Monday, July 25, 2011

The Superman Project

The Superman Project

As you may have noticed, I have been talking about the big shake ups in the DC universe lately. Well, nothing I have said will get you more frustrated than the Big changes on the way for Superman and a much of it seems to be, big surprise, a retread of the silver age.
- Clark Kent and Lois Lane not only unmarried, but established that they were never married in the first place. Clark will be a bachelor, and Lois will have a new boyfriend, one whose identity is yet to be revealed but is said to be a Daily Planet colleague.

- Superman's alien origins will be emphasized in a big way, with the character described as "more Kal-El from the planet Krypton than Clark Kent from Kansas."

- Jonathan and Martha Kent are both dead

- Action Comics will see a "younger, more brooding" Man of Steel adjusting to his adopted homeworld. His powers are still in development at this point, as he "can leap tall buildings but can't fly in space."

- In Superman, a new status quo at the Daily Planet and a new gig at the paper for Lois Lane.

- Also in Superman, Perez will show that "there's a price to pay for being Superman" and debut a brand-new villain, "one said to be more powerful than the Man of Steel."

- New suit is "traditional Kryptonian armor", year one outfit is exactly what we saw on the cover to Action #1, complete with hilariously tiny cape.
Who the fuck wants to read a Superman that is more brooding? He'll be more alien than human, his background in Kansas is downplayed and he's no longer married to Lois. I was cautiously optimistic until now, but fuck it, I'm done with this book and this character.

Of all the things that I came across during Comic con, of all the news stories and announcements, I'm left trying my damnedest to think about who this amount of change to Superman could appeal to as far as casual and non-readers. In the past decade, the two biggest exposures Superman had to people who don't read comics were Justice League cartoon and Smallville.

Smallville is downright iconic at this point in the mainstream, for better or worse, and doing everything exactly the opposite of it seems counter to their goal of getting mainstream readers. I mean, fucking green arrow's costume change is due to his recognizably and popularity from Smallville. That should tell you how stupid this whole concept of changing Superman around is.

Being Clark Kent from Kansas is what makes Superman interesting. He's this God-like immortal alien, but he's also extremely humble and human because of the way he was raised. He's the opposite of Batman, where Superman is the mask and Clark is the real person. Don't let any stupid Tarantino Kill Bill speech fool you. Clark Kent is the real person

And yeah, this is being written by the same guy who wrote All Star Superman. But maybe that's why it feels like an even bigger slap to the face. Morrison is a great writer but that doesn't mean these changes to the mythology are objectively better.

Besides that, All Star Superman was a story about a demigod. We never saw Clark Kent's apartment, there's no indication in that story that he doesn't just leave work and put the tights on for the other 16 hours of the day. And while that can be an interesting angle in limited doses, I think it's exactly the wrong way to take Superman as a franchise. Especially considering most people's complaint that he's too powerful and too hard to relate to.

If anything, All-Star is as much a validation of that stupid Tarantino speech as anything else. Luthor points out that Clark isn't a real man, a real person because of Superman, that Lois doesn't notice the man because of the god in blue tights. Lex Luthor should not be in the right in a Superman story and that's all I have to say about that bullshit.

Everyone who uses the "Morrison will handle it well" are forgetting the fact that this carries over into Perez's Superman. If you're arguing that in Morrison's hands this is a good thing, that's fine. But do you feel the same about the same changes being dumped on other creators who aren't Morrison nor have Morrison's special powers to create awesomeness.

So having one or two good Morrison created Superman arcs isn't that special when you've completely destroyed back stories and back stories. It just ends up like seeing Christopher Nolan announce he'd suddenly jumped on to direct the next Kevin James movie with talking animals.

You're still working with crap. And while I'm every much as a fan of Morrison, I simply can't divorce that list of shit Superman lost in this retcon from what sounds like a horrible idea. Maybe I'll be proven wrong and the book will be as good, if not better than All Star, but that took a book that I was on the fence about and pushed it right the fuck off into the no-read zone.

Wouldn't you think that if a significant amount of the audience wanted a more alien Superman, that Martian Manhunter would have a long running solo series. But let's see what's happening with Superboy in the reboot.

Oh for fucks sake. Really? REALLY?! Fuuuuuuuuck!

