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Author Topic: Grant Morrison Explains Cosmic Geometry & Superman  (Read 5905 times)
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Council of Wisdom
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« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2006, 11:37:59 PM »

Quote from: Great Rao
In other words, it's intended as a continuation of the Bronze-Age Superman, but told in a new style. 

Grant Morrison says that, but I really don't see it. It reminds me of any given magazine interview with Spike Lee: he mentions all this subtext in his flicks, and my reaction is, "whoa, whoa, whoa, where was THIS in the movie?"

For every interview with Grant where he says something like that, there are other interviews with other people where they give the "goal" and "chief source of appeal" of the ALL-STAR line being that they restore characters to a classic status quo.

The thing is, Grant worked very hard in ALL-STAR to give the All-Star Superman a definite, distinct identity that belongs to that book alone.

(For the most part, I find what he's come up with fascinating.)

This does not necessarily mean that ALL-STAR Superman is his own thing apart from the Pre-Crisis Mythos...but that claims that ASS Superman is "a continuation of classic Superman" have to be examined more critically. There's a literal continuation...and then there's a continuation in spirit as well: some may say Busiek's ARROWSMITH, about a boy that grows to be a man/hero with help from a heroic older mentor, is a continuation in spirit of TERRY AND THE PIRATES, but ARROWSMITH is not literally a "continuation" of TERRY AND THE PIRATES (the most obvious reason being that Arrowsmith is set some time before T and the P happened).

Now, compare ALL-STAR to, for instance, Johns and Busiek's SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS, which explicitly built on what was going on with One Year Later and INFINITE CRISIS (with Supergirl as defender of Metropolis and Superman depowered, Lex a crook as a result of his plan in 52 falling through, etc).

The events that Grant Morrison chooses to build up and elaborate on, are events that Grant HIMSELF placed in the background of All-Star Superman: clearly Dino-Czar and Superman have met before; Samson wasn't a time traveller last time we saw him, and the significance of Leo Quintum and the Project is based on developments we the reader didn't see.

You are right in the case of the Fortress Key, which was interesting, however, there are other details that suggest also that this is NOT a literal continuation from Pre-C Supes: for instance, Steve Lombard shows up in the first issue with all his "classic" macho swagger, when in fact in the late eighties he had been humbled and become much less of a jerk.

Most likely it isn't the case that Grant Morrison is EITHER scrapping the Pre-Crisis universe and building his own thng, OR that he is continuing it directly, but rather, he is using what he wants (the Fortress Key) and ignoring what he doesn't want (Steve Lombard mellowing out, Lois Lane no longer being interested in Superman).

You are of course, correct that this approach isn't entirely the same as making a clean break, but it is also true that "cherry picking" continuity like this isn't the same as a continuation, either.

And it is also true that this approach is used to give characters their classic status quo. There's nothing necessarily wrong with this, but I do have a problem with this attitude because characters are the result of a process. In ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, Lois wants to be Superman's girlfriend, and Superman feels the same...which is their "classic" arrangement. Jimmy Olsen is a teenager instead of being the young adult "Mr. Action" he later was. Steve Lombard is back to being a jerky guy.

That's where my problem comes in: the idea that characters can progress (e.g. Dick Grayson being an adult and the leader of a team) is somehow inconvenient.

"Wait, a startling new development, Black Goliath has ripped Stilt-Man's leg off, and appears to be beating him with it!"
       - Reporter, Champions #15 (1978)
Council of Wisdom
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Silver Age Surfer

« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2006, 03:25:24 AM »

Seems like lots of things could be inconvenient...

Luthor progresses from an overweight guy who teams up with the Prankster and the Toyman in the 50s, and becomes a more fit  and deadly villian in the 60s.

Amalak is a simple space pirate with a lot of technology, suddenly, he is a revenged crazed maniac...

Lois can be obsessed with romance and fuming over Lana in one issue, an smart allie for Superman later.

Superman has almost 20 years of Earth 1 adventures and then suddenly the Guardians are concerned about him impeding mankind...

Why does all the progression have to take place "on screen" (i.e. in the comics), especially given the long lapse between All Star and the Bronze Age...

Seems to me that writers pick and choose all the time...but then I like continuity, but am not that a complete stickler for it.

And I'm never sure how old the "oldest" Jimmy Olsen ever is or if Steve Lombard can't go back to being a blowhard.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2006, 03:27:22 AM by MatterEaterLad » Logged
Jimmy Olsen Fan Club
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« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2006, 07:08:52 AM »

There is a passage in "Mongo, Adventures in Trash" by Ted Botha where he recounts seeing an antique end table in the trash next to the box for its IKEA replacement. The history and craftsmanship that went into the original can't be touched by the replacement.

The Morrison Superman reconnects with the history and craftsmanship of all those old Superman stories and extends it gracefully. The "index card" revamp is just like that empty IKEA box.

Last Son of Krypton
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« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2007, 03:37:16 PM »


I think his cosmic theory made more sense to me than his take on the All Star line. In the same breath he talks about it being versions that everybody on the street would know to that it's mainly about letting star creators run wild. Which is it? Seems like DC itself can't decide either.

I mean not to slight All-Star Superman, I'm liking it but I kinda doubt that the Unknown Superman of 4500 AD is imprinted on the mass consciousness. Or that Jimmy Olsen is any kind of man of action. I would think for that goal you would want something of a more straight-foward take on Superman, maybe along the lines of the animated series rather than a Silver Age continuation. Granted not every idea in that series is stuff everybody on the street is aware of either. But I think it's a bit more accessible in comparrison.

Then again, it's easier to explain some of the Silver Age stuff than it is trying to tell someone why Supergirl isn't Superman's cousin but a shapeshifting-goo clone of Lana Lang from a "pocket" dimension.

I also surely doubt that the idea of Batman treating Robin like spit and making him eat rats is something that would make sense to a general audience either. But of course to a Frank Miller audience that's par for the course and why they love him.  Roll Eyes

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