Week 2 – Humanizing the Superhero: All-Star Superman

Going into this comic, I knew virtually nothing about Superman. I’m a first-time comic book reader, so I’ve never read any of the Superman comics, but I also have never seen a Superman movie in my life. I guess he’s just a superhero that I never really cared for? I knew that he was a God-like being, whose only real weakness was kryptonite. I never really found the character of Superman all that interesting or compelling, and this is why I never even watched any of his movies. I think All-Star Superman was definitely catered towards people who already know a lot of Superman’s history and backstory. Since I had no knowledge of any of his backstory, recurring characters in Superman comics (such as Jimmy Olsen) came in and out of the story, with no backstory or explanation, and that got me confused.

To echo what some of my classmates have been saying, I found this comic to be confusing at times to read. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a first-time comic book reader, or if it’s the fact that I knew nothing about Superman going into it. It makes me wonder whether all comic books going forward will be this confusing to read.

Nonetheless, I did really enjoy issues 1-6 of All-Star Superman. I think coming in fresh with no prior knowledge of Superman, ultimately did help me, because I had no preconceived notions about what the character was all about. I read it as someone with no familiarity with Superman, and with an open, fresh mind, and I found it really interesting and quite engaging. The contrast between how Superman is portrayed today vs in this comic was another thing I found interesting; Superman is constantly being portrayed as moody, brooding, dark and somber. Or, with the Christopher Reeve Superman, everything is very colourful and hopeful and bright. But Superman in this comic is vulnerable and scared to death, a side you normally don’t get to see. This comic really emphasized the vulnerability and the humanity behind Superman, which I enjoyed.

My favourite issue was probably #3, when Superman granted Lois superpowers for 24 hours for her birthday. It was my favourite because it’s probably a question we have all asked ourselves: what if I had superpowers? And Lois actually gets to live this fantasy out. When a giant monster attacks Metropolis, Superman apologized for the fact that there was a monster attack on the one day that she was given powers, and Lois says something to the effect of, “I would be offended if this didn’t happen on the day that I was given powers”. I found this to be a particularly great issue. I also liked that it focused more on Superman and Lois, rather than just Superman himself.

4 thoughts on “Week 2 – Humanizing the Superhero: All-Star Superman

  1. Hey Melina, I found your take on the first 6 issues of All Star Superman to be very interesting since I am very familiar with Superman and yet your sentiments were still very similar to mine. The 3rd issue was also my favorite (mostly because of the goofball antics of the 2 newly introduced superheroes). I can definitely empathize with your sentiments of comic books being confusing for first-time readers, since I was definitely in the same boat when I was starting out. I’ll be in unfamiliar territory right alongside you when we get to the antiheroes segment!

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  2. Melina I loved this blog because i can relate to being a first time comic book reader. Growing up, my friends were all into comics and I just couldn’t get a grasp around the idea of sitting down and flipping back and forth between scanning pictures and reading texts. I had the same issue- I found it difficult to read the first couple issues of All Star Superman because I had to adjust my mind and eyes to this new form of reading. Thank you for a very insightful blog, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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  3. I really liked your post and how you mentioned that having no prior knowledge made it more engaging and i felt the same way because I had very little knowledge and although it was slightly confusing, it was still a great read for me. I also agree with you and loved the part where he granted Lois superpowers and found that it showed his godlike side as well as his human side.

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  4. Hey Melina,
    I really enjoyed your blog post because I completely agree and am also new to comics. I have only seen a few of the superman movies and like you, never had much interest in superman. I always found him boring and very sterotypical. Because he was indestructible, I found him god-like as mentioned in class and never found a way to relate. I also had a hard time reading this comic and also found it confusing. It is nice to know that I am not the only one who was a little lost.

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