SUPERMAN IS A LOVE STORY

Here is the link to this piece of art. Click

In December, 2011, I wrote this on my tumblr blog.  In honor of Valentine’s Day, I snatch it from my archives to present it once again.  See if anything has changed or things have gotten worse for the greatest comic book love story.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while. It’s just a continuation of questions I’ve had in the last three years of reading comics involving Superman. If you’re not sure why, please check out therearecertainshadesoflimelight’s eloquent articulation regarding a great panel from Superman #700 and the events that preceded and followed it.  Here

I don’t know what DC was thinking but I mentioned the lack of Clark Kent in the comics several times over the years on OSCK blog and in OSCK Magazine. (Maybe we should bring those back in a fight for our Superman — Operation Save Clark Kent is aptly named)

Did DC think we didn’t notice Clark and Lois were separated and Superman was not in Action or Superman comics for 2 to 3 years?

In an October Newsarama article, writer James Robinson confesses the World of New Krypton fiasco might have been better received if DC had not taken Superman out of his own books.  Here

So let’s not blame the scanty, emotionless, boring storylines DC Comics chose for the Man of Steel, let’s blame the marriage. That is the stance and mindset DC (Didio & Lee) conveyed as their justification for the reboot. Superman has had a hard reboot. Let’s call it what it is.

New York Times interview, August 31, 2011:

“Its latest company-wide overhaul has been almost a year in the making, devised in October (2010) at an editorial retreat where staff members were trying to create a love triangle for Superman, who wed Lois Lane in 1996.

Once the team decided it did not have to be bound by this marital detail, “we started talking about a lot of crazy, what-if situations, and out of that openness came the idea of renumbering the entire line,” said Jim Lee, co-publisher of DC Comics and an illustrator of the new Justice League series.”

From Newsarama interview, July 18, 2011, just before the San Diego Comic Con:

“We wanted to have that sense of isolation that might come with being an alien among men,” DiDio said. “The two choices that were made, with both his parents being dead and not being married, isolated Clark a little bit more, so that he really had to do more exploration about mankind. There wasn’t that one strong human tether that he was bonding with and learning through.”

I guess DC did not learn their lesson from World of New Krypton. The reason Superman oriented book sales plummeted = the isolation of the being with superpowers from those he loved and held dear including his persona as a journalist for the Daily Planet.

So now we have a designer comic in Action Comics with Grant Morrison writing. It was Dan Didio who approached Morrison.

According to Morrison fans, don’t bother buying individual issues of his storylines as they won’t make sense until the end of the arc. (This has proven to be true since he’s somewhat formulaic in his style, no matter how ’intelligentsia quirky and anarchic.’) Morrison was brought on because of his sales numbers not his love of the character. Superman is squashed through Morrison’s sieve of scientific meta and counter culture leanings. The result is unrecognizable as the Man of Tomorrow.

So basically we’re supposed to wait for the trade paperbacks otherwise we won’t be able to appreciate the ‘genius’ of Morrison. How this will help the fledgling DCnU, I can’t fathom. But maybe that’s the point. It’s very apparent the character of Superman has not been loved for a long time by the DC hierarchy. Batman has more than two of his own books a month; in fact, in any one month he’s in a dozen books. Not so Superman.

Today’s DC is very short sighted when it comes to Superman. Why they want to damage the icon that made the company what it is today is baffling.

Superman is a love story. That’s one of the reasons Siegel and Shuster’s Action #1 of 1938 was relatable to a wide audience. Clark Kent aggressively chased Lois Lane as much as Superman pursued crime and injustice. This is the Golden Age Morrison supposedly extensively researched. Yet, we are not getting any love story in today’s Action Comics. Clark has no real love for Earth, Metropolis, the Daily Planet or Star, or Lois Lane. In fact, he has no loving spirit at all. It’s all rebellious bluster and impetuosity.

Superman is a character of great heart. He loves people, no matter what planet they’re from. His upbringing by the Kents was a foundational one, so much so it can be seen even without Jonathan and Martha’s presence. They nurtured his natural loving heart and keen mind. We are getting none of this regarding his character in Action Comics. We definitely see the isolation Didio spoke of in the Newsarama article – as if Superman had been hatched just before arriving in Metropolis.

