[Reseñas] Great Superman Authors: Dennis O’Neil and Curt Swan – Kryptonite Nevermore – BdS

original edition: Superman nos. 233-238 and 240-242 USA
Departure date: August 2017
Screenplay: Dennis O’Neil
He drew: Curt Swan, Murphy Anderson, Neal Adams
Format: Hardcover, 192 pages.
Price: €19.50

The story is told a long time ago but it always starts over again. And that is the case of our compilation, because with more than 75 years on his back, several deaths and many more resurrections, the pop icon with a red cape and an S on his chest has had several rebirths. Here and now one of them, with a history of several decades of the 20th century of popular culture being rewritten and a plot based on the romantic literature of the 19th century with drawings from the seventies Dennis O’Neil, Curt Swan, Murphy Anderson, Neal Adams Y julius schwartz present “Great Superman Authors: Dennis O’Neil and Curt Swan – Kryptonite Nevermore”.

It was 1971 and between the Vietnam War and the Nixon government, DC was hit by a sales crisis and Marvel, which with its releases and renewal of characters captivated the public as the fashionable YouTube video in 2018. The solution? The visionary publisher Juiius Schwartz puts the team’s young star, Dennis O’Neil, in charge of the superhero who represented the publisher. The result? between January and September of that year, once again, there is a new beginning in the saga of the Man of Steel, now republished in Spanish by ECC.

Part as always (or almost) at the beginning. The almighty Superman of the silver age, and that Spanish-language readers were able to read through publishers such as Novaro and Bruguera, faces a character restructuring. The author wants to take away his powers and humanize him as much as possible, understanding that he is a superhero son of pop culture, perhaps the Übermensch of the Atomic era.

The last Son of Krypton endures an experimental accident of green kryptonite as an alternative energy source, and as a result, all of the kryptonite on the planet, even the red and gold, is turned into iron (hence the title “Kryptonite: Nevermore!”). But something else happens, a mark of Superman’s fall will become “The Sandman” the nemesis and main enemy of Clark Kent’s alter ego throughout this compilation.

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A young Dennis O’Neil captures in his cartoons the anxieties of his time. The Vietnam War, the protests in the streets, a establishment questioned and a looming economic and oil crisis are its main topics of the moment. On the other hand, the epilogue of this volume tells us something else:

“The truth is that the kryptonite was nothing more than a symptom of a disease that could be called elephantiasis of powers. It’s just that Superman was too powerful. If we wanted the plot to be coherent, there had to be problems that I couldn’t fix on the second page. And if we weren’t consistent, if we didn’t make him face a difficulty by doing the same thing as the month before, for example, we would be guilty of making bad stories and we would risk alienating readers who, and finally we realized, yes that they were attentive.”

Another ingredient is added to a more “human” Superman with weaknesses and fewer powers: basing himself on the work of william blake. A complex poet and artist, Blake’s work has been quoted and referenced several times in the genre, probably as much or more than HP Lovecraft. For an example I recommend reading “From Hell” by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell.

Superman faces ancient gods, angels and demons who may not be ancient gods, modern day slavery, and his own frailty in becoming a normal human being. We can review it by citing the work of the English poet:

“The originality and fascination of Blake’s system lie precisely in its ability to fully incorporate and articulate each vital manifestation. Likewise, man and nature cease to oppose each other. Dualistic paradises and hells disappear and everything enters into a dynamic in which good and evil are relative. In which oppression and freedom are notions referring to concrete situations…” On the work of William Blake in “William Blake: Bilingual Anthology”. publishing alliance

It is not the psychological depths of “For the Man Who Has Everything” either “Superman: American Alien”but with its subtleties the plot is interesting, you can see the hand of one of the authors World's Finest #204from the classic “Green Lantern/Green Arrow”, a journey through the deep North America of the time, a comic version of the film “Easy Rider”. Another pro is that one of the most endearing characters in the publisher’s history makes a brief appearance. By Sekowsky and Giordano generally (and sometimes written by O’Neil himself) from number 169 to approximately 207 of their classic series appears the “Wonder Woman Hippie” Photographer, feminist fighter, martial artist, world traveler, wearing the latest fashion and alongside her teacher I-Ching, Diana Prince in one of her most interesting stages will “collaborate” with the seventies Superman in this compilation.

Tell curt swan That’s enough to justify the art in this comic. The classic illustration with a hero who appears to be approaching forty, the inspiration for Reeves’ Superman. Along with designs Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez They are the great years of the Superman of the Golden and Bronze Age, and the most recognizable drawing of the character, adding of course to that of john byrne. Personally, the best cartoonists by far of the great Boy Scout since he first saw the light in the distant “Action Comics” #1. In the Murphy Anderson inks it is correct but it has that shortcoming of a few years in which comics still could not completely get out of being a by-product of newspapers and faced an economic crisis that sought to save and become sustainable in every corner that could be. In fact, during these same years, due to the drop in sales and inflation, DC comics went up from 15 to 25 cents, to justify extra pages were added with reprints of classics and support sections, and putting number one on the cover. in a series with years of continuity began to become fashionable.

Regarding this reissue in Spanish by ECC of the year 2017, I must admit that I am not a fan of all its compilations and translations. Speaking for example of another Superman compilation, the one by José Luís García-López that was published in a single and elegant book with a dust jacket and at a very convenient price by DC comics. When translating it, it was divided into three and the value increased between 20-40% by adding the three. But I can tell you that “Kryptonite: Never Again” a notable exception is made. Not only is it a simile in pages and content to the latest US edition, but the price is very good and for the readers I think It ends up being an even better option than the original.

The only but is a matter of taste. The inking as I said before responds to its original, but to all readers who have started reading comics after “Crisis on Infinite Earths” it seems to us that it was painted with chalk. I repeat again, this is a matter of taste and one can hear different opinions that even prefer the originals (no matter how blurry they may seem). Another downfall that it has, is the occasional page in which the digitization went out of tune for the editors and seems to be taken from other comics, a detail, but if you continue reading this you deserve my total sincerity for your purchase decision.

concluding, in these 192 pages we have a new beginning for an old myth; the appearance of the Wonder Women Hippie; a Man of Steel who ends up defeating his enemies thanks to his humanity. We are facing an interesting time capsule in cartoons and dialogue balloons; a plot by the immense O’Neil based on the work of William Blake; the unforgettable drawing by Curt Swan; a great Spanish edition, definitely a classic of the American superhero genre, and just for that or for all of the above I recommend you read “Great Superman Authors: Dennis O’Neil and Curt Swan – Kryptonite Nevermore”.

“What is in this book is just one phase of his (Superman) development, one that was perhaps of great value to many people, including me, when it was first published. For me, it’s like meeting a classmate I didn’t know I liked until he moved to another neighborhood.

Nice to see you, Superman. I hope that everything goes well for you.”

Dennis O`Neil. “Superman: Kryptonite Nevermore”

I await your comments and that one day the company reissues the Wonder Woman of the ’70s in a single volume. Until next time.

You can purchase “Superman’s Great Authors: Dennis O’Neil and Curt Swan – Kryptonite Never Again” here.

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[Reseñas] Great Superman Authors: Dennis O’Neil and Curt Swan – Kryptonite Nevermore – BdS


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