A few weeks ago I received a text from my friend Mark telling me to expect a thank you present in the post for helping out on his wedding day. That evening I found a package from Play.com had been delivered but was surprised by what was inside: a hardback book called There's an Awful Lot of Bubbly in Brazil: The Life and Times of a Bon Viveur.
I'd never heard of the author, Alan Brazil, but on closer inspection discovered he was a 1980s Scottish footballer turned talkSPORT presenter. After looking at the delivery note I saw that what I should have received was a copy of All-Star Superman Vol 1.
Mark is a bona fide comics expert (he reviews them each week for Comics Nexus and uber geek (his son is named Logan after Wolverine's alter-ego) so when the intended book finally arrived I knew I'd be in for a treat.
Despite my ongoing Man of Steel fixation I've not bought a regular Superman comic since my mid-teens when funds were diverted to buy illicit cans of Websters Yorkshire Bitter each weekend. But I do still buy the occasional graphic novel and I'd actually been eying up All-Star Superman for a while. It's a book that's tailor-made for me; it doesn't re-imagine Superman in an overly serious way, but as a quirky sci-fi adventure that manages to reference even the dafter elements of the Superman story (Jimmy Olsen's signal watch; the Fortress of Solitude's front-door key).
Why do I never tire of these and other Superman stories? Nostalgia for sure, but I also enjoy the fact that he's such a clear-cut 'good guy'. A lot of people think Superman is incredibly boring because he's such a do-gooder. Personally, I love the way he can be saving a cat from a tree one minute and rescuing flood victims the next.
As I said in my last post, the cultural and historical resonance of the character mean there'll always be interesting stories for him to star in. In the last couple of years I've seen Superman brilliantly re-imagined as both a Stalinist and an Ike-era American cold warrior. These are all entertaining tales and I hope the Man of Steel's adventures continue for at least another 70 years.
Thank you for indulging my celebration of Superman's birthday over the past week. Normal service resumes tomorrow.
Carnival Saloon: Superman - all of my Man of Steel posts
Comic Coverage: Superman @ 70 - blogger who is loving this anniversary