So what does the great DiDio and Lee have to say in an attempt to damage control this mother fucking announcement? Well, let's find out Why?
"We've made Superman such an iconic figure over the years that we've lost some of the character and the ability to tell stories with that character," said Dan DiDio, co-publisher at DC. "There's so much continuity that's been built on this character. We really wanted to get a Superman that is more accessible to the audience."
clearly they are getting rid of the marriage to make Superman easier to relate to.. You know, like how we can now relate to a brooding alien.. How about the subject of the marriage being gone?
"Marriage brings about a certain degree of comfort and security in one's life," Lee said. "If you have a life partner, you always have someone to rely on. So from a story conflict point of view, it makes for a less dramatic story. I think a lot of writers can agree that one of the most dynamic periods of Superman's history was that period where there was a love triangle between Clark Kent, Superman and Lois Lane. There's a lot of tension and interest you create in the characters by having that kind of dynamic."

But Lee said the new Superman will not be just revisiting the same old love triangle. "We're introducing other elements into it," he said. "Through that, we're really updating who the character is and making Superman a character that you think you know, but maybe not. We have some surprises up our sleeves. And I think Grant has some incredible ideas about not only what he wants to do with Superman but Clark Kent, and really updating the whole mythology so that people can relate to it on a more personal level."
How about the fact that they're making Superman a loner now..
"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.

"He's had so much learning and understanding from the days with his parents, but the rest of the discovery is on his own," DiDio said, confirming the Clark will have been guided as a youth by the Kents, before their death. "If we had him married to Lois right now, he would always have a strong base to work from. We wanted to explore much bigger and wider stories with him. It's really the learning and growing of this character that is going to be the basis for so much of what Grant and George are going to be doing with their series and with Superman."

And lastly, confirming what we already knew, why they're choosing to reboot him entirely:
DiDio admitted that one of the motivations for rebooting Superman was the fact that the last time it was done — by John Byrne in the mid-1980's after Crisis on Infinite Earths — the Superman comic was a huge success.

"It was done once before, and very successfully," he said. "We're hoping for the same luck here."

God damn, I had a feeling all of these changes are simply due to an unknown combination of "Let's go back to the silver age" bullshit, protection against Siegel/Shuster lawsuit and a general DC idiocy. And even if this a Morrison book, nothing about this feels like this was born out of an actual, genuine creativity thought process in bettering the character.

Killing Ma Kent is a huge mistake. As is the whole going back to more will-they-won't-they bullshit between Lois and Clark that we're getting reset to. Yeah, they say she'll be with a new boyfriend but we all know that's not lasting more than a story arc or two before we get back to that stupid love triangle.

To be honest, I couldn't give a shit about the marriage being gone. I'm really more pissed at the notion that "Both of Clark's parents are dead" then the loss of a marriage that has had no affect on story telling and that I constantly forget they are actually married at all. Him losing both parents a of much more significance than Lois Lane dating someone for 3 issues before she inevitably ends up pining over Superman again.

And while I realize in his original appearance he had two dead parents, the fact remains that he had to have had a good upbringing with them, so I don't get where the fuck this whole brooding alien bullshit is coming from.

The whole "Superman is the real personality, Clark is the disguise" is the complete opposite of the immigrant concept upon which the character was founded on. Now, instead of a strange visitor adopting our customs and ultimately becoming one with our society, we have a strange visitor who is only pretending to join American society while secretly holding on to his alien past. It's like a Fox News version of a Terrorist Superman.

But hey, Found yourself saying "I really want a 1,216 page hardcover collecting every first issue of the new 52"? Got $150? Then DC is about to make your dreams come true:
This September, DC Entertainment is making history by launching 52 #1 DC Comics issues starring the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes. To commemorate this milestone occasion, DC Entertainment will be releasing DC COMICS: THE NEW 52, a massive hardcover collection that collects every single one of these debut issues. Hitting stores on December 7th just in time for the holiday season, this 1,216-page compilation will sell for $150.00 and include such issues as:

• JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee
• ACTION COMICS #1 by Grant Morrison and Rags Morales
• BATMAN #1 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
• GREEN LANTERN #1 by Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke
• SWAMP THING #1 by Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette
• STORMWATCH #1 by Paul Cornell and Miguel Sepulveda
• TEEN TITANS #1 by Scott Lobdell and Brett Booth
• And 45 more!
Fuckin' DC. I just have no words for you anymore.

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