In the week leading up to the 2017 Will Eisner Awards voting deadline this Friday, the Comics Beat will feature a series of “For Your Consideration” posts highlighting a number of the nominees as a celebration of their well-deserved acknowledgement. We’ll feature some never-before-seen behind the scenes content and some of the books’ gorgeous interiors. We encourage all of our readers to check these titles out and all of the eligible comics industry members to vote for the titles they think best exemplify what make comics great.
When DC Comics announced Superman: American Alien, I had to admit that my first thought was: “another retelling of Superman’s origin?” But wow, was I won over. Written by Max Landis and illustrated by an all-star team of A-list creators including Nick Dragotta, Tommy Lee Edwards, Joelle Jones, Jae Lee, Francis Manapul, Jonathan Case, and Jock, Superman: American Alien made a strong argument for the idea that there’s still resonant emotions and creative ideas to mine from Superman’s early days.
In the Comics Beat’s roundup of the best comics of 2016, staff writer AJ Frost wrote a resounding endorsement for the series:
If just for the cover art alone, Max Landis’ Superman: American Alien would be an instant classic. I didn’t discover this collection until several days after this year’s election and there was simply something about that cover image of a diverse set of people, men and women, all colors and shapes, flashing that iconic “S” symbol that filled me with a childlike sense that everything is going to be okay; Superman transcends petty partisan squabbles. (It also helped me psychologically that my dad, who passed away a year ago now, was a huge fan of Superman and would’ve probably enjoyed seeing that cover image). The stories contained in this volume, while nominally another rebooting of the Superman mythos, are more like a collection of self-contained snippets about a Clark Kent in his pre-Man of Steel persona. Landis presents Clark through a hyper-contemporary lens, lending an interesting perspective that works solidly throughout the comic. With seventy-five years of history, it’s difficult to get readers to entertain the notion of why we need yet another origin story for the Man of Steel, but this was a surprisingly emotional work and one that should get serious attention from Superman neophytes and experts alike.
Check out this cover gallery featuring variants drawn by the series’ artists:
DC kindly provided the Beat with Landis’ original pitch for Superman: American Alien. It was originally released in the back matter of the miniseries’ hardcover collection:
Check out of all of our 2017 Eisner coverage.
Alex is the Managing Editor of the Comics Beat. He is also a freelance comics editor with previous credits at Papercutz. He is your go-to fella for creator interviews, conversations about comic book structure, and general DC Comics nerding. Currently geeking out over movies, too.