There is almost no one in the world who doesn’t know Superman – one of the most iconic characters in the history of not just comic books, but media in general. Superman began as one of several anthology features in the National Periodical Publications comic book Action Comics #1 in June 1938 and in no time – he became an iconic character.
Being a comic book character, it comes as no surprise there are almost innumerable iterations of everyone’s favorite Kryptonite, with mixed reception over the past several decades. That said, All-Star Superman is definitely revered for good reason.
Superman’s Most Famous Iterations Across Various Mediums
As previously noted, Superman has been around the block for a very long time now, which has led to him being featured in a prominent role in all kinds of mediums, whether it is movies, TV shows, games, comic books or even musicals.
Undoubtedly one of Superman’s most popular iterations comes in the form of animation – namely Superman: The Animated Series as well as Justice League. Superman’s dedication as the Man of Steel in both long-running shows have helped entire generations learn about the visitor from Krypton, who became such an integral part of pop culture.
Apart from the animated shows, Superman’s live-action foray is a popular one as well. The likes of Christopher Reeve, Brandon Routh and now Henry Cavill have all donned the iconic red cape one way or the other. That said, comic book readers still care more about Superman in the comic book realm than anything.
Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman’s Inception Was Thanks To A Chance Meet With A Fan
All-Star Superman ran from November 2005 to October 2008 and was written by Grant Morrison. It is considered by many to be the greatest Superman story ever told and for good reason. Grant Morrison’s creative approach to crafting the series was characterized by a commitment to universality, steering away from the conventional path of rehashing origin stories.
This idea came about during a brainstorming session between Morrison and editor Dan Raspler at the San Diego Comic Con. In a conversation with Newsrama, Gran Morrison talked about coming up with the idea for All-Star Superman.
While the author discussed ideas for what would become All-Star with fellow writer Mark Waid, they met a Superman cosplayer, whom Morrison felt was the perfect Superman. While they spoke to the man, the cosplayer replied fully in character, as Morrison described the whole experience as ‘shamanic.’
“We were asked to submit a Superman proposal, which we did. It was rejected, and the quote I was given was, ‘Do you honestly believe DC will ever give you the keys to the family car?’ I can say here and now that the Superman proposal by Waid, Peyer, Morrison, and Millar was the best, most thoroughly worked-out take on a major character you are ever likely to see. It was Superman Plus. I wrote most of it after meeting the Man of Steel at 2am opposite the Sheraton in San Diego — a true shamanic moment.
“He was wearing the best Superman suit I’ve seen and looked fantastic as Superman—a cross between Chris Reeve and Billy Zane—so we asked him if he’d answer some questions which he did—in the character of Superman! It was like a possession—I’d say to the guy, ‘So how do you feel about Batman?’ and he’d come back with ‘Well, Batman and I don’t really see eye to eye on a lot of things. He’s so hung up on the darkness in everyone’s soul and I just don’t see it that way…’ and so on. He spoke to us for about an hour and a half.
“The thing that really hit me, wasn’t so much what Superman was saying as how he was sitting. He was perched on a bollard with one knee drawn up, chin resting on his arms. He looked totally relaxed…and I suddenly realized this was how Superman would sit. He wouldn’t puff out his chest or posture heroically, he would be totally chilled. If nothing can hurt you, you can afford to be cool. A man like Superman would never have to tense against the cold; never have to flinch in the face of a blow. He would be completely laid back, un-tense. With this image of Superman relaxing on a cloud looking out for us all in my head, I rushed back to my hotel room and filled dozens of pages of my notebook with notes and drawings.
“We had the 21st-century Superman, we had four guys who’d been waiting all their lives to do this, we wanted to launch in January 2000, and we’d have sold a million copies. It would have been the coolest, biggest thing to happen to Kal-El since the Byrne revamp, and DC blew it. I have nothing but respect for Joe Kelly and Jeph Loeb and the other guys currently on the books, but they haven’t been allowed to go far enough, and as a result, the current revamp seems a little muted. Not being able to do Superman and not being offered anything else at DC was the main reason I decided to do Marvel Boy for Jimmy Palmiotti and Joe Quesada.”
Inspiration comes from anything and Gran Morrison is a great example of that. Fans all around the world will forever be glad that he was able to create a masterpiece in All-Star Superman – something that will be read forevermore.
Superman’s popularity will never dwindle, as he remains a symbol of hope for people all around the world – fictional or otherwise. With Superman: Legacy set to hit theaters in 2025, we’ll have to see how it will hold up to fan expectations.