Yup, still a huge Superman fan. No introduction needed here.
Since MAN OF STEEL is getting closer to to being released I’m seeing a lot of articles being posted about how Superman is lame, boring, out of touch, etc.
A while back on Reddit someone posed a question about Superman:
Do you guys think that Superman is getting less popular as the years go by?
Both topics are something that I’ve been thinking about for a while, now. Superman isn’t less popular or out of touch, it’s just that his comic books have been suffering from piss-poor writing for years.
I was talking about this with a friend and we couldn’t name one (canon) storyline in recent years that blew us away, or that we would tell a new reader that they HAD to read it.
Maybe the events leading up to and including the death of Superman. That’s all we could come up with, something that happened almost 20 years ago. It’s not even in current continuity anymore with the launch of The New 52 (it has been referenced that Superman had died at some point in the new continuity, but we haven’t seen it yet).
When I’m asked what Superman books people should read or hear other people answer that question it’s almost always the same answer. You’ll see All Star Superman, Superman for All Seasons, Kingdom Come, Red Son, etc. come up a lot, but not a lot of canon stuff (I guess pre-new 52 canon, now). Those books are all great. I love each one, however they are “elseworld” or “what-if” stories.
Ask me the same question about the Batman books and I could give you a laundry list of recent stories to read.
Superman is without a doubt my favorite character, but for the past 5 or 6 years the Batman books have been so much better (probably longer than that, but I’m relatively new to reading comics). Why is that? My friend thinks it’s Batman’s fault. He argues that the he gets all of the attention and great writers. I can agree with it.
Batman is an icon. And he’s really hot now, even hotter due to the amazing Dark Knight Trilogy from Christopher Nolan. But Superman is an icon as well. Surely there is someone out there with a great idea for a Superman story?
There are probably tons. But DC isn’t going to let it happen.
Why is DC killing Superman? Simple. They are petrified to show the MAN OF STEEL in any kind of bad light or even a shade of grey. Superman is the big blue boy scout, who does no wrong. He is the ideal that all heroes, and people, should strive for. Do the most good. Everyone can be saved, and if not I’m going down trying.
However, while over protecting Superman, DC Comics has done the opposite. They have sheltered him so much that there are hurting him. I see brief glimpses of great writing from Superman, only to then have it ripped away from us.
For example, there was a story line a few years ago called New Krypton. Superman’s home planet reborn? Over 100,000 Kryptonians inhabiting a planet so close to Earth? So many possible new allies and foes. But they dragged that story out for over a year (and removed Superman from both Superman and Action Comics) and it ended with a whimper. It could have been an epic story that, barring the reboot, could have created a stream of new and exciting stories for years to come. Such a huge disappointment.
Grounded followed New Krypton, was an interesting premise, and could have been a cool storyline. I really enjoyed the first book but it went to shit rather quickly.
Before those two story lines was an arc called ”Superman: Last Son” where a young Kryptonian boy crashes in Metropolis. He turns out to be the son of General Zod and Ursa. Lois and Clark adopt the young boy, who they gave the Earth name of Christopher. The story lasted for 5 books, and the boy ended up in the Phantom Zone, to trap his father General Zod. Bye bye, Chris. We hardly knew ye.
Why did DC do this? It would have been so interesting to watch play out over the years. Clark and Lois raising a young boy with the growing powers of Superman. It would have brought so much dynamic to Superman. So many untapped stories. How would Superman handle raising a son? A Kryptonian son who would some day have the same powers as he has.
So much potential, but we’ll never get to read it.
I’ve been bashing the writing on Superman comics, but in 2001 there was a really great story called What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice and the American Way? If you haven’t read it I can’t recommend it enough. There are a bunch for sale on eBay and they made an animated movie out of it, too. (If you’re only going to do one, read the book). I don’t want to go too much into it because I really want you to read it, but this story is the perfect story for the people who poo-poo Superman.
In this story, The Elite, a new group of anti-heroes emerge but they are the total opposite of Superman in that they have no problem with killing their foes. Superman tries to make them see the error of their ways, but fails. The world embraces The Elite because of their actions, ridding the world of terrible villains. I’m not going to tell you how the story plays out because you need to read it for yourself.
To me, the best Superman stories revolve around Superman’s humanity, as it were. That’s why a lot of the non-canon books are so good. They are not rooted in the mythology that DC has cultivated over the years (and then threw out two years ago and start to build a new one).
Superman Returns had a few great scenes that showed his humanity. I know that the general consensus is that everyone thought this movie was terrible, but it wasn’t at all. I will readily admit that it was no where near perfect, but I thought it was very good.
MAN OF STEEL opens Thursday night at midnight. Ali and I will be there. And several times after that. It’s only a few days away, now. I can’t wait.
I’m really hoping that MAN OF STEEL is as amazing as I think it will be. And I hope that the movie kickstarts a huge interest in Superman, and brings in talented writers with new and exciting stories to tell.
Superman has the recognition, and a huge fan base. DC needs to let Superman live. They need to take some chances with the Man of Tomorrow.
Superman deserves it.