Graphic Novel Review 58/365: Superman American Alien

Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days!

I’m excited to discuss a book that I could not wait to get a class set of last year!

Title: Superman American Alien   

Author(s): Written by Max Landis Art by a ton of peeps

Publisher: DC Comics (2016)

Age Rating: 17+

This week I’m doing more of hybrid review/classroom lesson planning ideas, and this book fits so well in the pocket you cloud call it (insert favorite quarterback name here…sorry, I don’t watch football).

Let me break down what this book is and how you should be using it in your classroom right now.  Superman American Alien is a seven-issue run written by Max Landis.  But what makes this run totally unique over other issue runs is that each issue has a different art team, assembled to mimic the tone of the writing.  One issue is dark, then another issue is happy, then we go to intellectually driven…the fun never ends!  I love this book: the art and the writing are brilliant.  I’m glad it came out in a trade at the start of last school year so I could teach it.  I will not be listing all of the artists on board with this book, and you should check them out, but I will say that the issue “Dove” that open the book is drawn by my man Nick Dragotta, and it’s stellar!  Here’s a little peek of Clark floating in air…still having not yet figured out how to really fly:

This book was destined to teach tone and mood!  Early on in my graphic novel semester, I use this book to show my students how artists can use line and color to depict tone and create mood.  We have the same writer throughout the trade, but the story changes immensely due to the art shifts.  We write about how the art and colors affect each issue differently.  And Landis also titles each issue with a different winged creature, so it’s fun to also discuss the meanings behind each title and try to link those discussions to the tone of each issue as well.

We get a 17+ here even with a DC Superman title because it does get a bit violent, and the back matter does contain a nude character sketch.  It’s nothing to worry about, and I’ve never even had a student point it out, but for that fact, I’d keep this book in the hands of upperclassmen.

This book gets my vote for the best thing I read in 2016, maybe even thus far in 2017.  I love it, and you should for sure by copies.  I have.  I give them out as gifts.  Did I say that I LOVE this book…?

Happy Reading!

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