Monday, November 25, 2013

Blue Water Christopher Reeve Tribute

I haven't ever bought any of the celebrity/historical biographies put out by Blue Water Comics. I tend to stick to fiction with the medium. But they recently came out with a Christopher Reeve tribute and I took advantage of the opportunity to review the book.

I have always respected Reeve's work, not only his work on Superman but also Somewhere in Time and Deathtrap. But obviously, it is work on the Donner Superman movies that stand out in my mind. Reeve really seemed to embody the Superman character perfectly (at least in the first 2 movies) and brought some of the more classic 'bumbling' Clark to the big screen.

Reeve then personified the Superman spirit, fighting the never-ending battle, after his tragic spinal cord injury, leaving him paralyzed. Despite that Reeve continued to act in a remake of Rear Window and even Smallville. He fought for spinal injury research and remained in the spotlight.

Blue Water really captures that spirit as it winds through Reeve's professional career with an overlying inspirational speech by Reeve. It is written by Michael Frizell and illustrated by M. Anthony Gerardo. Portions of the sales will go to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

Here is part of the press release by Frizell:

“Working on a tribute comic about Mr. Reeve has been the realization of a childhood dream. When Superman: The Movie was released in 1978, Reeve embodied the character I dreamed about, and I wanted to believe a man could fly. While researching the book for Bluewater, I remember what compelled me to watch all of Reeve’s movies (my favorite, as you can tell in the comic, is Somewhere in Time. The movie features Reeve and Jane Seymour at the height of their prowess as performers, and it’s the only romantic movie I feel I can watch and not lose my ‘man card.’ It has time travel! Therefore, it garners geek cred in my book).”

Gerardo's art is fascinating to me. There is clearly digital work here, with special effects overlying images at times and adding spectacular backgrounds to the story.

 The book is really a celebration of Reeve's whole life so the first 11 pages cover his early films of Somewhere In Time as well as Superman. As I said above, I really enjoyed Somewhere in Time. Be warned, the comic spoils the ending of that movie (spoiler alert for a movie 33 years old?).We are halfway through the book when the accident happens.

It is from this point forward we really get to hear how inspiration Reeve was, how he wasn't going to let this injury hold him back. Here he states clearly that he 'refuses' to let his injury define him. He will always move forward.

And then he embraced being a symbol of hope. And part of that was playing off his association with Superman.

He says he was and always will be a Superman.

And then we see how much he did even after the injury. I had forgotten about Rear Window! And then the work he did with his wife on forming the Foundation is all covered.

But the main point, repeated over and over, almost like a mantra or a statement of power by Reeve, is that he simply refused (and that word is used over and over) to be defined by his injury. He would not allow his disability to determine how he lived his life. He strove to overcome!

I have to say, Reeve's words are very moving. You can just feel his resilience, his strength, his hope through these words. It really is amazing.

If you are a fan of Reeve or the Superman movies, it is definitely worth picking up the book. And kudos to Blue Water for forwarding a portion of the proceedings to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

I will say that I was really drawn into the story by Gerardo's art as well. Really slick effects used for a great effect. You can see more of his art on Deviant Art here:

No grade here. Just a great book supporting a great cause. 

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