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Superman: A Rant June 26, 2010

Posted by Skippy in Comics, Rants.
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I am a Superman fan. Have been since, oh, about 1976 when my grandmother bought me my first Superman comic book. She had bought me a Batman comic the week before, but it was the Superman comic that had me hooked. You can be a fan of Spider-Man or the X-Men or Batman all you want, but at the end of the day, it is Superman, the granddaddy of superheroes, who, in my book, stands head and shoulders above everyone else.

So when I read that J. Michael Straczynski was going to be brought on board to write Superman comics in the aftermath of the “New Krypton” storyline, I was somewhat…perplexed. His comics writing is, shall we say, uneven. For you non-comic reading folks out there, Superman’s life of late has been a bit complicated. Long story short, 100,000 Kryptonians survived the explosion of Krypton, came to Earth, left Earth and created their own planet in our solar system. Superman went to live with them for a year, shit happened, New Krypton blew up, the remaining Kryptonians went to war with Earth, were defeated, leaving Superman and Supergirl the only surviving Kryptonians once again. Anyway, this is where Straczynski is going to take over. In Superman #700, we got a teaser of his upcoming “Grounded” storyline.

It sucked.

And now we get to the point of my blog title, “Superman: A Rant.” So, for at least ten issues (until Action #900), we’re going to see/read Superman walking across the country.

Yeah, you read it right: Superman will go on a walkabout. Here’s the storyline from the horse’s mouth:

“Because Superman is a symbol of hope, I wanted folks to have a chance to bring Superman into their town, into their neighborhood, in the pages of the book,” Straczynski says.

“You have to remember that when Superman was initially created, his fights weren’t against vast interstellar forces. They were against criminals preying on the average guy,” Straczynski says. “Superman was created to be the ally of the average American, the guy who didn’t have lots of money or friends in high places.”

Thanks for the mini history lesson, J. Michael. Here’s something else, J. Michael—-Superman didn’t go on walkabouts in 1938! What kicks all of this off is Superman feeling down in the dumps. He’s brooding because a woman came up to him and blamed him for her husband’s death. You don’t believe me? Here; I scanned in three pages of this nonsense for your perusal:

So, on the first page of this clusterfuck, Superman is telling the world that, in the aftermath of all this New Krypton business, he realizes people won’t necessarily trust him–after all, his own people nearly destroyed Earth. But he’s gonna get back to work…protecting humankind. Y’know, that’s why we call him “Super”man and all that, right? Well, that’s not good enough!

No, Superman protecting humankind is most definitely NOT good enough, because this here woman needed Superman to do some shit that she surmises he could have done. Well, Superman? You weren’t there to save this special snowflake’s husband! Oh, the shame of it all! Forget those other people who’ve died in car wrecks, or also had inoperable brain tumors—-no, fuck them! This special snowflake is special and you were supposed to use your X-ray vision and heat vision to…wait a minute. This crazy cow would let a guy who doesn’t have a medical degree operate on her husband?

Now, instead of telling Mrs. Special Snowflake to go get a grip, get her ass into therapy and deal with her shit, Superman looks at the picture thrust into his hand like he’s mentally deficient. After having shat all over Superman, Special Snowflake runs away, hopefully to go throw herself into the nearest river. And what does Superman do? He flies away, with his cape between his legs.

He thinks that he’s “out of touch” with humans—-never mind the fact that he’s married to a human and works among humans (by the way, isn’t it odd that he can be gone a year and not lose his job at the Daily Planet?). No, he’s decided because one person has a fit of hubris the likes of which would make Khan Noonien Singh say, “Daaaamn, gurl!”, he’s got to go walk across America.

Give me a fucking break, please. Yes, Superman is a symbol. Yes, Superman is supposed to fight for the downtrodden. I know all that and that’s part of the reason I love going to buy Superman comics. That’s part of the reason I saw Superman Returns…well, let’s just say “a lot.” That’s part of the reason I will always love Richard Donner’s take on Superman in Superman: The Movie and Superman II. That said, I’m sick of every hack writer from JMS to Bryan Singer turning Superman into some broody, melancholy, whiny git. Leave all that crap to Marvel Comics and Spider-Man. Leave the angst to Batman or the fucking X-Men. And if I wanted to watch some idiot go on a cross country walk to get over his angst, I’d fucking watch Forrest Gump. I want to read Superman doing super things. Fighting Darkseid or Lex Luthor or Parasite or what have you.

Here’s another part of the problem: I’ve read comic writer after comic writer say, “Writing Superman is hard.” Bullshit. Writing Superman is not hard—-you’re just lazy and used to conjuring up crap for your lame one-powered super heroes to slog through. Ask any Marvel fan what they thought of the recent Spider-Man story arc where Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson’s marriage is dissolved. JMS was partially responsible for that comic abomination, so who knows what Superman’s going to have to deal with on his walkabout.

And the final point of my rant is this: I am sick of comics companies getting “hot” writers and then doing stunt storylines. This shit started with “Crisis On Infinite Earths,” but that was pretty much lightning in a bottle. Now, you’ve got idiots who write for “Grey’s Anatomy” doing shitty stories for Wonder Woman and flash-in-the-pan sci-fi writers like Straczynski polluting over 70 years of the Superman mythos with his self-indulgent reading. I hope I’m wrong; I hope this “Grounded” storyline actually has Superman in action, as opposed to being a broody bastard, but given DC’s track record with the Man of Steel of late, I hold out very little hope.

Fig. 1: I am so sick of this shit.

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1. The Obligatory Year In Review Post « The Skippy Review - January 3, 2011

[…] Summer was awesome. I didn’t do jack shit this summer except go to a couple of “workshops” (academics LOVE workshops), sit around and play video games and read comic books before I realized I was pissing away too much money on shit I didn’t really like anymore (see: previous rants about Superman in the comics). […]


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