Jun 18, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 844: Superman Family #194, March/April 1979


It's no secret that I have a thing for the Man of Steel. He was the first superhero. How can we not revere him, even in some small measure. For me, though he hasn't always been my favourite character to read, he's always stood for the best that superheroes, and by proxy of their metaphor, we, can become. Ben Saunders, in his book Do the Gods Wear Capes? labels Superman as the Platonic good in fictional form. I think I agree, though he's not always been treated as such.

Superman Family is a cool comic - I like the idea that rather than buying four or five different series, you can get this one that includes stories about all of the cast of the Super-titles. What I didn't realize about this comic, which I picked up on the cheap from the Calgary Expo this year, is that it's the last part of a multi-issue story which I actually have the previous bits of. So I could have read the story in proper sequence, had I just glanced at my collection before reading it. Ah well. These things are likely to happen, really.

The central story features art by John Calnan, an artist I've never heard of before. I'm torn about his style, and really it's over one particular aspect of the art: The characters all look like they're posed action figures. Part of me loves it, and part of me hates it. There's a staticness to the movement and pose of the characters that almost pushes into the realm of the uncanny. But on the other hand, it takes that stylizedness of superhero art and applies it to the motion of the comic, not just the appearance. And I can't decide whether it's brilliant or mediocre.

Also, whoever drew that cover has no idea how human (or Kryptonian) physiology works. Unless Supergirl has a rubber spine.

To be continued.

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