One of my favourite comics at the moment has to be All-Star Superman. The writing is superb and done masterfully by Grant Morrison. Worth re-reading to get at the bigger contexts which he deftly puts in. The art supported perfectly by Frank Quitely.
Anyway, was intrigued with the interview given at Newsarama on his past plans concerning Clark Kent/Superman’s marriage with Lois Lane (NRAMA is for Newsarama and GM is for Grant Morrison):
NRAMA: Now, it’s one of the worst-kept secrets in comics that some years back, you, Mark Millar, Mark Waid and Tom Peyer put together a proposal for the Superman books. Has anything from All-Star Superman been taken from that original proposal?
GM: Very little, actually. I think there are a couple of little things that I re-used from there, but I can’t remember what they were. Maybe one of the climactic Luthor beats survived.
I kind of wanted to rethink the whole thing for All-Star, because the Superman Now! pitch from ‘99 was a very specific story, and we had a very specific plan for it, coming off the continuity that was in the Superman comics of the mid-1990s, All-Star, I think, is a purer vision of Superman.
I’ve read a few speculations over the years about how we were going to use that proposal to end the Supeman/Lois Lane marriage. In fact that was actually something we decided we didn’t want to do. I remember Mark Waid and the guys and all of us sitting around thinking of ways to end the Superman marriage – and we talked about it for a long time, and we got to where we were talking about things like “memory molecules,” and we finally said, “This is ridiculous! The only way to do this is to keep the marriage and make it work!”
It was the only thing we could do with what I still think was a bad idea. The marriage damaged the dynamic of Superman comics quite severely, but if we broke up the relationship of these two great fictional lovers, Superman would immediately seem ineffectual and ultimately beaten by his foes, walking around for the rest of his life not knowing Lois was ever his wife or whatever.
So we opted to keep Lois Lane and the marriage intact. It’s kind of an interesting reflection of what recently happened in Spider-Man, where they did choose to magically unmarry the hero to predictable howls of protest. Then again, I actually think they’ll be able to make that one work if they just grit their teeth for a couple of years until the new status quo becomes accepted, so who knows?
NRAMA: Why do you feel that, in a comic book, it’s sometimes harder to write a happy, stable relationship than it is to write about, say, the end of the world?
GM: Happy people don’t make good drama, basically, and the end of the world never loses its appeal. It’s why I don’t want too many people to get their hands on Animal Man, because he’s one of the last guys in comics who has a good family relationship, (laughs) and that’s really, really important to that character. So every time I see some new writer get a hold of him, I always worry that they’ll mess with Animal Man’s marriage. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened yet.
Sadly, it can be easier to write the girlfriend in the refrigerator or whatever than it is to write an actual loving relationship. (laughs)
I always suspected this to be the case. And yet it reveals a fundamental nature of marriage and family life. 🙂 It makes more sense when you read “The Puritan Family” by Edmund Morgan. Recommended highly by me.