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Tag: Mark Millar

Superman on its Head: Extracanonical Stories in Superman Graphic Novels

superman logoIt should be no surprise to anyone who has read one of my posts that I love it when authors give me familiar stories in a new form. I even help write a regular feature about classic novels being updated into contemporary stories. But what excites me even more is when they go beyond a simple pastiche and flip as many things as possible into a story that is still familiar, but unpredictable in its progress.

We see this trend happening pretty often in prose fiction, and I love it, but I am nothing short of ecstatic when I find a new superhero story like this. In the Marvelverse, it was Neil Gaiman’s Marvel: 1602. But here, now, we’re going to talk about that flying guy on all our minds this summer: Superman.

Whether or not we’ve ever picked up a comic, most of us know the story of Superman. First appearing in comics in the late 1930s, Superman was the ultimate immigrant — an alien — who used his extraterrestrial powers in order to fight for Truth, Justice, and the American Way. He’s been developed, recreated, and reiterated so many ways over the past eighty years, but some of my favorites have been the ones that divert from canon in unexpected ways.

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Heroes, Monsters and Women in Pants — Your Guide to the DC Reboot

Big news, comic book fans! DC — the comic book line that brought us Batman and Superman — is rebooting! This September, they will start 52 iconic and not-so-iconic titles over at number one and create a brand-spanking-new continuity to draw in younger, hipper audiences. Comic book blogs have been very exciting to watch since the announcement, as fans engage in commentary, critique and wild speculation. For those of you who have never really been into comics, now is a great time to start, since the confusing, decades-long, often contradictory storylines that can overwhelm the beginner will no longer be an issue. While we wait for September, here’s a guide to starting out with DC, or reviving your interest in DC after a long hiatus.

But first, the novice’s guide to enjoying comics:

1. Find a good comic book creator that you really like. If you need assistance doing so, check out Comics Should Be Good — possibly the best comic book blog on the Internet. Read this blog. Live this blog. Love this blog.

2. When you find your author, read their run on a title. Sometimes this means you jump into a series in the middle, but you can always look up continuity events on Wikipedia. Don’t feel like you must read the entire title back to 1965 just to comprehend it.  That way lies madness.

3. Once you reach the end of your author’s run, put the series down. You can keep going if you like the new writer, but don’t feel obligated. You will just end up disaffected and bitter, complaining on an Internet forum somewhere. Nobody wants that. There is enough nerdrage in the world.

Here are some of the series I have found with this deceptively simple technique — my back-road tour of DC. These are titles that will make you excited about DC comics and the reboot, even if you are not a super-fan.