“The outlook wasn’t brilliant for Mudville nine that day: / The score stood four to two, but with one inning more to play.”
Generations of Americans can place these lines as the opening for the classic “Casey at The Bat,” arguably the best sports poem ever written and still engaging the minds and hearts of fans young and old.
But who says there isn’t room for improvement? What if someone managed to snatch a spark of creative genius, throw it into the familiar poem, and breathe new life into it?
Writer Jesse Young did just that in his five-page mini-comic, Sunday at the Park. The comic was written in response to a writing challenge to write a five page story in which characters were placed in situations not normally associated with them. The characters? DC superheroes. The situation? A baseball game, DCU versus Marvel. And who’s at the bat? The man of steel, Superman. Can it really get any better than that?
Ernest Thayer’s poem is largely untouched by Young, and so manages to keep the original poetic spirit that so many know and love. The changes consist mostly of character names, like Flash Gordon, Green Lantern, Batman, and, of course, Superman. Other heroes, like the Hulk and Watchmen’s Rorschach, are also visible in the colorful artwork on the page.
Sunday at the Park is a perfect match of artwork and poetry. Each page is delicately balanced between words and pictures to give a both smooth and energetic read. It’s always fun to see your favorite DC character make an appearance in something new, whether it’s in the spotlight or just in the background. It’s also fun to see an old classic poem reinterpreted in this fashion, with heroes you really care about and root for in the field.
Of course, the best part is near the end. There is a wide range of humor and action as Superman steps up to the plate, growing more serious with each strike. Will he do it?
“Somewhere men are laughing, somewhere children shout. / But there is no joy for DCU, the mighty Superman has struck out.”
Definitely a classic. Jesse Young’s comic can be reached here, as well as his own account of how such a perfect story came to be.