For All Seasons
to admit it, but I am truly starting to hate television. Apart
from the greatness produced by Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire
Slayer Season 3 Box Set: you will be mine!) I find little
to enjoy about the idiot box nowadays.
do enjoy my comics. So when Smallville was set to premiere
on the WB, guess who was waiting with baited breath and wearing
his Superman boxers? (I'll give you a hint: starts with an
"S" ends with a "parling.")
So I watched,
saw how badly written/acted it was, and returned to the dark
depths of my comic collection. Maybe it's me, but I just can't
believe in a Superman that can't fly. Thankfully, if one is
looking for a far better tale of the formative years of Clark
Kent, look no further than Superman For All Seasons,
written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by Tim Sale.
was one of Loeb and Sale's first collaborations (others being
Batman: The Long Halloween and Batman: Dark Victory)
and it is a spectacular demonstration of the "man"
itself is broken into four parts: Spring, Summer, Fall, and
Winter (hence the title), and each segment of the story is
told in the E! True Hollywood Stories fashion: by someone
who knows Superman.
is told by Pa Kent, and that's where we really get a glimpse
of Clark's teen years. We see a Clark Kent that is shy, introverted
by his powers and often frightened of what is happening to
him. One scene, in which Clark goes to get a haircut and the
scissors break in the barber's hands, really shows the reader
that Clark is afraid of what he's becoming. As much fun as
flying is, being different really sucks.
develop this theme when he draws Clark as a lumbering giant,
and yet the young Mr. Kent will look so "small"
when Sale is depicting one of Clark's vulnerable moments.
He is trying to show that Clark didn't always have the confidence
he displays as Superman; that it was built up over time, largely
due to the love of his parents and an eventual revelation
that perhaps he is meant to help people.
is also about Superman's naiveté when he was just beginning.
Artistically, Sale helps make this apparent by making Clark
appear simplistic when compared to everyone else in the book.
From Lois Lane to Lex Luthor (alliteration: the forgetful
writer's greatest mnemonic device, just ask Stan Lee), Sale
draws the rest of the cast with larger eyes, more face lines,
and a greater overall degree of detail to demonstrate that
they are all a little more "lived" than Clark, which
is a nifty little art trick that Sale pulls off well. Sale
also pulls off some other artistic feats: one being the act
of giving Lex Luthor hair (see fanboys? Gene Hackman really
was perfect casting), the other drawing one of the best renditions
of Lois Lane that I have ever seen. I can compare it only
to the work done by the original Superman team of Siegel and
Shuster: it is that beautiful.
only discussed the first chapter in detail and I leave the
rest for you to discover. Loeb and Sale make a great team
and I have never failed to love their collaborations. Should
you choose to pick up Superman For All Seasons, you
get the option of choosing between two formats. It was originally
collected in a very attractive hardcover for $25, and believe
me, I was tempted, but I held out for the more recent release
of the trade-paperback version at a much more frugal $15.
Fanboy Planet, you can split the difference: Amazon is offering
the hardcover for $17.47.
Superman for All Seasons