Here’s an awesome piece that Jordan Morris wrote for Bullseye. He’s been hosting, and he’s really been kicking ass.
The Outshot: Superman For All Seasons
Growing up, I never got what people liked about Superman. I was into the high drama of the Uncanny X-men. I loved the heavy metal style of Spawn. But Superman? Superman was just… boring. He’s unconditionally virtuous. He always does the right thing. He’s Ned Flanders with heat vision.
But these days I feel differently. The story that changed my tune was Superman for All Seasons by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.
Superman stories tend to drop the blue guy into genre pieces. He’s a sci-fi hero. He’s a detective. Sometimes he’s meet cute-ing in a romantic comedy. Superman for All Seasons is different. It’s a simple coming of age story. Our hero grows up in Smallville, feeling different. Then he moves to the big city to try and make a name for himself. Simple.
Ach… okay… there’s also a nuclear submarine, and flying robots and a villainess in a bustier who has a poison gun… it’s still a comic book. But relatively speaking? Simple. Classic.
The art style owes a lot to Norman Rockwell. He’s even thanked at the top of the book. And they’re not using Rockwell for ironic effect. It’s not David Lynch, exposing the darkness behind America’s white picket fences. They’re using the Rockwell style to tell a story that’s beautiful and emotional… and… I mean this in the best possible way… All American.
There’s one panel that made me get Superman in an instant, after a lifetime of trying to figure out what the big deal was. A tornado hits Smallville. Superman saves the day. Ma and Pa Kent are singing his praises and he says to them… “I could have done more.” That’s what makes Superman interesting. He always thinks “I could have done more.”
Really, don’t we all think that? Like, a lot? We’ve all got some kind of powers - time, money, skills - and I really think most of us try and use them for good. But no matter how much we’re doing, there’s always a voice telling us we should be volunteering, spending more time with our families, writing that screenplay, picking up that musical instrument we haven’t touched since high school.
It’s not really a book for younger kids. It’s light on action and it maybe gets a little corny… several scenes literally take place in a malt shop. But its perfect for someone just finishing high school, or maybe about to leave for college or starting a job.
It drives home a wonderful point. We can behave virtuously. We can succeed. But we still might feel a little sad. And that’s okay.
That feeling of wanting to do more is part of what makes a hero.