DC Comics has a thing for “Year One” stories and today’s release of Superman Year One #1 follows that decades-long tradition in an all-new way.
Some will love. Some will hate. But everyone – and I mean everyone – has to pay attention to Superman Year One.
The out-of-continuity, mature, Black Label publishing banner that DC Comics editorial concocted began in earnest in the late summer of 2018. It was at that time that Batman: Damned #1 by writer Brian Azzarello and artist Lee Bermejo, hit the comic book stands.
Damned was a three-issue, over-sized magazine-styled format series, sharing as much linage with early 1980’s graphic novels as euro-inspired mature titles of the mid-to-late twentieth century.
Immediately, Batman: Damned did what the Black Label banner was meant to do: give no respect to previous character continuity and, more importantly, provoke its audience. It was in these pages that readers were subjected to a nude Bruce Wayne traipsing through his Batcave, and the birth of a cultural phenomenon known as the “Bat Penis”.
There was hefty backlash from critics and from the public. And from Warner Brothers themselves, the parent company of DC Comics.
Batman: Damned, the series, was immediately put into turnaround, with an <a-hem> augmented reprint of that first sold out “member” making its way into stores fairly quickly. New scenes, it’s been said, were illustrated to replace previously drawn (and objectionable) frames in the second issue, and the whole series has been forever delayed. Nearly a year later, the public is still waiting on the third and final chapter.
Now we get Superman starring in his own Black Label series. And he’s under the pen of decades–long provocateur, Frank Miler, and fan favourite artist, John Romita Jr.
What outrage awaits Superman Year One?!?
Written By: Frank Miller
Illustrated By: John Romita Jr. and Danny Miki
Published By: DC Comics
Superman is an important character. Not just in comic books and comic book lore, but as a pop culture icon across the globe. He stands for more than just truth and justice. No, Superman stands for all things inherently good in humankind.
And under the Black Label banner, all of that shackled weight can be thrown off. As creators testing boundaries, good for Miller and Romita Jr., I suppose. They can take their story in any far-off direction they want.
But when that inevitably happens, is this still Superman?
Superman Year One is a three-issue miniseries, published in a larger, magazine-styled format. It details Kal-El’s journey from his doomed home planet – a place where he witnessed the death of his parents – to the pastoral fields of Kansas and a rural, small town, upbringing. Here, he’s struggling with his powers, his sense of loneliness, and of being a teenager.
Perhaps most interestingly, this Superman Year One exists in the same world as Miller’s seminal The Dark Knight Returns series, published in 1986. I know you know about that one.
Some will love Superman Year One. Some will hate it. But for so many reasons, as comic book and pop culture lovers, we all must pay attention to it.
Make the run to your local comic book store today and pick up Superman Year One #1. Let’s find out, together, what we make of this particular version of the Superman character in his first year of being.
You can catch a sneak peek of the first issue here.