SUPERMAN is a character that I have never been able to be comfortable drawing. It’s one of the reasons why I only lasted (I think) 8 issues on ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN some 5 years back or so. I was thrilled to be asked to work on an iconic character like SUPERMAN at first. He was the FIRST superhero– and the greatest. His history is almost 70 years of constant publication– and he has been written and drawn by some of the most legendary talent in comics. There’s a lot to try to live up to when working on the Man of Steel….and I quickly learned that for me, it was ‘wrong time– wrong place’ with my run on AOS. What made me think of this was that I recently was flipping through a stack of old sketches of mine, and I came across many sheets of studies of the character I had done in preparation for my work on AOS. I’m struck now by the sheer amount of attempts/takes I was trying with the sketches to get a feel for ‘my’ version of the character. Nothing looked like it was working, and seeing them, I am reminded of the vague feeling of frustration I had in not being able to come up with my own ‘definitive’ look for the character. Part of that frustration was also that I felt like I was in Ed McGuinness’s shadow during that time. He had set the bar for drawing SUPERMAN at that point…. and I felt like I was being brought in to further that look– to perhaps be a ‘poor man’s’ Ed on AOS. I made the mistake of actually trying to play in to that feeling… and that didn’t work. By the time I’d finally started to feel a bit more comfortable drawing the character (and his supporting cast, natch)– I was at wits end with the quality of stories that I was being given to draw, and so I quit the book as soon as I could.

Part of me would like another crack at SUPERMAN some time in the future– but I think a bigger part tells me to stay away. All that history and all those expectations weigh too heavily on my mind with this guy. Chances are, I might never even get that opportunity– but I think that even if I did…. I’d have to think long and hard about whether to revisit that underlying weight and frustration. Perhaps some artists just aren’t meant to– or are right for– certain characters.

This is Entry 231.


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