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.

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