The Fauxmance: Corporate Icon Merger?

Act9soldout

This panel is from the new 52 Action #9 by Grant Morrison.  Always the rebel, the Scotsman may have been giving us insight into corporate decisions and what they can do to beloved legendary characters.  Almighty dollar!

Back in late 2009, DC Comics began to change into DC Entertainment.   Paul Levitz was no longer President and Publisher and DC Comics was placed under the Warner Brother film division.  Diane Nelson was made President of DCE and President & Chief Content Officer of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) (Can you say Superman kills his wife & child in Injustice: Gods Among Us to make him evil?).  In early 2010, Dan Didio and Jim Lee became Co-Publishers of DC Entertainment.  In October, 2010 there was a editors/writers retreat where decisions were made about Superman for the new 52 reboot.  Marriage was out.  They found the boy scout difficult to write since he probably would not resonate with their perceived target audience (males 14 to 34 years old).  And why not have the Kryptonian in a love triangle?

Some ‘bean counter’ somewhere in Warner Brothers or DCE must have come up with the idea.  “Hey, let’s put two of our icons together, it’ll make double the money, right?”   Old Mother Hubbard Batman had enough problems with trying to make any changes in his story for the reboot.  He has so many children, DCE didn’t know what to do with them.  So they gave most of them books of their own while they buried others (mostly females).  So that left Wonder Woman with Superman.   I state it that way because of the Trinity of DC Icons, Wonder Woman sales are not as extensive as the other two.  And there was that failed television series everyone was counting on.  Since DC Entertainment now has their fingers in all the pies as far as their characters are concerned, perhaps they felt coupling Wonder Woman with Superman would raise her Q Score, especially with Man of Steel coming to fruition.  (A Q Score is a measurement of the familiarity and appeal of a brand, company, celebrity, or television show used in the United States.  Very big on the West Coast, like Hollywood & all that.)  Nelson has stated Wonder Woman’s mythology is complicated and problematic for film fare. (Utter tripe!  Xena Warrior Princess, anyone? a Wonder Woman knockoff)

So the idea of creating the fauxmance could have been just a simple merger of icons by the corporate types.  Anyone who truly understands the individual mythologies would know the romantic relationship wouldn’t work.  The popularity of the characters is based on their decades of stories and interactions within their own mythologies and supporting characters.  But someone in power without that understanding of the characters could force such an event to happen.  The problem with that is, it damages the individual characters involved.  So as fans, we get told, Superman is not himself.  He’s younger, cockier.  He’s not the boy scout (you might want to see).  His parents, who practically raised him from birth, died (when he was in his late teens).   He’s alienated and needs to fight constantly.  No secret identity needed.  Besides, he’s not the flagship anymore, Justice League is.  (Justice League movie is THE end game mindset for corporate . . . to hell with everything else.)

During the August, 2012 lightswitch big corporate media bomb by Jim Lee and Geoff Johns, when asked about Lois Lane, they said it wasn’t about Clark and Lois but the entire DC Universe.  What fan cares about the whole DC Universe?  None.  Corporations do.   It’s all about the money not character development!

Early on, corporate could see the fauxmance would not be an easy sell.  CBS Good Morning America completely rejected it and basically chastised Wonder Woman as the other woman (calling her a homewrecker).  While DCE allowed Diana to be touted as the sexy sidekick since she had been chasing Superman since 1988.  The new 52 reboot was barely a year old, and yet they mention to a reporter some kind of pseudo-history from Post Crisis?  With the mindset that all controversy is welcomed and all publicity whether damaging or otherwise is good for business, DCE forged ahead.  The fauxmance had been conceived nearly 2 years earlier and was now born – out of fear and loneliness.  Isn’t that what Superman and Wonder Woman have always been about?  Fear.  Loneliness.  Not hope or honor or truth or justice or freedom.

