herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Hoodies replace red pants as man of steel is given a supercool makeover

The big "S" is still on his chest, but the suave, clean-cut Clark Kent of old he ain't.

The new Superman coming to the shelves of book stores next week is not exactly the chipper and bright-eyed optimist of lore.

Instead, the kid from Krypton featured in Superman: Earth One sports a hoodie, a brooding brow and fashion sense that would not put him out of place in hipster lairs from Brooklyn to Seattle.

And that, said Dan DiDio, senior vice president and executive editor at DC Comics, is just what the company was aiming for when it asked J Michael Straczynski, himself a noted comic book writer who currently helms the company's flagship monthly Superman title.

"We always knew that we wanted to do a real, contemporary interpretation of Superman," he said. "And what we did is we reached out to Joe Straczynski -- Joe is probably one of the biggest Superman fans out there."

DiDio said DC augured the retelling as a way to reach out to buyers not just in comic book stores but in other book stores, too -- fans of books and series such as Twilight or Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy of crime novels.

The graphic novel was illustrated by Shane Davis. And while it features the jet-black hair -- sans curly lock atop the forehead -- and piercing stare that Clark Kent/Superman has had since his creation in the 1930s, Davis' art reflects a more modern bent with narrow pants and ties and the ubiquitous hoodie.

The work draws on the Superman mythology but recreates it for a contemporary audience with a 20-year-old Clark Kent unsure how to use super-strength, super-smarts and just plain super abilities as he makes his way through a grittier, more realistic Metropolis trying to find not just a job but meaning and purpose.

DiDio and DC are pleased with the transformation, noting that demand for the work has been so great that the book has already gone back to the press for a wider run.

Given the demand, DC is already planning a similar treatment for Batman, which will be written by Geoff Johns, a writer named DC Comics' chief creative officer in February.

hnews@herald.ie

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