Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Superb, Man

It was folly to think that I was the only person writing about the long, hard road from concept to screen for "SUPERMAN V" as I did in Cashiers du Cinemart #15 with my piece, "Superman: Grounded". The subject had been fodder for blogs and message boards for years prior. I suppose I was hoping to legitimize the subject as well as provide my obsessive-compulsive hand to the mix by hunting down every version of the proposed Superman scripts I could find. I didn't want to rely on second and third hand accounts of scrapped scripts from such unreliable sources as AICN.

Synchronicity has provided another take on the sordid history of Superman adaptations, Jake's Rossen's Superman Vs. Hollywood. In this tome from Chicago Review Press, Rossen gives equal weight to the multi-million dollar fiasco that brought Superman to the screen in 2007 that left actors, directors, and screenwriters in its wake. He also chronicles Superman's earlier incarnations across myriad multimedia (radio, serialized shorts, television shows, animation, etc).

Having been immersed in "all things Superman" for a while as I researched "Superman Grounded" as well as "Superman II: The Long Strange Trip", I wasn't expecting a lot of surprises from Rossen's book. Luckily, he managed to pull out the aces with chapters on "Superboy" and other incarnations of Kal-El that I'd never witnessed. I was tickled, too, by the author's swipes at the "militant geeks" at AICN, even discussing the payola perks that its portly poobah proffers in exchange for positive plugs.

For anyone even remotely interested in the fantastic story of Superman's use and abuse by the men who have owned his copyright over the years, Rossen's book is a must-read. And, though he and I tread a lot of the same ground, his book didn't render what I had to say about the Man of Steel completely moot.

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