This year, the original superhero Superman is returning to the big screen in next month’s blockbuster-in-waiting, Man of Steel. Coincidentally, Superman is also celebrating his seventy-fifth birthday, since it was three-quarters of a century ago that he first dazzled the world by lifting a car over his head in the first issue of Action Comics from 1938. Today, as announced via the Hollywood Reporter, Superman’s two homes (Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Comics) are celebrating this milestone by officially branding all products featuring the Man of Steel with a logo calling attention to how long he’s existed.
The branding effort also coincides with an in-house animated short film to be released at a later date (most likely when Man of Steel will hit home media at the end of the year). The short, spearheaded by Man of Steel director Zack Snyder and DC animation guru Bruce Timm, is described in the official announcement as follows:
Snyder envisioned one continuous shot, without edits, that’s an homage to the Man of Steel and his many iterations over the past 75 years: Max Fleischer’s cartoons, on-screen portrayals by George Reeves and Christopher Reeve, iconic versions drawn by artists Wayne Boring, Curt Swan and Neal Adams, on up through Henry Cavill’s interpretation in Man of Steel.
I’m personally really looking forward to seeing this, especially if rendered in 3D. Seeing those classic artists’ interpretations evolve into the best live-action versions of the character will be nothing short of thrilling to Superman fans though, regardless of how it ends up being animated. An animatic version of the short film is slated to premiere this year at Comic Con International in San Diego.
Pushing things forward even further, DC is releasing the first issue of a new, ongoing Superman series the same week that Man of Steel will premiere in theaters. Titled Superman Unchained, the series is written by comic book superstars Scott Snyder (American Vampire, Batman) and Jim Lee (Batman: Hush, Justice League). The cover of the new series will now feature the 75th anniversary logo on the primary cover as well as all of the variant covers.
So, what’s the underlying goal of this endeavor? To keep Superman in the spotlight for the rest of the year, long past the release of Man of Steel. I’m of the mind that the film will create new interest in the original superhero, because it will be the first time a mass audience will be able to see what the modern Superman looks like. After being labelled everything from a fanboy to an apologist, it’s great to see the full weight of one of the major movie studios behind Superman for the first time in a long time, and with the buzz surrounding the upcoming film, I’m very eager to see what the future holds for the World’s Greatest Hero.
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