December 19, 2008

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Superman: True Brit

Written by Kim "Howard" Johnson and John Cleese
Illustrated by John Byrne and Mark Farmer
DC Comics

Oh dear. This sure seemed like a good idea at the time. It's the kind of concept that could be "A Fish Called Wanda" good. Except that instead, it's "Fierce Creatures" bad.

Parodies are hard work, perhaps harder than writing the original material. Comics parodies are even harder to write. I'd argue that something like this should have only been attempted with Mark Evanier at the helm, or perhaps Peter David. Heck, they should have let John Byrne write it with John Cleese.

Instead, they opted for a Python fan and a Python Alum with no comics experience between them, and the result is a parody that mostly misses the point of Superman in the first place and tries to be all British, except that, well, being British doesn't automatically equal funny.

I'd really like to know how much Cleese was involved, because all his classic touches--bombastic officials, slow burns, and the like--are missing. It's like someone trying hard to be Python within the context of a superhero book parody, and failing miserably.

It's not helped any by the fact that Farmer takes John's absolutely great pencils and muddles the hell out of them with his fuzzy technique. That works great on someone like Cary Nord or Alan Davis, but not so good on Byrne.

In the end, this one's a failed movie that doesn't need a DVD release. You can pass.