In the Smallville Retrospective Season 10 commentary, Danny Fingeroth, longtime Group Editor of Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man line, short story writer in Superman 80 Page Giant #1 (1999) and author of Superman on the Couch: What Superheroes Really Tell Us about Ourselves and Our Society had this to say about the Clark/Lois/Superman iconic love story.

“In Smallville, Lois and he [Clark] have a real, romantic relationship in an era of fragmented families (when 50% of marriages end in divorce) the fantasy of having an actual romantic relationship that works is something that appeals to a viewership that comes from a fragmented society.

Whereas years ago, when everybody (whether they were happy or not) got married and stayed married, the fantasy of being free and single was the fantasy so that Superman would never commit.

The idea of Superman being, living happily ever after with someone now becomes a part of what people find appealing in the character.“

Listen up, DC. Fingeroth’s point is today’s comic readers NEED Superman to give them hope and something to aspire to. Young men (DC’s target audience) CAN relate to a story about loving someone more so than being genetically ‘raped’ and not knowing you have a young son who’s been trained by assassins. (Damian Wayne was introduced into continuity in 2006 by Grant Morrison’s Batman stories.)

Does DC need any other evidence of that point than Smallville’s two to three million (or more) a week ratings? What if only a percentage of those viewers bought Superman comic books? The sales numbers would be astronomical. DC’s Superman reboot attitude towards young Clark Kent and Superman is denying this character of his audience by ripping his heart and spirit from him. He does not have hope in his heart or a heart for people.

In other news, someone loved Siegel and Shuster’s Action #1 (1938) so much they paid $2.16 MILLION dollars to own an original. Will Action #1 (2011) ever see that distinction? Nope.

Clark’s love should be shown in the DCnU. His love of all beings, the Earth, Metropolis, and Daily Planet should be apparent in comic panels. And even more essential, readers need to see how he found the love of his life in Lois Lane.

Every incarnation of Superman has shown compassion and wit within its pages. New 52 Superman fans miss this A LOT. George Perez, a man who celebrates his own marriage on his fan page, had a burgeoning foundation of these elements in the Superman titled comic. He is leaving the book after issue six.

In this month’s Comic Shop News (free) featuring the cover of Superman #5 (by Perez), George states, “I was asked to do Superman based on stuff that I had done before; however, since it was a total relaunch, I didn’t recognize the character and feel as close to him as I had hoped I would, because it didn’t seem like my Superman.” (George Perez has experience with reboots. He was the artist on Marv Wolfman’s Crisis on Infinite Earths.)

Mr. Perez, we’re very happy you didn’t completely recognize the new 52 Superman because we didn’t either. Your book, Superman, is the only book keeping Superman the real deal, alive. It gives us hope, we’ll be seeing our Superman soon.

Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen are picking up Superman with issue #7 and as loyal readers can tell you. They understand who Clark Kent is, who Superman is and why Lois Lane and their love is so very pertinent to this mythology.

Superman is a love story. And who doesn’t love those?

_________________

Recently a former Superman writer no longer with DC Comics said there was no mandate.  But even from the casual observer, they realize there is a mandate to keep Clark/Superman and Lois apart in the new 52.  It’s gone on for 18 months as orders for Action and Superman plummet month after month.  Without the human component (Clark Kent & Lois Lane) in this iconic story, you are missing out on the dual identity and the triangle-for-two — the cornerstones of what made this mythology beloved and enduring.  Not to mention SUCCESSFUL!

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February 14, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Announcements, Baudy's Reviews, BaudyBlahBlahBlah, Superman. Leave a comment.

BABIES IN REFRIGERATORS. A STEP TOO FAR?

DC Entertainment has no shame.  They have gone from killing women as a plot point, to now killing  babies.

In Injustice: Gods Among Us, Superman finds out his wife, Lois Lane, is pregnant.  They both want this child.  Joker has other ideas.  He’s in Metropolis, not Gotham City.  Kryptonite is missing from STAR labs which only Batman knows about.  Scarecrow has had some of his mind gases stolen.  Guess who!  Joker kidnaps Lois and puts a remote for an explosive device on her.  Superman realizes he can’t see Lois.  He implores Batman to help him.  The Justice League is called in.  Superman finds his wife with Joker and Harley Quinn on a submarine. Superman then sees Doomsday.  Since Lois was unconscious for the surgery, there was no means for her to call out to her husband to let him know he was hallucinating.  Superman takes pregnant DoomsdayLois into space and after Batman yells at him, he realizes he has just killed his wife and baby.

