, very slight, resemblance exists, human bombs in general have been a staple of both the fictional and real worlds alike, so it seemed to have more to do with a tip of the hat to the previous movie than an outright rip-off.  We might as well talk about Talkie-Toaster of Red Dwarf if we want to get into AI's single-mindedly being obsessed with their primary functions.

Yes, amen to Superman being confident and working towards the welfare of everyone else -- first.  But it must be noted that the epilogue did have him dealing with his personal feelings after looking after the Big Picture first.  He talked to Lois about his own mortality and was clearly motivated by that impending personal death to reveal his secret ID to her at last in a scene reminiscent of the Superman 2 movie.

Morrison was not making a reference to Prometheus here, at least not directly.  Another poster got it right: Note the name of the ship "The Ray Bradbury".  Bradbury penned a famous short story "The Golden Apples of the Sun" where a ship went to the sun to steal a cup of solar plasma to power Earth's civilization.  It's not a great story as it was more about mood setting and had virtually no suspense and absolutely no conflict -- those two glaring errors marking it actually as a bad story.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall any mention of Prometheus in Morrison's story at all.

Guys infiltrating secret projects happens all the time in the fictional and real worlds.  That's what espionage is all about.  Even Cadmus had an inside man from Luthor back in The Reign of the Supermen storyline.  We shouldn't bash Morrison on this score since it happens regularly.

It did mention that Luthor tampered with the sun in the first place to manufacture a drought on Earth that he could profit from (which harkens back to Superman: The Movie where Luthor wanted to artificially make himself a mega-rich mogul from destroying the original California coastline).  Also, that human bomb was clearly fusion based ("fusion in 30 seconds").  I wouldn't have any problems believing that it's later discovered that Luthor's tamperings were behind Superman's deadly overload condition instead of it being solely due to heightened, close solar exposure alone.  I'd also have no problems if the story revealed that Quintum erred in his original assessment as they truly don't understand how Superman's body works (and that was mentioned when they tried to read his DNA and gauge his strength).

It's absurdly simple to cure this condition anyway.  Let Superman use his powers in a way to drain the excess off.  Or expose him to regulated doses of kryptonite to draw the excess power out until he's back to safe levels.  Or ... you get the idea.
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Captain Kal

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JulianPerez
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« Reply #49 on: November 21, 2005, 07:07:18 PM »

Quote from: "Captain Kal"
Dr. Leo Quintum's (not Quantum though that's probably the implication) dialogue isn't characterization-free.  His dogged persistence to continue his mission because of his fear rather than being stymied by it was pretty clear in his dialogue and was in no way related to his artistic depiction.  


I did like the "fear is the steak sauce of life" line. Say what you will about Morrison, his dialogue is stylish. Though on the whole, Warren Ellis's work bugs me, his characters do say some things occasionally that are VERY funny.

Quote from: "Captain Kal"
His dialogue where he expounds how he revived the Project by being inspired by Superman was not art-based entirely in conveying his character.  But on the whole, I agree that the art outshone the dialogue for characterizing Leo. (It must be noted that in the real world, 90%+ of communication is non-verbal so this is actually realistic where the art shows more of the character than the words.)

As Kurt Busiek pointed out on his legendary thread here, different projects have different levels and types of collaboration between artists and writers.  Without knowing that working relationship and dynamic on this book, one cannot glorify Quitely as doing Morrison's job for him.


The AVENGERS ASSEMBLE Busiek/Perez hardcover contains the Marvel-style plot for the first issue of Avengers. What's interesting about reading the plot is that you read humorous little bits, like Busiek telling Perez to draw Crystal in the Silver Age style. It's sort of like the Director Commentary on BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, where Carpenter and Russell talk about what their kids are doing.

You are right that not having access to Morrison's script, it may not be possible to tell whose idea was what. It might have been Morrison that said, "okay, draw this, this way." Likewise, it might have been Quietly that inspired this or that exchange or dialogue.

However, it is possible to look at the art and the writing, and make a list of everything you know about the character from either one, and here it's longer if you look at the art instead of the writing.

