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The Adventures of Superman – The Sound of One Hand Clapping (Review)

This March sees the release of Batman vs. Superman. To celebrate, we’ll be looking at some iconic and modern Batman and Superman stories over the course of the month.

Max Landis has a relatively unique path to writing for Superman.

Landis is one of the most striking young writers to emerge from Hollywood in quite some time, making a strong impression through his collaboration with Josh Trank in the low-budget found-footage superhero film Chronicle. Landis has diversified somewhat since that original screenplay; a filmography that includes films like Mr. Right, American Ultra and Victor Frankenstein suggests that Landis’ interests lie more in unconventional pairings than in the superhero genre itself.

The Joker's gags really bombed...

The Joker’s gags really bombed…

Nevertheless, Landis is a writer who does seem fascinated with the mechanics and underlying logic of superhero storytelling. A year before the release of Chronicle, Landis put together a short film that served as an extended discussion of The Death and Return of Superman featuring a variety of top tier talent like Mandy Moore, Elijah Wood, Ron Howard and Simon Pegg. At once reveling in the absurdity of the massive nineties comic book crossover and interrogating its central character’s identity crisis, it was a potent piece of pop culture criticism.

In the years following his initial success, Landis has remained relatively connected with the Man of Steel. He drafted an eight-page origin for the Atomic Skull for the first annual of DC comics’ relaunched Action Comics run, and would get a change to craft his own origin story for Clark Kent in American Alien. However, he also wrote a short two-issue story as part of DC’s digital-first The Adventures of Superman comic, scripting Superman’s first encounter with the Clown Prince of Crime.

Last laugh...

Last laugh…

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Check out Mondo’s Dark Knight Rises Poster…

Mondo are great even if – as somebody who lives in Ireland – I’m relegated to simply posting screenshots of their distinctive alternate posters. They did a whole bunch of alternate posters for The Avengers, which were awesome. And they’ve done one for The Dark Knight Rises.

The artwork on this is by Jock, who is one of the most distinctive Batman artists working. If you want to see more of his work, you could do a lot worse than picking up The Black Mirror, which is also one of the finest Batman stories of the past few years. (If not, you know, ever.) Just sayin’ is all.