And Then I Read: ALL-STAR SUPERMAN 10-11

© DC Comics, Inc.

Frank Quitely’s Superman is visually…unusual. His face on issue 10, above, reminds me of Laurel & Hardy’s Stan Laurel. But there’s plenty of room for more on-model art in the other Superman titles. This one is matched by equally unusual and brilliant writing by Grant Morrison. He’s been given free rein to play with the Superman mythos without the restrictions of continuity, or what’s going on in the other titles. This has led to one of the most enjoyable super-hero comics I’ve read in a long time. Sadly, it looks like it’ll soon be over. I wasn’t aware that this was a finite series, but on the last page of issue 11 are the words, “TO BE CONCLUDED.” Too bad.

A good example of the fun both Quitely and Morrison are having is this page. It’s a situation as old as the character, one I remember well from most of the Fleisher Superman cartoons of the 1940s, and many issues of the book read in my youth: giant robot attacks Superman, Lois Lane in hand, as in “King Kong.” It would be a yawn if not for the great contrasts of the over-the-top art and the wry, minimal dialogue. “Don’t ask,” says Lois. Great stuff. Even the lettering for the robot is over-the-top. There are other nice touches in the lettering by Travis Lanham, like this creative one for Superman’s telepathic diary entries:

Love those round-cornered cubes as a thought-trail.

Digital inker and colorist Jamie Grant also does fine work that runs the gamut from the bright cotton-candy of the giant robot page above to the very dark but still wonderfully effective cover of issue 11, also above. And by digital inking, what he’s doing is creating finished art from Quitely’s pencils, not actually adding any real ink, but it all looks terrific.

I imagine there will be a nice harcover collecting this run in the near future, which will be a good addition to anyone’s comics library. Meanwhile, these issues are all a joy and highly recommended.

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