Joker mocks the pregnancy as the loss of Lois’ life blows up Metropolis killing millions.   Superman becomes a tyrant.

This is a digital-first comic and a video game created by the Mortal Kombat people for DC Entertainment.  The author of the comic has said this was the worst thing he has ever done to a character he has loved.  Writers gotta eat.

This is not a one off, in fact, if fans had thought about the road DC Entertainment (organized in 2009) has gone down with Superman – this is the ultimate for them.  He is definitely a battling alien.  No human connections.  And as a tyrant, he has to kill.  No one rules over billions without some deaths along the way.  That’s reality.  And DC Entertainment is definitely going for reality with this game/comic – a bleak, nihilistic world where a beloved, once-morally-stellar hero is twisted into a killer.

Dan Didio and Jim Lee were officially made Co-Publishers of DC Entertainment on February 18, 2010 replacing Paul Levitz who was President & Publisher of DC Comics.  Levitz stepped down from his post in September, 2009 to serve as the Contributing Editor and Overall Consultant for the newly formed DC Entertainment.  Didio and Lee probably took on their publisher roles long before February, 2010.  Later that year at a “writer’s retreat”, the new 52 was born but was not implemented until August 31, 2011.

Jim Lee was/is the Executive Creative Director for DC Universe Online.  There was a video game called DCU Online Legends with an accompanying print bi-monthly comic.  More about that later.  Lee was integral in the development of Didio’s reboot of the DC Universe into the New 52.  He designed Superman’s new Kryptonian armor sans red panties but with a collar.  Lee is also the creator of Mister Majestic, a mockery of Superman created in the Wildstorm universe.  Lee thought a powerful alien should not be held back by a moral core or relate to humans.  Mister Majestic wears a collar – and Lee said the collar made Superman look more ‘majestic.’  The new 52 Superman has been alienated with no human connections.  He is currently “dating” Wonder Woman after a HUGE promo of this lightswitched bullship in Justice League, written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Co-Publisher Lee.  At the writers’ retreat of 2010, it was decided to put Superman in a love triangle – and then the ideas just flowed.   (like piss, shit or vomit?)

Jim Lee, Dan Didio, Geoff Johns and Bob Harras probably gave the green light for Lois Lane and Superman’s baby to be killed, making him the ultimate battling alien and killer.  Is it a step too far?  Do they truly know Superman and what he means to generations of fans?  Do they care?  All evidence would say they don’t as they have systematically have been destroying Superman for years.

Clark Kent has been gone for years.  No journalist (or blogger) stories.  He’s barely on the page.  It’s the battling alien all the way.  From World of New Krypton (2009), Grounded, Flashpoint, and the new 52 – Superman no longer has the dual identity inner conflict or personhood.  He has to battle every villain from every age and new ones to bide his time.

Lois Lane has suffered, too.  With Clark’s human side absent, she has paid the consequences.  Since Flashpoint (August, 2011) masterminded by Geoff Johns, Lois has been fridged five times.

In Flashpoint: Project Superman, Kal-El’s ship does not land in Smallville (meaning no Clark Kent), but Metropolis.  Eventually a young Kal and Lois Lane meet.  She leaves such an impression on him he seeks her out when he escapes his underground cell years later.  Fans appreciated the ‘cliche’ line in this panel and not so much the clichéd statement in the other panel.  True refrigeration.

loiscliche

flashpointsuperman

“It takes a sacrifice to birth a hero” must be a mantra in the halls of DC Entertainment.

Superman Beyond (#0 issue in August, 2011, now a digital-first series) and Earth 2 (May, 2012) both had Lois’ death pre-story.  In Superman Beyond, we assume she died of natural causes as Superman has gray hair.  In Earth 2, she was killed by Darkseid.  Also in James Robinson’s Earth 2 series, Superman dies in the first issue (maybe).

