Which stories inspired Zack Snyder's film?
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"Superman: Earth-One" (2010)
It may not have been all that well received upon release, but nevertheless, J. Michael Straczynski's modernized "Superman: Earth-One" story was a clear jumping off point for Goyer on "Man of Steel." The edict on the new film has been grounding (as much as one can with material such as this) the story into a sort of reality, which has been producer Christopher Nolan's vision of the DC universe ever since "Batman Begins." Here Straczynski depicts a gritty, "realistic" world as a hoodie-wearing, post-high school Clark Kent bounces from job to job and tries to square himself with who he is, as well as who he'll be. Much like Zod in the new film, the villainous Tyrell comes to Earth looking for Krypton's last son, threatening genocide if he fails to show himself. The military has a hand in things, an element lightly translated for the film, and the idea of a vagabond Clark living amongst society rings familiar as well.