If Brian Azzarello hadn’t pitched for Woman Woman immediately after hearing what DCE had planned for her in the new 52 (probably Superman’s girlfriend and only that), Diana would not have her mythological world explored.  Brian seems to have made a deal.  No fauxmance in his book.  Orion was pitched early on for the Amazon princess and we see that relationship developing.  The time table has been dicey since they had a ‘crossover’ in the Superman book with Diana and Orion, but Wonder Woman was supposed to go to Apokolips last Spring.   The new 52 is an enigma unto itself.

For almost a year, previous to the corporate icon merger announcement, Superman fans experienced a Clark wishing things could be different after knowing Lois for five years.  Lois got shoved behind a desk as a producer, but eventually she was made a reporter again.  But Clark left the Daily Planet to become a blogger because he didn’t like the infotainment he thought Lois was cranking out over the airwaves.  And also the fact that she was moving in with her boyfriend of nearly four years.  The four or five previous years of story has been few and far between.  Wouldn’t it show why Superman is the way he is at the moment?  Well, yes, it would, but they’re doing the fauxmance right now.  DCE probably doesn’t want readers to react like the GMA folks did.  So Superman is rarely Clark Kent.  He’s not connected to the Daily Planet anymore.  He’s got no connection to Lois Lane (except they have red-hot chemistry if they ever are in a panel together).  So he battles aliens or monsters in space or underground.  OR, he is in a multiple timeline story with psionic or head/emotion raping villains who create alternate realities.  The days of making Superman/Clark Kent relevant to our world are gone.  He’s got a fauxmance to be in.  And everything is evil now in the new 52.  Okay, so it’s been evil from the get-go, but now it’s being advertised as Forever Evil.

Diana being a wonder and Clark being a super may appear to be a match made in corporate nirvana, but it isn’t.  It’s pretty bland stuff unless you toss in some heavy hentai so the fanboys can whack off.  DCE hasn’t seemed to be willing to go there yet.  Especially since they found out their readership was 98% loyal or returning readers and only 2% new readers.  What they haven’t admitted yet is that their female readership is not only 7% but actually well above 20%.   Those numbers don’t jive with their perceived target audience and so DCE has done some snail’s pace scrambling.

Two of the biggest icons DCE have are in a ‘team book’.  The fauxmance, DCE’s great idea to raise Wonder Woman’s awareness isn’t exactly a success.  A number 1 issue of most new books, but especially decades old characters, usually sells above 100,000 prints.   There are people who buy #1’s for the novelty or perhaps for the perceived investment of owning a #1.  But the fauxmance (as it will be called until it actually becomes a team book) only had not quite 95,000 orders.  A #2 issue usually sees those numbers fall dramatically.   For example, Scott Snyder’s Superman Unchained’s sophomore issue was a drop of 34% in orders.  But every time that book is published, it is #1 on the Diamond Distributor monthly chart.  Seeing the fauxmance book drop to 62,700 for its second issue would not be unusual.    The key is to find the leveling off point.  How many consistent, loyal readers does it have?

The new 52 reboot is being touted as a success, but unfortunately for Superman his namesake book and Action Comics (the one that started it all 75 years ago) have fallen below the 40,000 mark.  Quoted as being a sink or save line for a book, ESPECIALLY one of the big 3 at DCE.  Obviously the battling alien with a wonder of a girlfriend isn’t working especially when Clark Kent is person non gratis.   There is no more triangle for two – the most unique (and highly successful) love story in fiction.  Pretty much gone is the dual identity for the alienated Kryptonian who could hurt humans at any moment.   So what does DCE do?  Double down on the fauxmance.

Since April, 2013, Superman fans were awaiting DCE’s great plans for Superman/Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s 75th anniversary.  Since Scott Snyder decided he wanted to do a Superman story, he went to Dan Didio who referred him to Jim Lee.  (Don’t get me started on what characters the West Coast has control of, I think it’s obvious)  If Snyder hadn’t done that, there would be no Superman Unchained to ‘celebrate’ the 75th anniversary.  Unchained is not exactly within the new 52 ‘continuity’ and that is evident as Lois Lane is key to the story.  We actually see Superman’s supporting characters developed.  No restraints.  The fauxmance doesn’t exist in this book.  Sadly, Snyder is only in for nine issues which may end in April, 2014.   When fans are given Superman mythology they recognize, it sells and sells well.