In the DCU Online: Legends comic book series, Lois also dies.  It debuted on February 2, 2011, and was an expansion of the story of the DC Universe Online MMORPG video game.  The series was written by the game’s story co-writer Marv Wolfman and Tony Bedard with Tom Taylor penning issues 16 and 17.  Yes, the same Tom Taylor that is writing Injustice: Gods Among Us, but Lois died in issue 14 (August, 2011).  Superman didn’t become a tyrant, he flew off in anger and grief to return later to help save the day.  Marv Wolfman did give us a happy ending even though we never saw Lois on panel again.  With the help of Luthor and the Justice League, they played a time reversal card to make it all better.

To show you how Superman’s story and the DC Universe has changed, I give you these panels.  Lois and Superman have both been infected by Brainiac (with the help of Lex Luthor).  Superman is unable to control his powers or his mind because of it.  When kryptonite caged by his friends in the Justice League, Lois, Superman’s wife, gives them all a pep talk.

DCUO lois love

Those days are gone.  Love is gone.  Hope is gone.  And with the latest incarnation of Superman in a video, the universe is a dark, gritty, bleak place where gamers play for hours.

Superman is no longer a light amongst the darkness – he’s been drug down to our level.  Not a boy scout or a champion of the oppressed – but he makes a damn fine tyrant, don’t ya think?

At this time it is not known whether or not Wonder Woman will be Superman’s main squeeze as they rule the world.  She’s taken sloppy seconds before in Kingdom Come and may not be his number one pick for a mate in the new 52 even though DC Entertainment is spending money hand over fist to make it so.

Let’s talk a little numbers, shall we?  World of New Krypton when this battling alien with no human connections idea became prominent.  Superman was not in Action Comics for two years and not in the Superman book for one year while this went on.  DC Entertainment.  March, 2009 had the highest amount of orders with 50,048; lowest amount of orders 32,407 with its last month, February, 2010.  Next came Last Stand of New Krypton, three issues (February & March, 2010) with an average of 36,215 orders.  Which lead into the War of the Supermen (remember there were 100,001 Kryptonians flying around), 4 issues with an average order of 44,669.   The WONK series brought in a whopping [sarcasm] 39,667 per issue orders with its run.

Superman returned to his book with Superman #700.  He also returned to his wife, Lois Lane after the big war.  Orders were  67,571.

But then Superman decided to go on walkabout in his red undies.  Not much Clark Kent until the quick cleanup at the end of the series before Flashpoint.  Superman #701 (July, 2010) had 54,506 but Grounded finished with 35,919 orders.  An average of 42, 956 over its run.

Superman finally returned to Action Comics continuity (after a 2 year absence) in #901, May, 2011 and ended in #904, August, 2011 with an average of 41,407 a month.   By this time the new 52 was announced and the Kent marriage walked off together into the sunset.

Let’s go back to more current history.  The new 52.  Superman #1 and Action #1 were released in September, 2011.   In October of that year, Action had 153, 855 orders and Superman with 94,233.  Grant Morrison decided not to go into the present timeline after six issues and has extended his run through #18 of March, 2013.   In December, 2012, Action had 61,298.  The largest drop (60.16%) of orders over the time span.   Morrison was touted as the big draw to the book, not Superman.  The Superman book ended 2012 with 51,225, a drop of 45.64%.

The Superman Unbound animation which is being developed is based on Geoff Johns Brainiac (Action 864 through 870) series of 2008.  Superman was in his tights mostly.  Clark was not being a journalist, but he was the son of a farmer.  Johns killed Jonathan Kent in this series.  Alienation and Refrigeration!  The Boyz of DC Entertainment.  Then the following issue of Action #871 brought the New Krypton stories in Action for a year minus Superman/Clark/Kal-El and the next year was the Lex Luthor Action series.  On Free Comic Book Day, we will receive part of the Brainiac story.   The average orders for the Brainiac series were 50,169 per issue.  Not as large as Morrison’s worst month of new 52 and only slightly worse than Superman’s December, 2012 numbers.

Let’s take a look at some numbers where Clark Kent was a journalist/reporter/blogger (as well as Superman).  George Perez wrote the new 52 Superman in issues #1 thru #6.  He left the book not knowing what editorial was going to keep of his story.  DC Entertainment has problems with creators staying on.  The new Superman book has had 4 writers on it so far.  Issue #1 was not only the foundation of the present time Superman mythology but Clark wrote a story for Daily Planet – used via narration boxes.  We have not seen that since.  Average orders for Perez’s new 52 run (just counting #2 thru #6 since September 2011 was a fluke) were 76, 842.  In his run, we saw the dual identity and the triangle for two.  Not so much now.

