Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Superman Unchained

Yesterday, DC Comics and USA Today unveiled the name of the upcoming Scott Snyder/Jim Lee upcoming comic. They also talked a little to both Snyder and Lee about what to expect. Here is the link to that article:

And the name of the new book is Superman Unchained. It is an interesting title, invoking classic images of Superman breaking chains, cashing in a little on the Django Unchained name, and also tying in to the approach that Snyder and Lee are bringing to the book. I also think there is some nice synergy with the upcoming Superman Unbound movie.

As usual, a couple of things in the interview stuck out which I will show here but it is worth reading the article in total. There is some news about the upcoming Greg Pak/Jae Lee Batman/Superman series as well. Here are some blurbs.

Snyder teams with artist (and DC co-publisher) Jim Lee for an all-new Superman Unchained series beginning June 12, and that same month sees the debut of Batman/Superman by writer Greg Pak and artist Jae Lee that will show the earliest meeting between the company's two iconic heroes.

No surprise about the release date, a mere 2 days before the release of the Man of Steel movie. I can understand toking the publicity fire and taking advantage of the media blitz most likely happening at that point.

Later Jim Lee said:
"We've been pushing the creators to not be beholden to the past conceits and understandings" of Superman, he adds. "So we will speak to a new generation of readers."

I am just a little worried about statements like this. I think there needs to be some 'conceits and understandings' about Superman that have to remain intact. If you write Superman like Deathstroke or Wolverine or even Batman ... he isn't Superman anymore. If someone pitched an angry, violent, killing Superman, would Lee think that was 'fresh'? Or would he say it was wrong? Personally, I don't want Super-Doom.

You can write good Superman stories while still leaving his essence intact, even in this modern world, even as you woo new readers.

Lee says they'll pull back "the camera" sometimes, "showing really how this small little figure, this human-shaped character, can literally move mountains," and Snyder aims to focus on this superhero who has the power to shape the world however he wants it yet looks at humanity to be inspired himself.

I wonder if the 'unchained' portion of the name comes from Snyder and Lee having Superman doing more incredible things, exploring the vastness of his powers ... like the fetters are off. If the opening scene is Superman hoisting a mountain, where do you go from there.

And yet, I also trust Snyder's take because he seems to be focusing on the 'man', that his Superman is inspired by the goodness inherent in humanity. 

"If I think for a second, 'I'm working on Superman,' you get chills and it becomes very, very intimidating when you think of all the amazing stories that have come before," says Snyder, who also is doing backup stories in Unchained with artist Dustin Nguyen.

I didn't know there would be a back-up feature in the book. I was glad to hear that because I think this is going to be a solid book. But adding that the artist is Dustin Nguyen is just a complete win.

"I know conceptually why he admires Lois Lane, but then when you're writing them and you feel the chemistry between them and it comes to life on the page, it's always these little bursts of surprises that have been a joy to discover with him," Snyder says.

And lastly, this is the part of the article that struck me (and it seems the internet) the most. Lois will play a big part in the book. Snyder understands the chemistry between them. He knows that Superman admires Lois. These are welcome words. If there has been one thing lacking in the New 52 Superman, it has been a strong role and presence for Lois. It looks like there will finally be a place to read about a strong Lois.

Hopefully this book will live up to my preconceived expectations of excellence, expectations that are growing.


Dave mullen said...

Later Jim Lee said:
"We've been pushing the creators to not be beholden to the past conceits and understandings" of Superman, he adds. "So we will speak to a new generation of readers."

I've begun to notice I have a metaphorical frown whenever Jim Lee is involved in Superman, statements like the one above form the basis of that concern. I've long come off with the impression from Lee that he sees Superman as too old fashioned for his view of the world and relishes the opportunity to 'do it his way' so to speak. It's well known why he created Mr Majestic back in the early 90s - an otherworldly god who is a proactive no nonsense version of Superman. You can see elements of it in todays Superman, a Superman Lee as co-publisher has had a heavy input into.
It's not a take on the character I like or think is appropriate. Do it with Majestic or Supreme, that's what they're for, but Superman is the template. The Superhero....

Dante said...

Glad that Snyder is in the book.He really knows how to handle the whole superhero angle instead of the "dark hero" thing that seems to be the rage these days.This kind of thing is Japan's schtick with their own heroes and that's why it's great.They are heroes and not above the average policeman or firefighter and maybe even more anonymouw in a dark,crappy world without the power to make it brighter,at least by themselves.

SUPERheroes have that power and even the worst of them can do it and get tons of publicity,look at Batman and he is suppossed to be the dark hero of the DC universe.Superheroes are bright,colourful archetypes of goodwill and justice that even without powers they can do anything and be role models for everyone.Dwayne McDuffie even explained it in great detail and his vision was great.

But I suppose that,sudenly the new generation of western teens need this "dark hero" stuff,even if it's botched to hell and back not counting the import massacre they suffer trying to adapt from the "dark hero" standards to "dark superhero",which flat out don't work.

End of a rant,sorry about that.

Anonymous said...

I've been waiting for "Supergirl Unchained" since 1970....


Jay said...

I actually welcome Lee's comments, and hope he has influence on the book in regard to us getting a New 52 Superman in this book that's compatible with the one we've been reading. I understand not everyone likes some of the changes and miss the old Superman, heck he was "my" Superman too, but I don't want a book to go back to that. I want to build off the Superman Morrison, Lodbell, and to a lesser extent, Johns, has been writing. This shouldn't be a nostalgia fest. So in that regard I think Lee is a good partner for Snyder here.

Anj said...

I don't mind freshening up the character, I liked most of what Byrne did. But I worry that 'modern sensibilities' means a coarser, grimmer, less inspirational Superman. And that I think would be too much of a change.

You can't have a pacifist celibate James Bond.

You can't have a poor socially awkward Tony Stark.

You shouldn't have a dark and grim Superman.

valerie21601 said...

I really do hope the new Superman movie will live up to the first Christopher Reeves version, similar as well as different in it's own way and on the acting level.

I dearly hope the Warner Brothers executives and the people around them aren't being a bunch of parrots, who think if they say it's a good movie long enough and loud enough they can get people to believe a so-so movie is really great.

I can easily recall the promotion of movies like Istanbul starring Beatty and Dustin Hoffman.

Any one remember the super heavy studio promotion of Eddie Murphy's movie Pluto Nash? One of the top 3 biggest money losers of all time ($95 million).

Well like I said I really do hope the new Superman movie is great.

Jay said...

The buzz around Man Of Steel that's coming out via early screenings, for what its worth, has been really positive.