Jim Lee made an ‘off the cuff’ remark to a question about Lois Lane being on a cover of Unchained.  He asked the fan if she thought a Lois Lane cover would sell.  She stated she did and would buy several.  (<– see money!)  He then said that they had considered putting Lois on a cover with Jimmy and Perry.   Big hint:  NEVER PISS OFF A LOIS LANE FAN!  Like their fav character, they can turn into very effective ball busters in a split second.

Hearing that Lois Lane’s 75th anniversary was about to be ignored, a twitter campaign was scheduled.  Lois Lane fans from all over the world participated including actresses who had portrayed her in film and television as well as comic creators who had written and drawn her.  A whopping success #LoisLane75yrs trended for hours.   Soon after, fans saw not just 1 but 4 Unchained #1 covers having Lois Lane on them.  Then Lois Lane: A Celebration of 75 Years was announced, to be released along side her soulmate’s anniversary book on November 27, 2013.   Apparently DCE ‘caved’ to Lois fans or more likely they saw despite what corporate thought about the character, there was money to be made.

Superman fans who have been clamoring for more Clark and Lois in the books will only get half that, but that’s what they’ve been getting for almost 5 years now (looking at you, WONK).   Superman: Lois Lane #1, a one-shot, will be published in February, 2014.   Written by Marguerite Bennett with art by Emanuela Lupacchino.   This doesn’t mean Lois fans are going to rest and wait.  We want the true Superman mythology, and all that entails, well established in the new 52.  Meaning, a Lois Lane series of her own or Lois playing the key role in Superman and Clark Kent’s life.  Sooner rather than later.

Despite what corporate may want, it’s what sells that counts.  And isn’t that what it’s all about?  Getting the story and characters right.  Making the fans ravenous for more so they’ll spend their money.  Is it so hard to write Superman, Clark Kent, Lois Lane in a great story?  It was possible in Action #1, 1938.  Scott Snyder has proven it’s possible in Superman Unchained.  Digital firsts like Smallville Season 11 and Adventures of Superman show on a weekly basis, it’s more than possible.   Creators have left the DCE because they couldn’t write the story first, not without someone standing over their shoulder wondering how it would look on film.  Some have even left because of the push for the fauxmance.

Grant Morrison left DCE stating he was done with writing superheroes (and perhaps, the corporations who legally own them).  He authored 19 issues of the new 52 Action Comics.  And how did he end that run?   With Clark Kent dressed in his Kryptonian armor petting Krypto while talking on the phone with Lois Lane.

DCE needs to get their heads out of their asses about Wonder Woman.  Bryan Q. Miller in his recent Smallville S11 episode, OLYMPUS, was more than able to present both Superman’s and Wonder Woman’s mythologies beautifully.  He writes comics AND was a television writer on SMALLVILLE (also did an episode for ARROW).   Hello!  Got talented, creative people with proven records!  Not rocket science!

Also the new 52 Superman needs to grow up.  His immaturity on so many levels is repelling fans.  He’s down right spiteful at times!  Where is his heart?  Where is his love of humanity?  Did the Kents have any effect on him at all?  Or must he continue to be the battling Kryptonian Eeyore?

Right now in the new 52, the neverending story is . . . a one-dimensional yawner strapped in a straitjacket by corporate, who wants to make a film before the story is finished.

Happy frickin days!

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November 20, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Announcements, Baudy's Reviews, BaudyBlahBlahBlah, Superman.

2 Comments

  1. Bob replied:

    Kyrptonian Eeyore! :D:D

  2. La Criolla (@megax454) replied:

    excellent article, i didn’t know how to express my Disappointment with the new 52; now i can all thaks to you leleycarter.

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