Action Comics #1 published in the Spring of 1938, had Superman leaping around bringing a criminal to justice and exonerating an innocent from execution.  As Clark Kent, he asked Lois Lane for a date, yet again and took her to a speak easy.  A mobster interrupted their dance and while Clark remained mild mannered, he didn’t protect his oppressed dance partner.  Never mind.  Lois can handle herself.  She slaps the mobster and gives Clark what for.  Leaving in a cab, the mobster collides with it and kidnaps Lois.  Superman appears to save the day and bring the bully to justice.  He whisks Lois away into the Metropolis night.  Clark Kent and Superman are one and the same.  They cannot be dissected.  He needs his whole story – and as we have seen under these people within DC Entertainment, as his numbers go down, fans won’t get their whole Superman back until they are gone.  The current DC Entertainment’s  vision of Superman is myopic and they don’t deal with his heart and spirit.

In 1938, the world was on the brink of yet another world war and in the middle of a financial depression.  Superman was an inspiration to our ancestors.  He showed them they could be their own Superman and save their world if they only take action.  He righted wrongs.  He stood up for the downtrodden.  He was a man who could fly (eventually).  He had a heart and a true love – a woman with Chutzpah, an analytical mind and a strong will, but with a good heart.  They were loners and yet when together, they became a whole.

In 2013, the world is in and out of wars (mostly in) at the drop of a hat and we are in a worldwide financial crisis.  Where is our Superman?  Where is our hope that things can get better?  Where is our inspiration that leads us to aspire?  He’s alienated and can’t relate to humans.  He has to fight aliens and psychotic villains.  He’s not like us in any way.  He’s powerful and majestic.  He doesn’t assimilate and isn’t proud of his human upbringing.  He’s an emotional coward.  He lives in so many altered states, alternate worlds and alternate timelines – he doesn’t know who he truly is and neither do the people who read his books.   So why bother spending money on them?  Many have quit and are not likely to come back.  Trust has been broken.

We NEED a Superman.  A better Superman than we are being given by DC Entertainment.

We still haven’t seen what Andy Diggle will do in Action or rather what he’s allowed to do since his first Action issue has been moved to #19.  Scott Snyder will be writing the Man of Steel book.  He may have more freedom since he has had success with the Batman book (Didio’s fav character!).  The Man of Steel movie appears in June, 2013.

But just imagine you’re a Superman fan.  A beaten and battered Superman fan with a gun pointed at you, because it has been torture to see what the Boyz at DC Entertainment have done to the original superhero and his mythology.

scionlois

Now imagine you’ve been told someone new is going to come into the room.  Should you be excited (with a grain of hope) or do you expect the worst?   Or do you become so numb, you just don’t care.  Something you have loved has died and something inside of you has died, too.

Where is Superman?

Recently DC Entertainment saw fit to cancel Superman Family Adventures, a book for Everyone about Classic Superman.  This monthly book of joy will no longer exist after April, 2013.  DC Entertainment does not feel it necessary to build a fanbase of younger readers so they will keep on reading comics throughout their lives.  Wise business sense?

In April, DC Entertainment has deemed their books ‘WTF certified’ – again younger readers needn’t bother.

In March, Kevin Sujihara will become the CEO of Warner Brothers Entertainment over movie, television, DC Comics, and other businesses.   Since 2005, Tsujihara has been President of Warner Brother Home Entertainment which included home video, digital distribution, videogames, anti-piracy, and emerging technology operations.  Paul Levitz, while President/Publisher of DC Comics worked with Kevin Tsujihara within the company.  Mr. Tsuijihara would have been involved with Smallville DVDs (a moneymaker), Timm animations, digital distribution, and video games involving Superman.

He’s a new person in the room.  He has power.  Should Superman fans hope?

Or did all hope die with Lois and Clark’s baby . . . the most disgusting thing called entertainment many people have ever seen.

It takes a sacrifice to birth a hero – isn’t it about time the Boyz of DC Entertainment make a sacrifice of themselves (their control, their egos, their jobs)?

February 1, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Announcements, Baudy's Reviews, BaudyBlahBlahBlah, Superman. 4 comments.