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All-Star Superman: The Cartoonening

On February 22nd, All-Star Superman becomes available on DVD. It is based on the Grant Morrison / Frank Quietly miniseries of the same name. It stars James Denton (Desperate Housewives) as Superman, Christina Hendricks (Firefly) as Lois Lane and Anthony LaPaglia (Without a Trace, though I will always remember him as Barry the Blade in The Client) as Lex Luthor. There's a trailer and more pictures after the jump.

Bruce Timm was so kind as to have his birthday during our All-Star Superman week, so we talked to him about the film:

Tell us a little bit about the movie.

It was the toughest adaptation job we've done because, to me, a big part of the charm of the comic was the way it looked. I just love [Frank Quietly's] artwork. We knew going in that it would be difficult because he has a really different, almost a European kind of style. It doesn't look like typical American superhero comics. So it was tough. It took quite a lot of R&D before we came up with a design we felt reflected the comic but was still animate-able.

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Are Quietly and Morrison are involved with the film? Only tangentially. Quietly is doing the artwork for the cover of the DVD, and Grant did a commentary for the DVD.

How hard was it to condense All-Star Superman? Fortunately I didn't have a whole lot to do with it. The idea to do All-Star Superman came up years and years ago. At that time, as much as I love the comic (and I truly do love the comic, it's one of my favorite comics,) I looked at the comic and thought, "Wow, it's so episodic. I don't know how we're going to... It doesn't have a beginning, a middle, and an end..." So I really couldn't see how to do it. But then a couple years later it came up again, and we thought "Let's give it a try." Fortunately we hired Dwayne McDuffie to write the script, and without any guidance from me or Alan Burnett, he just kind of -- on his own -- took a look at the comic and figured out what to cut. He turned in his first outline and we went "Well, yeah. That feels right." There were certain episodes from the comic that I would have loved to see animated, but they didn't fit in to the overall arc that Dwayne had picked out. So some of my favorite things in the comic aren't in the movie, but if you didn't know they were there, you wouldn't miss them. You watch the movie and you think "Yeah, it's all there that I need to have."

What's your rate of involvement on All-Star Superman? I'm involved always at the beginning with the director and the producer. Discussing what the visual style's going to be, in casting, and I'm always there at the voice recordings, and the tail end when we do the edit and the post-production. A lot of the steps in-between, approving all the individual models and all the individual storyboards I leave up to the director. In a way I have it great because I don't have to do the day to day stuff, and they don't need me to, so I really can't complain. I get to do a lot of the fun stuff, like be in the editing room with the editor and the director, which is my favorite part of the process, the whole post-production part of it. With All-Star Superman, I was involved about the same as usual. With Doomsday, that was the first one and I had a smaller crew so I had to do a lot more with that one, but with all the other movies it's been about the same; steady.

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Comments (1)

The character designs are a bit more angular than Quitely's art, but they look pretty good.