Sunday, 12 January 2014

Life And Art II

In Alan Moore's Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow? (New York, 1997):

Bizarro does to Metropolis what Bates does to London but we cannot be shown it in the same graphic detail;
Lois Lane is described as an  "...alien-loving tramp'" (p. 17);
for Lois, falling from a skyscraper while Superman flies to the rescue has "'...all the familiarity of a recurring dream'" (ibid.);
Superman's reds and blues flow together so that he resembles "'...a violet comet'" (ibid.);
the Fortress of Solitude is "'...big and remote and lonely'" (p. 19);
(the Arctic of Earth-1 differs from the Arctic of Earth-Real in being a land mass, not just frozen water);
when Superman says, "I'm glad you came back, Krypto. You're a piece of my life, you know that?" (p. 20), he also speaks for the writer and the readers;
when he says, "...I feel as if all the pieces of my life are finally coming together" (ibid.), he expresses the fact that he is inside a "Last Superman of Earth-1" story;
Alan Moore and Curt Swan put the supposedly dead Superman right in front of us without us recognizing him until they want us to (when we realize that his son has inherited super-strength);
other heroes include "'Those that were almost his rivals...'" (p. 29), in other words Captain Marvel, who was a commercial competitor when they had different publishers;
"magic" lake water is described as "(probable unidentified radiation source.)" (p. 31);
Alan Moore's explanation makes much more sense of Mxyzptlk, who is thus re-conceptualized only to be destroyed (and should never have been brought back);
Phantom Zone criminals mouth obscenities - imagine them not as comic book super-villains but as real people;
the Batman describes the wrecked Fortress "' "like walking amongst the fragments of a legend."'" (p. 46)

My point is that superheroes are modern myths. We have grown up with them, we remember them and we appreciate their reconfiguration by creative writers, just as the Greeks attended the theater to see new interpretations of familiar myths. In the Man Of Steel film trailer, we hear a woman's voice say, "I saw what Clark did..." And that is enough to set the whole story in motion again.

No comments:

Post a Comment