For your enjoyment is my free-to-read, 68-page comic “Superman Versus Cancer,” which I was compelled to create this year to speak out against corporations exploiting cancer fears and patients. More is explained in the book’s introduction, pasted below.
The benefit of posting it here in the Millarworld forums is that my fellow comic readers and creators might enjoy its merits as a good Superman yarn, as well.
The complete comic can be accessed here: http://www.pdf-archive.com/2016/08/16/superman-versus-cancer-by-stephen-sonneveld/ and click on “Download original PDF file.”
Thanks for reading,
Why I wrote SUPERMAN VERSUS CANCER
I didn’t begin 2016 intending to write this story.
Like so many families, my friends and loved ones have been rocked by this terrible disease throughout the decades, this year included.
However, this story was not meant to be a tribute to the past, but a rallying point for the now.
It seems every time I turn on the television, the radio, or scroll through the Internet, I am being bombarded about cancer. I am being advertised this disease in every media form.
I am constantly, repeatedly, with fear dressed as hope, being sold an industry of misery, and this disturbs me.
I am disturbed by the arrogant inevitability within these advertisements. “You WILL get this disease. And you will follow along with the program.”
We are to be content with the ubiquitousness of cancer and its many causes; this ancient menace that has been exasperated by the environmental ruin wrought by the continued, sociopathic carelessness of big business, and a food supply replete with chemicals, toxins, antibiotics and hormones. The focus is rarely on finding a cure for those problems. As a matter of fact, millions of dollars are spent every year to convince us those aren’t problems, at all.
Earnest attempts at awareness, prevention and research have been overshadowed by, for lack of a better phrase, a “medical-industrial complex” that is more interested in selling magazines, corporate branding and exploiting the disease and it’s sufferers, than by helping to find “the cure” that will upend this entire cottage industry.
The lads at the comedy podcast OSW Review went on a tangent about a certain breast cancer organization, and I include that link below because it crystallizes the problem in priorities, and the lack of accountability, in this millennial trend of corporations either posing as charities, or setting up charities to be additional revenue streams.
Millions of dollars donated every year, and we have magnets, T-shirts, wristbands, and knickknacks to show for it.
It’s 2016. Forget the flying car. Where’s my cure?
The comic itself was written in May and June. By July it was penciled and inked, because even a crudely-drawn comic is more fun to read - and easier to follow - than a comic book manuscript. By August, things were being wrapped up in Photoshop.
A cloud of tragedy, loss and anxiety has hung over our fragile nations in 2016, and, as humankind does, I looked for comfort in our myths, visiting my old pal Superman through DVD and comic book adventures. Though you enjoy it, your writer’s mind begins to wander; how would you do it different, has this ever been done, etc.
One of the major conceits in the comic book universe is that a roster of super-geniuses can create anything in those mirror Earths. Yet, to my knowledge, no one ever created a cure for cancer.
I had no intention of writing a character I did not own the intellectual property to, but my building discontent at Cancer, Incorporated’s barrage needed a positive outlet, and coalesced with these ideas about Siegel and Shuster’s brilliant creation.
As George Lucas disarmingly found out, there comes a time when the art no longer belongs to the artist, but the people. Not in any legal sense, of course, but an emotional ownership takes place once the art becomes part of our inner lives.
A song, a book, a character, whatever old friend it may be, we can sit at the campfire and tell stories about them, because we know and love them so well.
So, Damn it, I thought, our greatest hero was going to get to the bottom of this. If nothing else, there now exists a full-page close-up of Superman looking at us and demanding, “Cure. Cancer.” Maybe other artists will draw the same, of Superman or the legends that inspire their imaginations, or of the loved ones that inspire their lives.
Shaken out of our frozen, fearful complacency and empowered by our heroes, we must change this world.
SUPERMAN VERSUS CANCER by Stephen Sonneveld
68-page comic, black and white, ink on paper with Photoshop finishes, 2016
Free-to-read PDF available NOW at:
and click on “Download original PDF file.”
Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
Superman and related characters are property of DC Comics, used for portfolio purposes. No rights claim is made.
Date of first publication: August 24, 2016, www.s-sonneveld.tumblr.com