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Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!
Today we take a look at “For the Man Who Has Everything,” from Superman Annual #11 by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons…
In the 1985 Superman Annual, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons delivered a wonderful tale about Superman’s birthday.
In it, the villain Mongul uses a telepathic plant called the “Black Mercy” to give Superman his heart’s desire, and effectively then leave Superman’s Fortress of Solitude ripe for Mongul’s taking.
Here is Superman trapped in the fantasy of the Black Mercy…
Luckily for Superman, his friends Wonder Woman, Batman and Robin (the second Robin, Jason Todd) were coming by to celebrate his birthday and they fight to save him.
Here’s a very nice character beat introducing the heroes to the issue…
The “chum” line is great.
Mongul’s introduction to the heroes is also handled beautifully…
While they tussle with Mongul, Superman is trapped in his “heart’s desire,” although he finds himself trapped in a Krypton where he is an ineffectual bureaucrat and his father is a person ridiculed for his beliefs (and Krypton itself is stuck in the middle of a religious war), which is presumably Superman trying to break free from the “Black Mercy’s” effects.
In any event, due to a little help from his friends, Superman eventually breaks free, and he is none too pleased…
This leads to an encounter where Moore and Gibbons have Superman deliver one of the rare occasions of Superman looking scary…
“Burn” has become an extremely memorable moment.
This Annual is a great example of a creative team taking an “adult” approach to superheroes without losing any of the glamor or coolness of the underlying concepts or characters. Wonder Woman, Batman, Robin and Superman are all very “cool” characters within this comic – it’s not making light of them, it’s embracing them, and that helps to make this such an impressive piece of stand-alone fiction.
And, of course, Dave Gibbons is absolutely amazing here – he makes EVERYone look good, he makes Superman look SCARY (which is hard to do), he makes Mongul imposing, he makes Jason Todd even look good!
If only Moore and Gibbons could have worked on another project after this one – who KNOWS how cool it could have been?
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