One big case of the artist doing the writer's job is back in the first issue of Claremont/Byrne's "Dark Pheonix." On the first appearance of Kitty Pryde, her speech and actions in the story show very little about who she is. The ART, on the other hand, characterizes her perfectly: she has a star of David, and a big giant teddy bear behind her in her bedroom. (This is an example of characterization through art: what kind of a girl would have a big giant teddy bear with a bow on their neck in their room?)

Quote from: "Captain Kal"
It's not clear if this Steve's last name is Lombard, Lombardi, or whatever.  Unless I missed something, he wasn't given a last name yet so maybe we're all assuming something without actual evidence yet.  It remains to be seen how this Steve will be characterized and how he will relate to Clark.  All we know is he's a would-be rival for Lois' affections, though Lois has absolutely no use for the man.


Hmmm, you're right, for all we know, his name might be Baron Steve von Kissalot. Though judging by his jerkish behavior, the logical implication is that this is Steve Lombard.

Quote from: "Captain Kal"
Morrison was not making a reference to Prometheus here, at least not directly. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall any mention of Prometheus in Morrison's story at all.


I was pointing out a pattern of behavior that Morrison practices, of making shallow, puncturable comparisons to myth. "Prometheus" was a villain in Morrison's JLA run.

Quote from: "Captain Kal"
Guys infiltrating secret projects happens all the time in the fictional and real worlds.  That's what espionage is all about.  Even Cadmus had an inside man from Luthor back in The Reign of the Supermen storyline.  We shouldn't bash Morrison on this score since it happens regularly.


Don't forget all the evil agents the Evil Factory had.

While yes, there can be an explanation and it would be a rather easy one, too, the point here is that one wasn't offered.
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Captain Kal
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« Reply #50 on: November 21, 2005, 07:43:40 PM »

Nothing was mentioned about the mechanics of how Luthor planted a man inside Cadmus in The Reign of the Supermen.  It was simply an established fact that the story hinged on to move forwards.  Similarly, Morrison didn't need to establish how Luthor planted his human bomb, it was simply was a fact needed to move the story along.

I guess we've agreed that 'Prometheus' wasn't one of those puncturable mythological references in this issue.  I'm not entirely certain Grant chose it for mythological reasons in JLA either.  It's just a cool sounding name with a whole lotta pedigree.  If you examine Andromeda, the Daxamite fill-in for Supergirl in the Legion, the name is cool sounding but the actual myths around Andromeda do not bespeak a heroic warrior woman but a helpless princess/damsel in distress.  Maybe euphemism was more the objective than mythological resonance.
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Captain Kal

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« Reply #51 on: November 21, 2005, 07:48:34 PM »

Quote
Quote from: "Captain Kal"
Morrison was not making a reference to Prometheus here, at least not directly. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall any mention of Prometheus in Morrison's story at all.


I was pointing out a pattern of behavior that Morrison practices, of making shallow, puncturable comparisons to myth. "Prometheus" was a villain in Morrison's JLA run.


But he didn't do that here, instead he made a joke, which was pretty obvious by the name of the ship. Even if you don't know much about Ray Bradbury, if a reader would just google him and the word sun and they would get tons of hits for Golden Apples of the Sun and a quick look a the plot of this story and the joke is revealed.
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« Reply #52 on: November 22, 2005, 02:30:01 AM »

I agree completely with you guys re: the reason for those technological advances being present in ALL-STAR's version of Metropolis. Both the in-story reasons for their existence, and Morrison's reasons for using them in his mythos. I think you just misunderstood my objection to this element of the story.

Yes, Superman stories should have all kinds of wild and far-out things happening, and all kinds of utopian technological wonders. That's always been a part of the Superman saga. But there are limits.

Every Superman story is a combination of fantastic and realistic elements. There is a balance that should be maintained, though, and my opinion was that Morrison crossed a line and jarred me out of the story I was enjoying.


Let me put it this way... it was great for Jimmy Olsen to go zooming all over the world having adventures in a futuristic Whiz Wagon, back in the Kirby stories. But you shouldn't be able to buy a Whiz Wagon down at the local Metropolis car dealership. Jimmy should take a (non-flying) bus or subway to work each day at the newspaper, not the Whiz Wagon. And it might be fun to see ONE SCENE in one issue where the gang lands the Wagon on the roof of his apartment building to drop Jimmy off, while the neighbors all gawk and comment... but that should be it.

