Superman: Peace on Earth
Author: Paul Dini
Artist: Alex Ross
Published: 1999, DC Comics
Pages: 61 (oversized softcover)
Superman needs no introduction.
Paul Dini has an illustrious history with the superhero genre. He worked as a writer, producer and editor on “Batman: The Animated Series” and was mainly responsible for the creation of The Joker’s delightfully twisted girlfriend, Harley Quinn.
Dini has since had many successful runs in various animated series’ and comics.
The above image is by Alex Ross. He achieved widespread acclaim after his collaboration with writer Mark Waid on Kingdom Come, a tale of an alternate DC universe featuring warring factions of superheroes.
Unlike most comic art, Ross’ paintings are almost photo-realistic, yet his subjects retain their larger-than-life nature. Critics have noted that his “static” or “too realistic” images make the characters less believable in a narrative, or convey movement awkwardly. This book contains no such problems.
“Peace On Earth” begins during a Christmas celebration in Metropolis. A member of the crowd collapses from malnutrition, and the incident inspires Superman to do something about hunger all over the world.
Armed with a donated grain surplus and Congress’s backing, Superman begins his globe-spanning war on hunger, only to encounter more obstacles than any one man—even a super-man—can overcome on his own.
Ross never disappoints with his beautiful paintings. The plot takes Superman to various, breathtakingly rendered locations. The size of the book is necessary to create a visual experience for the audience, and its short length also gives it a storybook-like feel, increasing the all-ages appeal. It takes the character seriously, but not in a grim or gritty way that authors do, so its accessibility and emotional resonance are the same for children and adults.
This book re-entered my thoughts throughout my service trip to the Dominican Republic. After seeing human desperation, Superman’s message of using what you have for the benefit of mankind struck a cord within me. This combination of events increased my interest in Superman.
The very action of reading the book ties in with Superman’s intentions: getting people to think about a permanent solution the problem of world hunger. Sharing this book with a young person may affectively get the issue across.
This book was surprisingly good. For its writing and art, it’s something to share with people.
In comic book stores everywhere…
For more information on how you and others can help fight hunger, check out:
Interfaith Hunger Initiative
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