May 18, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 83: Supreme #42, September, 1996

As I noted yesterday, this was the first issue of Supreme that I read. It was the brilliant flashback sequences by Rick Veitch that pushed me over the edge. The way the flashbacks meshed with the contemporary story, as well as the metatext made me realize that this was a comic for me.

Veitch's art is above reproach in these comics, but the pencillers on the contemporary stuff are....less unreproachable. I will cop to the fact that this was early 90s Image, and more specifically Rob Liefeld's "Extreme Studios," so the aesthetic was fairly well established as being bad. I remember reading a Warren Ellis essay on comic book covers, and he noted that the covers to Supreme, starting with tomorrow's issue which is the first Maximum Press issue, were horrendously ugly. Ellis' point was that the covers are what draw readers in in the first place, so we should have attractive covers on everything. He's right. The Maximum Press ones, the early ones, anyway, are terrible. But it's not just the graphic design. It's also the exaggerated art style. Even on this cover, I'm trying to imagine what Supreme would look like in real life. I thought Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth shirtless came pretty close to what a male superheroic body would look like in real life, but look at Supreme's thighs. They're probably 3 times the size of his head. His neck is larger that his head too. I also don't believe that arms that look like that would bend. I get the need to show him as very strong, but does that necessarily equate to muscles on his muscles? Chris Sprouse, who takes over art with issue #53, demonstrates that strength can be alluded to, rather than rubbed in one's face.

This issue continues very much in the vein of yesterday's issue. More back story, and more contemporary story. Considering that the character had been around for a few years at least by this point, and that his early years had been addressed in such series as Supreme: Glory Days and The Legend of Supreme, issue 41 might as well have been issue 1 for all that both we and Supreme himself are starting fresh. That said, without the prior issues, the trope of the revision would have had far less weight.

Brain's a bit tired today, so that felt like rambling. Back to it tomorrow.

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