Superman's presence in the world SHOULD be inspiring, and lead to all kinds of fantastic events... but it shouldn't change the world too much from our own real world, or an important illusion is destroyed. In my case, anyway.

Now that I think about it, most likely Morrison intended Quintum as a sort of alter-ego for himself, in addition to his obvious fictional predecessors. Like Quintum, Morrison is taking his inspiration from Superman's past  (the fun stories about him that Morrison read as a child) to create something (this series) that he hopes will be amazing and inspiring in its own right, and lead the way into the future (hopefully better Superman stories by others).

As for the Tintin comparisons, yes, I realized that's what Jimmy looked like. I just wondered WHY. What is the point? Jimmy Olsen is an established character in his own right. If Morrison and/ or Quitley want to pay tribute to Tintin, why not create their own brand-new character? Should Superman be a blond,  mustached midget in a winged helmet because Grant Morrison likes reading ASTERIX? Should Perry White have a crewcut and J. Jonah Jameson mustache because Quitely likes Spider-Man comics? Again, this is something that jarred me personally a bit too much... have a Tintin character in the background or something at the Planet, and keep Jimmy in the good ol' plaid and bowtie, if you want to give him a slightly eccentric appearance. (Bowties are downright eccentric enough in 2006!)
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #53 on: November 22, 2005, 11:43:39 AM »

Quote from: "Captain Kal"
Well, some differences exist between the bombs of DARK STAR and Lex's creation.


Perhaps plagiarism is too strong a word. But you said it yourself: it's a genre staple and not an innovative concept (although fun).

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Now that I think about it, most likely Morrison intended Quintum as a sort of alter-ego for himself, in addition to his obvious fictional predecessors.


I really, really hope not. There's nothing for annoying than a self-insertion character, because as they are an ego-projection, they're always right, always profoundly wise, and always save the day. I'd lump Gaiman's Morpheus into this category too, although SANDMAN was so astonishing it's easy to ignore.

Quote from: "Continental Op"
Let me put it this way... it was great for Jimmy Olsen to go zooming all over the world having adventures in a futuristic Whiz Wagon, back in the Kirby stories. But you shouldn't be able to buy a Whiz Wagon down at the local Metropolis car dealership. Jimmy should take a (non-flying) bus or subway to work each day at the newspaper, not the Whiz Wagon. And it might be fun to see ONE SCENE in one issue where the gang lands the Wagon on the roof of his apartment building to drop Jimmy off, while the neighbors all gawk and comment... but that should be it.


I don't agree. I think Superman can be given a lot of leeway for futurism, as he lives in a fictional city and a fictional world with an emphasis on all that 1939 World's Fair aesthetic.

Alan Moore made a very valid point, which is that growing up reading comics, he loved the fictional cities heroes lived in because they were "America," an exciting and different place from where he was growing up in England, and when he wrote his own worlds as with TOM STRONG, he gave the cities things like cable cars hundreds of feet up, and so forth. While Marvel comics wouldn't be what they are without their injection of picaresque, streetwise New York humor, this does not mean that the fictional cities in comics can be written as New York clone towns.
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« Reply #54 on: November 22, 2005, 12:40:09 PM »

There's a Luthor story on this site by Jerry Siegel which was also Curt Swan's first Superman for a 3D edition called "The Man Who Stole the Sun".
http://superman.nu/tales4/stolethesun/

Maybe Morrison is doing his homework. As a fan of the genre, you can generally deconstruct anything back to it's original sources be they HG Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Edmond Hamilton etc.

The Bradbury/Sun gag was kinda obvious. Case closed.
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« Reply #55 on: November 22, 2005, 02:22:57 PM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
Quote from: "Captain Kal"
Well, some differences exist between the bombs of DARK STAR and Lex's creation.


Perhaps plagiarism is too strong a word. But you said it yourself: it's a genre staple and not an innovative concept (although fun).


You're looking too closely at the trees and missing the forest, dude.

What was innovative wasn't the human fusion bomb itself.  It was what was the ultimate objective that was the new idea: Using Superman's power source to kill him.  The bomb was a ruse to get Superman in that situation.

As I've said to you before, Morrison is not the devil.  On this thread alone you've made some pretty outrageous critiques of his All-Star Superman #1 issue which don't hold up to closer scrutiny.
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Captain Kal

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