Sunday, July 24, 2016

Superman: The Coming of the Supermen by Neal Adams

This six issue mini-series created by legendary artist Neal Adams is a wild and meaningful story that should serve as an example that stand alone stories do have a place in today’s convoluted world of comic books. This exciting series takes place in a relatively traditional “universe” where Clark Kent and Lois Lane still work at The Daily Planet. Just suspend your disbelief and mentally place the story in whatever “universe” you want and go along for the ride. Long time Superman fans like myself will note that this series pays homage to Jack Kirby’s positive influence on the comic book industry.  In this story Superman is called upon to defend another world from Darkseid and the hordes of Apokolips. Meanwhile, three men wearing Superman’s costume are sent by the people of miniaturized Kryptonian city of Kandor to protect earth while Superman is busy elsewhere. Early on, Superman takes up with a little boy from the Middle East because a djinn asks Superman to protect the child. It’s all very mysterious, and complicated, but stick with it, because each issue reveals a little more, and it all makes sense in the end. By the way, Lex Luthor is in it, too. Each page is loaded with details. Neal Adams puts constant movement and action into his panels, and the effect is like a mental isometric exercise. The colors are vibrant – no surprise in this age where digital coloring and the high gloss paper have altered the texture of comic book stories. You can argue amongst yourself if that’s good or bad, but it works here. There are some really great pages of artwork that dazzled me. I want to mention an interview Neal Adams did with Jevon Philips from the L.A. Times. In that interview Adams talks about his take on Superman, Lex Luthor and more, but specifically points out his love for the late great Jack Kirby. Here is a direct quote from the interview with Jevon Philips: “I also love Jack Kirby, and I love Jack Kirby's characters, and I love that Jack Kirby could leave Marvel Comics after creating the Marvel Universe — and please excuse me folks out there, but Jack Kirby created the Marvel Universe — and came over to DC and created "New Gods," created a new universe. Bang — out of nothing.” I have met Adams several times and I admire him. I’m a Neal Adams fan, and because I’m a Jack Kirby fan, too, I deeply appreciate his comments. The Coming of the Supermen will undoubtedly be released as a trade paperback at some point, and I’m expecting this book will have a wide appeal. The strength of Adams’ artwork is evident on each cover scan shown here. 

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