Comic Book Reviews - Alan Moore’s Supreme: The Story of the Year Review
Category: Comic Book Reviews
Title: Supreme: The Story of the Year
Writer: Alan Moore
Artists: Rick Veitch, Joe Bennett, Alex Ross, Chris Sprouse
Publisher: Checker Book Publishing
Price: Out of Print, $13.99 Kindle Edition
Publisher’s Blurb: The acclaimed Alan Moore run of Supreme is collected in trade paperback at last! This is the first of two volumes, and contains Moore’s ground-breaking The Story of the Year arc in its entirety. Checker adds a never before published Alex Ross cover to create the supreme graphic novel of the season.
Review: Alan Moore supposedly “left” comics for a good while after 1988. While this was in reality going off to do some independent works such as A Small Killing, Moore was out of the mainstream for a while. By the time he got back in 1992 the world of mainstream superhero comics had changed. The Image Rebellion had begun and an age of grim and gritty comics began to dominate the market (and still partially do). Despite Moore and Frank Miller being credited for ushering in the Dark Age of comics for their respective work on Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, Moore (and Miller) both were quick to dismiss this ultra-serious dark tone to superheroes.
Moore quickly tried to rectify this with a mini-series called 1963, which was Moore’s tribute to Marvel Comics. While this was being written Moore was being approached by everyone at Image to write for their respective series. To everyone’s surprise he settled for working on Rob Liefeld’s Supreme. Supreme was a thinly veiled Superman who was more of a caricature of the Man of Steel who in 30 issues of Liefeld’s series had done nothing but be a psychotic violent version of Superman. Moore pulled the same trick he did on Marvelman/Miracleman, Swamp Thing and Captain Britain by having the character learn everything in the past did not happen. This time around though there was a self-awareness at changes being made in continuity. Moore quickly created an elaborate, intricate and fun new universe for Supreme where he was a meta-textual commentary on Superman and comics itself.
The meta-moments of Supreme seem a little overly familiar and cliché in this day and era, yet they work very well in being an entertaining commentary on the “brilliantly stupid ideas” as Moore puts it of 60s Superhero comics. The cynicism of Moore’s most popular DC Superhero work is not here, this tribute shows a man who loves superheroes. In fact Moore mocks himself as the alternate identity of Supreme writes the comic “Omniman” and has to deal with an obnoxious British comic writer named Billy Friday who wants to include rape scenes and killing the entire supporting cast.
Many have stated that this was the best Superman series being written at the time, and it still stands as one of Moore’s most pure fun series of all time.
It’s worth noting that the artist of the series is a revolving door term, as rarely does an artist return for more than one issue. Yet this isn’t as troubling as one might suspect because the majority of Supreme: The Story of the Year has Golden/Silver/Bronze Age flashbacks all drawn by former Swamp Thing artist Rick Veitch. Veitch’s talent as an artist is prominently displayed as the backstory Golden Age/Silver Age are lush reminders of how fun and charming comics are supposed to be.
Overall, it may not be the best work ever by Alan Moore, but it certainly some of his most purely fun comics ever written.