A Love Letter To The Man Of Steel
Tripwire continues its 100 Graphic Novels You Should Read While Stuck Inside with its thirty-seventh choice, Absolute All-Star Superman written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant, reviewed by Tripwire editor-in-chief Joel Meadows…
Absolute All-Star Superman
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant
Colours: Jamie Grant
All-Star Superman was part of the short-lived All-Star line that DC published in the first decade of this century. All-Star Batman and Robin was a title written by Frank Miller and drawn by Jim Lee which didn’t quite connect with readers. But All-Star Superman, which ran for 12 issues was a modern triumph. Writer Grant Morrison at his best is able to pull out the essence of iconic mainstream comic characters and here with his regular artistic collaborator Frank Quitely, finished by Jamie Grant, is perhaps the ultimate Superman story. The Superman here is the embodiment of benevolent power, at the end of his superheroic journey and Quitely depicts him throughout as a physically heroic alien figure.
Even though All-Star Superman only ran for 12 issues, Morrison and Quitely pack in everything a classic Man Of Steel needs. We have Lex Luthor, of course, plus Bizarro as you’ve never seen him before plus other Superman staples like The Parasite making an appearance. It all builds to an emotional crescendo which manages to be both sad and hopeful at the same time.
All-Star Superman works because it is quirky, idiosyncratic but also a very warm and emotional tale. Morrison’s relationship between Superman/ Clark Kent and Lois tips its hat to the Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder movie dynamic, with real trust and love at its heart. Quitelty brings so much too to the world of Superman, imbuing every scene with passion and fire. Inker Jamie Grant who finishes Quitely’s pencils here brings something new to the Scottish artist’s work and the colouring here is also magnificent.
Reading the introduction here from famous art director Chip Kidd really helps to put everything into context too. Morrison and Quitely’s Superman is classic yet contemporary, conventional while being subversive at the same time and Absolute All-Star Superman is an elegant and exquisite representation of this iconic run, with some intriguing behind the scenes sketch work in its back matter. Despite its relatively short existence, sometimes a series comes along that just works on every level and All-Star Superman set the bar very high for Superman stories. Still one of Morrison and Quitely’s finest pieces of work.
Here’s links to the other graphic novels reviewed so far