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What is Superman’s shorthand secret?


A slight chance of pace from the usual social media stuff (unless you consider this old post about how Twitter can make social media types feel like Superman) but if you’re interested in good stories – or codes for that matter – read on.

(Normally we do blog posts as audio, but not this one – no reason to not subscribe though!)

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I consider All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely with Jamie Grant to be not only one of the best Superman stories ever but one of the best and defining graphic novels/comic books of the last 100 years. (It also has one of the best gags ever by naming a characher Bar-El, which is the nickname for Glasgow’s most famous prison).

It takes the essence of a character and presents an emotional, honest and engaging story without resorting to cliche or melodrama (If you think writing a good Superman story should be easy, clearly you haven’t read enough of them because it’s something the best writers throughout the years have struggled with, often resorting to drastic measures to have even a half-decent tale.). For everyone who thinks that you can’t always find a new take on an old idea, go get it now (of course, anyone serious about storytelling in any medium should be a fan of Morrison’s but that’s a rant for another day).

Anyway, I’ve raved about it in the past in previous sites and I’ll review the film for The Thumbcast podcast – and I’m going to put some of the finest moments below as well – but I was watching a review copy of the adaptation of the book and there’s a scene where we get to see Superman’s shorthand – and I think it’s a gaffe because┬ámost US reporters don’t learn shorthand – even teeline (which is what that is) – they just drop vowels from most of their notes.

But here you go: a prize of a bottle of Whyte & Mackay to the person who posts in comments the best translation of this screengrab from the film…

And here’s some of the finest moments from the series. For those who can’t wait for The Thumbcast, the movie – in which Superman is voiced by Mike the plumber from Desperate Housewives – is good but it’s not a patch on the book.

This little run from (I think) part 8 takes place over a few pages and is incredible:

Then a few pages later…

Then…

And from the tear-jerker where he gets to see his father one last time…


The page that probably sums up Grant Morrison’s philosophy in general:


And the meta moment that just nails it.

1 Comments
  1. Some translation suggestions:
    Like skegs dry. Department conspiring *something* garden, the smug face growing. Tell the truth. Design to lose the video/VDU existence.*something* Damn message is long.
    hahaha

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