Thursday, 24 September 2015

Superman: American Alien & an Apology to Max Landis

A couple of years ago I wrote a bit of a rant (find it here) about screenwriter Max Landis' fan film about the Death and Return of Superman.  I stand by my more general points about internet snark & how tedious it is, but on reflection I think I took the film a little too seriously and was unfair to Landis.

I've been following Landis on Twitter and as a Superman fan it's difficult not to admire his genuine passion for the character. It all seems to come from a sincere and uncynical place.  He regularly offers fasciniating insights into Superman, and while I don't agree with all of his thoughts on the character they always make me think.  If you're Superman fan he's definitely worth a follow.

Landis has so far written two Superman stories, an Atomic Skull origin in Action Comics Annual #1 (2012) and a two part Superman/Joker story in Adventures of Superman #40-41. The former was intriguing, if brief,  but I didn't enjoy the latter quite so much. I felt it was more of an essay of Landis' own thoughts on the character than a proper story. But to be fair Landis himself admits in an interview publicising the story that his story is "more of a portrait than an actual issue."
"This was my first time ever officially writing a character that's very important to me, so I didn't want to just insert myself as an authority.  I wanted to play a little bit and see how it felt to put words in his mouth, to put him into action."
 In November this year Landis' new Superman mini series, American Alien will begin. It's described in the solicitation as "a 7-issue miniseries chronicling the life of Clark Kent and his development into the archetypal hero he will eventually become."

I'm really looking forward to this series, it sounds like a Superman story that we've genuinely never seen before. There's some amazing artists working on it (Jock, Francis Manapul, Jae Lee, Tommy Lee Edwards) and if the love for Superman that Landis' displays online is anything to go by, I think this series could be something pretty special.

So, I'm sorry Max Landis, I misjudged you.  Anyone who loves Superman, and thinks about Superman as much as you clearly do can't be that bad.

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