All-Star Superman is considered by many to be one of the best stories about the Man of Steel ever written. An impressive fact considering it was almost entirely inspired by some random dude dressed like Superman who just wanted to chill.
For anyone who’s never read All-Star Superman or seen the animated film version, just imagine the exact fucking opposite of Zack Snyder’s uber-depressing take on the character.
All-Star Superman basically takes all of the dumb stuff and criticisms about Superman and owns them while simultaneously doing what few Superman stories have been able to do before and make a story about an invincible, all-powerful hero interesting. The comic does this not by giving Superman someone stronger to punch, but by exploring what it means to shoulder the kind of responsibility that comes with being a nigh-omnipotent alien god-king who can solve all the world’s problems in an instant. It shows that Superman understands that the idea of Superman means a lot to people and uses that to help however he can, whether it’s visiting bald children in hospital …
Or comforting a suicidal teenager girl …
In a sense, the comic is a celebration of everything Superman stands for – truth, justice and the American way – and goes to great lengths to show that the Man of Tomorrow is human, albeit one with the ability to slap suns out of orbit and fire lasers from his eyes.
Since its release the comic has gone on to become one of the best reviewed Superman stories of all time and it all started with this image.
According to Grant Morrison (the writer of the story), that image was the genesis for the whole comic, specifically a guy he saw sat just like that at Comic Con dressed as Superman. Morrison and his editor, Dan Raspler happened upon this man and were immediately filled with the realisation that everyone who’d ever drawn Superman had gotten the Man of Steel all wrong.
It dawned on the pair that this unnamed dude just trying to get his chill on encapsulated everything that Superman embodied, specifically that a man with god-like power and no ability to be harmed wouldn’t give a fuck about anything. As Morrison would later note, “If nothing can hurt you, you can afford to be cool“.
With this idea in mind, Morrison went right ahead and wrote All-Star Superman, which went on to, as noted, become one of the greatest reviewed stories about the hero ever written. And it can all be traced back to that one guy at Comic-Con who just wanted to catch some rays before heading back to the show floor to pose for photos with the 80 people there dressed as Deadpool.