Funnybook Babylon

April 4, 2008

FBBP #51 – Invasion of the All-Star Beetle

Filed under: Podcasts — Funnybook Babylon @ 4:44 pm

We cover Blue Beetle and the invasion of non-home grown talent, All Star Superman and the Siegel case, Avengers on both sides of the Aisle and the lead up to Secret Invasion.

I apologize for the lack of podcast notes, but we been busy with a lot of different content. But I doubt you guys notice anyways.


  1. > But I doubt you guys notice anyways.

    Hey, I notice! I don’t think I’m alone, either, because you guys seem to have a pretty decent number of downloads every week on your podcasts. This is easily my favorite blog on the web!

    Comment by Kenny — April 4, 2008 @ 8:29 pm

  2. Living Assault Weapons. L.A.W.

    I only remember that ’cause of how it doesn’t make sense at all.

    Comment by HitTheTargets — April 5, 2008 @ 1:47 pm

  3. Yeah, regarding All Star Superman, I kind of have to disagree 5000% that it’s based on aspects of Superman that stop in the Silver Age.

    First of all, Kirby’s Jimmy Olsen run was in the early ’70s, at the cusp of the Bronze Age, and introduced the DNA Project – an idea that has been expanded hugely to form a major aspect of ASS.

    Additionally, Morrison’s characterization of Luthor owes a lot to the ’80s Byrne revamp – he’s still a mad scientist, but the whole “He could have saved the world if he wasn’t so obsessed with Superman” aspect really wasn’t pushed to the forefront until around that era.

    Doomsday appeared in the Jimmy Olsen issue; meanwhile, the All Star versions of Kandor and Krypton combine the xenophobia and paranoia that marked Byrne’s Krypton with the day-glo sci-fi brightly colored cityscape that characterized the pre-Crisis version. And on top of that, Superman spends a decent percentage of the book moping about dying (not moping TOO much – but he’s being more introspective than a lot of pre-Crisis tales).

    Saying ASS only builds on Silver Age Superman is doing a disservice to both post-Silver Age Superman and All Star Superman itself. It’s a mix and match of Superman past, present and future into a congealed whole that, in Morrison’s eyes, represents the core tenets and most exciting aspects of the character.

    Comment by David Uzumeri — April 8, 2008 @ 4:28 pm

  4. I think that All Star Superman is generally based on the Silver Age, pre-Crisis version of Superman. I concede that I may have conflated the Silver and Bronze Age versions of the character, but I still think that the version of the character used by Morrison is primarily a pre-Crisis Superman.

    In my mind, one of the primary characteristics of the first version of the post-Crisis Superman was that he was no longer a God. Byrne’s Superman could accomplish great feats, and remained the most powerful DC hero, but he was not unstoppable to the degree that he was before. He had real limits, which altered his relationship with his supporting characters and humanity. In a lot of ways, he was a more assimilationist Superman, who did not stand above humanity, only a little bit in front of it. This is not the character that Grant Morrison is writing.

    Moreover, the version of Kandor and Krypton only reflect the post-Crisis books in a superficial way. Quitely incorporated some of the visual elements used in the first post-Crisis Superman, but there is very little xenophobia (which in post-Crisis Superman was quasi-fascist) in All-Star Superman. More importantly, there is a fundamental optimism that we see in Morrison’s Kandor that was not present in the post-Crisis one at all. Another of the main characteristics of the post-Crisis Superman was that he was essentially human (remember: Byrne had him born on Earth), and his ethics and sense of responsibility solely came from his adoptive parents. Krypton wasn’t home. It was foreign to him, foreign to his ideals.

    And as far as some of the other characters go: (1) Lex Luthor: one of the running themes of the Silver/Bronze Age Luthor was that he ‘could’ have been a boon to humanity – I distinctly remember a bunch of imaginary stories and origin tales that put that across – he was a fundamentally good person who was warped by his obsession. In contrast, Byrne’s Luthor was without any positive qualities (remember that he was originally older than Superman and had done a lot of terrible things to become the man he was – See The Unauthorized Biography of Lex Luthor). As far as Doomsday goes, I don’t think he was particularly important to the story.

    I love a lot of the post-Silver Age (and post-Bronze Age) Superman stories, but I don’t think that’s what inspires Morrison here. The core tenets of Superman, as represented by All Star Superman were all cast a long time ago. Hell, think of the fact that he doesn’t have any adult relationships with his supporting characters.

    With all that said, I love All Star Superman, and think Morrison’s doing a great job. I just wonder sometimes if this is just a more original version of Moore’s Supreme.

    Comment by Jamaal — April 8, 2008 @ 5:09 pm

  5. You’ve got a shitload of solid points, especially about Luthor, which I’m going to chalk up to my memory and cede completely.

    That said, while the Kandor of ASS is certainly a bit more forward-thinking, they’re years removed from the humbling experience of being miniaturized, the planet exploding, meeting Superman, etc. I was basing my perceptions of the Krypton of ASS largely on the behavior of the two astronauts in #9, who – and while xenophobic was likely the wrong word – certainly behaved with a degree of arrogance and superiority that (and you’re likely about to school the shit out of my memory again) in my recollection wasn’t present in the depictions of the average citizens in pre-Crisis Krypton (at least, not until Superman Annual #11/For The Man Who Has Everything).

    Lex Luthor basically destroys the main factual thrust of my point, so I’m kind of forced here to just say there’s a sort of intangible melancholy that surrounded a lot of the Superman stuff in the late ’90s and especially early ’00s that I don’t really see in the unbridled optimism of the Silver Age stuff but do see in All Star. I think a lot of the reason why it seems so Silver Age to us is just because the main books have been trying to deny that aspect of their heritage for so long while All Star works to integrate it.

    I don’t know, there’s two issues left – I’m certainly a lot more sympathetic to your point now, and I’m curious to see what Morrison incorporates here towards the end.

    Comment by David Uzumeri — April 8, 2008 @ 5:37 pm

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