Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Max Landis' The Death and Return of Superman

Max Landis, son of director John Landis, is the writer behind the recently released Chronicle, a film about three high school friends who get superpowers and "make an amazing discovery." I haven't heard anything about the movie but its synopsis isn't exactly inspiring, and when I saw the trailer I initially thought I was watching an old ad for either Hancock or Heroes. Those are both bad signs. However the movie seems to be doing relatively well critically so maybe it's better than it looks. I'll probably check it out. But none of that is what I'm posting about today.

In (what I assume is) a move to support Chronicle, the younger Landis has released a short film in which he rants about the (apparently terrible) mid-90s comic series The Death and Return of Superman. In case you need the painfully obvious pointed out to you, it's a comic wherein Superman dies and then comes back to life. Because he wasn't already being compared to Jesus enough already. Anyway, the Death and Return storyline is generally panned as being emblematic of everything that was wrong with modern comics in the 90s, namely that they relied on big crossovers/events that shocked people into buying issues that lacked actual substance. So in the video Landis breaks down how terrible this Superman storyline is, point by (hilarious) point, and also discusses the underlying comic-industry-executives rationale behind the whole event. Meanwhile various celebrities (Mandy Moore, Elijah Wood, etc) act out what Landis describes in a similar fashion to the always incredible Drunk History videos.

If you've taken the time to read this far into the post then for your own sake please take 15 more minutes to watch the video below. It's hilarious, insightful, and kinda made me want to check out Chronicle. Also I promise to make this my last post about comics for a while, it's only now dawning on me that there have been a lot of them lately.



  1. Awesome. My bro collected a bunch of the death and re-/births of the Superman/men at the time, but I'm sure they're worth less than their cover price now. Also, I think Mark Landis neglected to mention that Steel was played by **Shaq** for a movie adaptation, which is perhaps the most ridiculous part of that character.

  2. I'd bet they're actually worth a bunch if they're in good condition! I never read Superman but I was big into Batman (as you can probably tell from my recent posts) and I got all the comics in a series called Knightfall. It followed the Death of Superman event by a few months and basically pulled the same stunt with Batman, only the didn't kill him they just broke his back. Also the introduction of the new villain was a little less shitty. Anyway, the point of all this is A) I wish I still had those comics, they'd definitely be worth something, and B) Max Landis did another video about Knightfall years earlier, I think when he was in college. It's predictably much rougher but worth watching if you enjoyed the Superman video:

  3. I hope Superman stays dead. Nice page.