cover image SUPREME: The Story of the Year

SUPREME: The Story of the Year

Alan Moore, , illus. by Joe Bennett, Rick Veitch and Alex Ross. . Checker, $26.95 (332pp) ISBN 978-0-9710249-5-3

No one understands superheroes better than Moore. This collection won him the 1997 Eisner Award for Best Writer, and shows he can still find fresh things to say about the nature of comic book superheroes. Supreme began life as an exceptionally violent Superman rip-off. Moore took over in 1996, jettisoning everything except Supreme's blond, muscular good looks and turning a copycat into an ingenious homage to the Superman archetype. This clever work retells the history of superhero comic books as reflected through Moore's retro drawings and superheroes modeled on characters and narrative styles from the 1930s to today. Suffering from amnesia, Supreme has returned to Earth, but must also return to his roots—his smalltown family, allies and bombastic enemies—to discover his origins. In his everyday identity, he's a mild-mannered comic book artist who draws a line of violent superheroes. As Supreme investigates his past, readers are treated to a delightful series of tongue-in-cheek flashbacks to revised versions of the Golden and Silver eras of comics. Supreme grows up in Little Haven, rather than Smallville; lives in Omegapolis, instead of Metropolis; and convenes meetings of the Allied Supermen, rather than the Justice League of America. Moore weaves a complex plot that leads to a startling, ingenious climax. He also offers his characters and readers moments of poignant self-discovery. In his superhero masterpiece Watchmen, Moore stressed the dangers of identifying with comic book heroes. This work is a much kinder look at the form, done with wit, intelligence and love. (Nov.)