You know you are a major fan, or geek, if you prefer, when you can look over an MSN infographic about Superman and find at least two errors on it.
After a few weeks of snow storms, delayed deliveries, and just not having anything to write about, the picks are back.
Just a few picks for this busy holiday week.
Superman #36 (DC Comics) – Ullysses has made an offer to the people of Earth. The first 6 millions who come to the landing spots will join him for a new life in another dimension. But, what is truly behind this magnanimous offer? Superman is in a race to find out.
Batman Eternal #34 (DC Comics) – It’s Batman versus Hush, and Hush has found a cache of Batman’s gear to use against him. Is this the final battle? Or is Hush just another player in this intricate scheme?
The comics are still in a bit of a drought, but there were a couple of good pulls this week.
First up is Batman Eternal #12. The trial of Jim Gordon has begun, and the former commissioner is visited by a surprise guest.
Next there is Superman #32. John Romita Jr. and Geoff Johns begin their run with Clark getting an offer to return to the Daily Planet, and the coming of a strange and powerful visitor from the doomed planet of… Earth?
Granted, for me, the biggest pull of the week was the release of the Star Wars X-Wing wave 4 ships. More on these once I check them out.
The Labor Day weekend is over. The kids are back to school. And we are in a new month. And, after last week’s Justice League #23, we are ready for a new week’s worth of comics.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
With the Fourth of July days away (as of this post), it seems appropriate to look at some of the patriotic heroes that have come from the world of comic books.
In his book Superman The Unauthorized Biography, Glen Weldon refers to Superman as, “… the hero in whom we believe. He is the first, the purest, the ideal.” And while Man of Steel is not the first (except maybe the first in a new string of Superman movies) it is as close to an ideal presentation of Superman on the big screen that we have yet to see.
Naturally, with most reboots, we are forced to revisit the origins of the character. In this, director Zack (300, Watchmen) Snyder and screenwriter David S. (Batman Begins) Goyer create a Krypton that is vastly alien to Earth, yet integral to the Man of Steel story beyond being where Superman comes from. It is not spoiler that Krypton is a doomed world, though the reason becomes one that the audience can relate to. And, as Jor-El argues with the council about how to save the people of this doomed world, others, namely General Zod, have other ideas. Through all of this, Jor-El is able to save his son, sending with him the key that will possibly prove to be the means of continuing the legacy of Krypton’s people.
The movie at this point becomes Kal-El/Clark Kent’s journey to what he will eventually become. He is a drift in the world, not sure of who or what he is. Unlike other versions of Superman’s origin, flashbacks clue us into his childhood, showing us how his Earth family helped and guided him along his path. Henry Cavill does an excellent job portraying Clark, unsure of himself and what he can do as much as he is unsure of his place in this world. This is not the perfect Superman we have seen in the past, but one that bears all the human traits that makes him that much more relatable to the audience. One thing still remains true about Superman in this movie: he will do what he thinks is right.
The other big change in this movie is how Lois Lane is presented. She is still the ever eager reporter, but she lacks the, well, for lack of a better term, blindness that we have seen in past Loises. For me, I liked seeing Lois put the pieces together for the story of a lifetime, then knowing when to pull back. Yes, there are still a number of the typical Superman saves Lois scenes in the movie, but she is less the damsel in distress than in previous movies.
The movie as a whole is epic, from the destruction of Krypton, to the battles between Superman and Zod’s minions. Yet, there is much of this movie that still brings it all into a smaller world that works very well for this movie. Though this is not a flawless movie, it still is the best Superman movie that has ever been made.
Honoring the Man of Steel, and the movie that was released this weekend, I present John Williams theme from the 1978 movie.
Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.
Lex Luthor (played by Gene Hackman)
75 years ago this week, Action Comics #1 hit the newsstands, introducing America and the world to Superman. Since that day, the Man of Steel has become one of the most recognizable comic character in the world, if not the most. And with the latest Superman movie set to premiere this summer, it seemed only fitting for me to look back at some of the great Superman projects over the years.
Think of it as a primer.
- The Adventures of Superman – A classic of television shows. I remember watching these in syndication as a child, never knowing the dark history that surrounded George Reeves. The series did not go in for the major villains, but it was still fun watching the Man of Steel break up criminal rings throughout Metropolis. The series is available on DVD.
- Superman cartoons – Heading way back to the era of the matinees, Max Fleischer created a number of Superman shorts that ran in theaters. Unlike the television show, Superman’s foes were more in line with the comics, facing mad scientists and robot monsters. These shorts are available on DVD and Youtube.com
- Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero by Larry Tye – This book covers the history of the Man of Steel, from his humble origins in the minds of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster to the legal turmoil that has plagued Superman in recent years. Tye’s book covers everything about the Man of Steel, including the radio shows, the Fleischer cartoons, the television show, and even the movies. Tye does not pull punches in this book as he reveals the behind the scenes drama that has accompanied the Last Son of Krypton over the years.
- Superman: The Movie – Directed by Richard Donner and starring a stellar cast, this was the epic tour de force for the Man of Steel, covering his origins right up to his clash with Lex Luthor.
- The Man of Steel – In 1986, DC Comics had just created a major restructuring of their comics universe with Crisis on Infinite Earths. In its wake, DC started to relaunch their flagship characters, updating them for the modern times. Written by John Byrne, The Man of Steel retold Superman’s origin for the 1980s, but did so much more. Gone were much of what had been created in the Silver Age of comics, making Superman truly the Last Son of Krypton. Even Superman’s long standing cast of supporting characters were revamped, from a modernizing of Lois Lane, to the transformation of Lex Luthor from criminal mastermind to unscrupulous (and untouchable) businessman. Much of what Byrne created in this series stood until later writers began to return many of the classic elements of Superman. But, this mini-series still remains a great read.
- Cleveland Declares ‘Superman Day’ To Celebrate The Man Of Steel’s 75th Anniversary (comicsalliance.com)
- Happy birthday, Superman! A look back at 75 powerful years (herocomplex.latimes.com)
- Cleveland mayor declares April 18 ‘Superman Day’ (robot6.comicbookresources.com)
- Superman At 75: Dan Jurgens Reflects On The Man of Steel (comicbookresources.com)
- Superman Turns 75! His Top 5 Screen Appearances (nerdist.com)
- It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a super-septuagenarian! (today.com)
- Happy 75th Birthday Superman And Lois Lane! (splashpage.mtv.com)
- Superman Turns 75! Here’s 7 Things You Didn’t Know About The Man Of Steel (radaronline.com)