Monday, March 8, 2010

New Origin

All right. J. Michael Straczinsky is writing a new series of "graphic novel" Superman stories, to be drawn by Shane Davis. It's a retelling of the origin story, which will lead into subsequent "graphic novels" in the future. These are free from the other Superman stories published by DC. I put "graphic novel" in quotes because it's really just a long comic book, on perhaps better quality paper, and probably between hard covers.

Straczynski was interviewed by Newsarama recently. He talks about his love for the character and how excited he is by the job. Here's a section relevant to my own project:

I come from a hardscrabble, difficult and often brutal childhood. I come from the streets, I came from nowhere with nothing, and when as a kid I started to tell people I was going to be a writer someday, the reaction was laughter. was a period when I was about 13 that I literally got beat up every day, because no matter how badly I got beat, I would refuse to give in, so they'd try again the next day....So the idea of someone who could fly away, someone who could be anything he wanted, who couldn't be hurt...all of that had tremendous appeal for me. As a kid, it was pretty much all that sustained me.

That part about being able to fly away sounds sort of like run away from the people beating him up, but that's not how I think he meant it. He connected to the character as an escapist fantasy, as a lot of people do.

Interestingly, his interview draws a lot of ire from people in the comments section. I won't go into it here.

Even more interestingly, a part of the interview where Straczysky discusses altering the destruction of Krypton incites one reader to write a reply called "Leave Krypton Alone, JMS." Here Graeme McMillan discusses the origin and how he thinks it's wrong to make the destruction of Superman's homeworld "a hit job on a planetary scale." He's got his reasons, and he does a good job of explaining how it would affect the character.

The interesting thing to me is that people are invested in the origin story. They consider it on very deep levels, both in terms of the character and in terms of their own lives. It's important. And because it's important, it gets retold a lot, always from a perspective, always for a purpose. Always as somebody new wants it to be retold, which isn't always how the readers want to read it.

Edit: I have to add this link, to Newsarama. Today they posted an essay by Straczynski where he writes about the meaning of Superman, and Wonderwoman, two comics he will soon be writing.

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