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All-Star Superman

Page history last edited by eag081000@utdallas.edu 12 years, 2 months ago

Creators: Written by Grant Morrison, Pencilled by Frank Quitely, Digitally Inked/Colored by Jamie Grant, Lettered by Phil Balsman

Original Date(s) of Publication: 2007

Publisher: DC Comics


All-Star Superman Volumes 1 and 2 is a tale of creative genius and marked evolution of the 74 year old Superman story. It originates from a question that cannot escape the most loyal Superman fan: What would Superman do if he knew he was going to die? "Since this is not Superman at the beginning of his career, it's a tad different to introduce us to a world that the hero has already inhabited. He's had his thrills. He's faced death. He's made allies, enemies, friends, and loved ones" (Acosta). Therefore, the reader is not boggled with biographical information into Superman's world. The reader already knows Superman's history, abilities, weaknesses (Kryptonite, Red Sun, and Lois!), and mission; so Grant uses the familiar superhero genre conventions in a new and exciting tale, full of "mind-boggling concepts such as genetically engineered human suicide bombers; galaxy-roving, sun-eating stars; and experimental stem-cell-accelerated...assassins" (Schreck).



Plot Summary

During a mission to save an eccentric scientist and his crew (who are trying to map the sun) from a genetically engineered human suicide bomber, Superman is exposed to the sun's radiation in overload and his cells begin to die. Superman spends his last days acting on his "bucket list" while still engaging with the threatening menaces to the planet and his arch-enemy, Lex Luthor.


Significant Features

The narrative and panels capture the typical superhero conventions of the genre: a selfless hero with a pro-social mission and superpowers; objects of advanced technology; the iconic superhero costume; the dual identities (one ordinary, one secret and extraordinary) among some. Yet these conventions are given "for a day" to some of the ordinary characters in Superman's world in the context of the ultimate Superman narrative which considers how a terminally ill Superman would spend his last days.


Publication History / Historical Context

It's interesting to note that this publication occurs during a time of commercial resurgence of the Superman tale. Examples are: the television series Smallville which debuted in 2001 and continued for 10 years; the release of the film Superman Returns (2006); director Bruce Timm's Superman: Doomsday (2007) and the direct animated version of this comic series by the same name All-Star Superman (2011), and assorted fan films, including Superman: Requiem (2011), a web project directed by Gene Fallaize. Also, stay tuned for the up and coming animated fan film titled Superman: Origins directed by Jeff Giron!


Impact / Influence 

"On June 1, 2011, DC announced that it would end all ongoing series set in the DC Universe in August and relaunch its comic line with 52 issue #1s, starting with Justice League on August 31, 2011 (written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Jim Lee), with the rest to follow later on in September[27]" (Wikipedia). This revamp is called The New 52 and is expected to endear new comic readers to the superhero genre. DC's success with All-Star Superman proved to be, once again, a wise move.


Critical Reception 

"The most enjoyable incarnation of Superman in almost 30 years" - The Onion

"Taking the Man of Steel back to his roots and into the future at the same time, All-Star Superman is exciting, bold and supercool...all the makings of a classic" - Variety.com

"Morrison...gets what's fun about Superman; he's ridiculously powerful, and therefore he just sees and does and has lots of incredibly cool, totally bizarre stuff...The sky isn't even close to the limit: time machines, nanonauts, sun-eaters, a super-dense sphere of black krytonite from the Underverse, it's all good." - TIME Magazine Best of Comics 2007.




Acosta, Bobby. "IV: Superman All-Star Part 1." Tusconcitizen.com. Tusconcitizen.com, 22 June 2011. Web. 06 Feb. 2012. <http://tusconcitizen.com/comic-matters/?p=61>.

Morrison, Grant, and Frank Quitely. All-star Superman. Vol. 1. New York, NY: DC Comics, 2007.

Morrison, Grant, and Frank Quitely. All-star Superman. Vol. 2. New York: DC Comics, 2007.

Schreck, Bob. Group Editor - DC Comics January 2007.




Further Reading


  • Links to other sources available online related to this entry.


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