All Superman cartoon movies
This week, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All Star Superman became the latest DC Comics storyline to be made into an animated feature, and for many fans, myself included, this felt like something that was going a step beyond the stories they’ve adapted in the past.
All Star Superman isn’t just a story that has that great hook — Superman’s last adventure before he dies — it’s also one of the best Superman stories of all time, When you get right down to it, most of DC’s previous animated releases, Crisis on Two Earths, Under the Red Hood, Public Enemies and Apocalypse, have all fallen into the same broad category. They’re stories with great hooks — the Justice League fights their evil opposites, Batman’s sidekick comes back from the dead with a chip on his shoulder, Superman and Batman punch some dudes, Superman and Batman punch some other dudes and also Supergirl’s there — but they’re also stories that, for obvious reasons, felt like they were the easiest to pitch to the mass market, but not necessarily the best.
As a comic, All-Star Superman is an incredible testament to the craft of comic book storytelling, and also something that synthesizes itself out of decades of comics in a way that’s still fairly accessible to unfamiliar readers. Tthat simultaneously makes it an obvious choice to see adapted, and also something that’s incredibly difficult to pull off without losing what makes it special. And now, having seen it, I’ve got to say, they did a pretty great job.
I’m pretty sure that anyone reading ComicsAlliance has probably read All Star Superman before, and anyone reading a review probably doesn’t mind getting spoiled, but on the off chance that neither of these things describe you, watch out: Spoilers Follow.
When you’re translating something that’s as meticulous as All Star Superman into a different medium, a great deal of its success or failure depends on the strength of your choices: what stays, what’s left out, and what gets changed. Not in terms of just filming a shot-for-shot version of the comic with voices and animation — we’ve all seen how badly that sort of thing can go — but in being able to figure out what translates and what doesn’t, what can be cut out and what needs to be in there to preserve the greater meaning of the work.
And since I already know this story by heart, it’s those choices by screenwriter Dwayne McDuffie that I think say the most about how the animated All Star works. For one thing, he preserves Morrison’s eight-word intro (nine if you count the “Superman” that accompanies the first image above) from the comics. But again, there are still more choices made here: It’s not just the same images from Page 1 of All Star Superman #1. Those shots are the basis…
You might also like
All-Star Superman [Blu-ray]
DVD (Warner Home Video)