Tuesday, 5 February 2013

From Superman To Smallville

Two posts ago, I argued that the first published page of Superman (see image) should be included as the last page of a science fiction volume of the Britannica Great Books of the Western World series. This brief superhero origin story is not great writing but is of considerable significance. In a single page, it encapsulates heroic traditions starting from Samson and Hercules, links them to science fiction and initiates the modern pictorial and cinematic mythology of superheroes.

One post ago, I commented on an episode of the Smallville TV series. Smallville is derived from, very different from and of much higher quality than that original Superman story, which kind of proves the point about the significance of the latter.

The full potential of superheroes has not yet been realised although the fact of that potential is demonstrated by John Byrne's Man Of Steel mini-series, the Smallville TV series, Alan Moore's Watchmen and Marvelman, Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch's The Ultimates, Tom Veitch's and Bryan Talbot's The Nazz, Garth Ennis' The Boys etc. This one page started all that.

Addendum, 6/2/13: One panel of Krypton, not yet named! Since then, Krypton has had a lot more coverage in the stories, has been twice visited by a time travelling Superman, has had other survivors including two entire cities, has gained a history, in fact alternative histories, has featured in a back up series, more than one mini-series and a novel and has appeared on cinema screens. That one panel is a metaphorical acorn.

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