Tagged with "Superman"
The State of Comic Book Marriage Tags: Superman Lois Lane Flash Barry Allen Iris Allen James Bond 007 Tracy.

(A tip of Brian's Bowler to Kelly Guentner for inspiring this on the Super Friends Facebook page)

This week, DC Comics announced that in issue twelve of Justice League of America, Superman and Wonder Woman would become an item.

As usual, the more vocal members of fandom gave Chicken Little a run for his money, volume-wise.  The usual "threats" of boycotts, blasphemy, and Ragnarok-level global catastophe ensued.  Of course, the declarations from the people who've decided they may pronounce how much of a "true fan" you are (to find them, they will post that "everyone" agrees with them) insist that Superman, DC Comics, and the funnybook publishing field in general is even more ruined than ever.

As Tom DeFalco (former Marvel Comics Editor-In-Chief and currently writing Superboy and Legion Lost for DC) used to say, "Give unto me the break."

Have you ever heard of "The Tracy Bond Syndrome?"  In On Her Majesty's Secret Service by Ian Fleming, uber-spy James Bond falls in love with Teresa "Tracy" di Vicenzo and marries her.  However, Fleming didn't want to deal with the idea of 007 being true to one woman and not getting to flirt with as many women as possible in future novels.  So at the end of the book, Ernest Stavro Blofeld gets his revenge on Bond by murdering Tracy en route to her honeymoon.  Problem solved.

For years, many staffers at DC Comics complained that having Superman married to Lois Lane limited the story possibilities for the Man of Steel.  Meanwhile, some of the Super-books' writers made some decent stories out of Clark having to reveal his dual identity to his fiancee, the problems with having to balance a home life with one's crime-fighting career, and actually being Superman and getting caught wearing a  wedding band.

A similar problem faced the creative teams behind Spider-Man across town.  Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada openly declared his abhorrence towards Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson being married.  He did cite, to be fair, that being married to a supermodel actress kinda took away from the "loser" vibe of the classic versions of the hero.  However, the two characters would periodically split up, get back together, dispute over Peter's life choices, and even face complications when trying to start a family together. 

To end the Parker's marriage, Quesada plotted and pencilled a serial called "One More Day."  In this, Peter's double ID has been revealed to the world.  As a result, his Aunt May was shot by a criminal and while Peter scrambled to get medical care for her, Mephisto appeared to Peter and Mary Jane.  In exchange for their marriage, their very love for each other, Mephisto promised to make the world forget about Peter's revelation and to heal Aunt May.  While Peter schemed to find a loophole in the bargain, Mary Jane sealed the deal, vowing that their love would simply rekindle later on.  With that, Mephisto rewrote history so they were never married, just living together, and didn't recall the deal they'd made.

This story was met with a critical (and sales) backlash.  In fact, I've only bought ONE issue of The Amazing Spider-Man since.  Despite the best efforts of some great creative people, I will not support a comic that portrays the institution of marriage is a creative dead end, that allows a hero an easy out by GIVING UP, and that portrays Mary Jane (one of the more progressive female characters in the Marvel Universe) as the weak one in the relationship (despite her rationalization),   I understand why it was done ... but I don't have to support it and I don't waste time and energy bitching about it.

Back to Superman.  As a result of the Flashback event, the entire DC Universe has been rebooted.  Many of the mainstays of the DC Universe are now in their mid-20s.  Among other obvious changes to the earlier DCU, Barry Allen is no longer married to Iris and Lois Lane is a colleague and supervisor to Clark Kent, nothing more.  And now, Kal-El and Diana will be more than friends, probably with "benefits."  This, of course, raises the hackles of some people.

Big bleepin' deal!

At various points in time, Clark Kent worked as an anchorman for a Metropolis TV station, dressed like someone gave him a key to a Men's Warehouse, rekindled a romance with Lana Lang, could only activate his powers when he imagined a lynx, lost his powers to a sand creature, wasn't Superboy, wasn't an orphan, was a member of the Justice Society of America, wasn't a founding member of the Justice League, wore his Underoos over his costume and needed a belt to keep them up.

Superman... heck, ALL comics ... they function under what Stan Lee used to call "The Illusion of Change."  So what if Peter Parker stops working for J. Jonah Jameson?  In two years, he'll be back (and has been).  In the '60s, Wonder Woman lost both her super powers and Steve Trevor.  By the Seventies, she got them both back.   Bucky Barnes has been dead longer than he's been alive ... BOTH times.

It always changes back.  Always!

When John Byrne announced the changes he planned to bring to the Superman legend in 1986, I wasn't very happy.  I didn't mind letting anyone within shouting distance know either.  But when I'd complain that his adoptive parents would be alive again and who knew HOW the Legion of Super-Heroes would be inspired, the usual reaction was, "That sounds interesting.  I'll have to pick it up."

So instead of warning people off, I became part of the advertising campaign ... and I was working for free!  But once I accepted that no one at DC was going to change just because I resisted it, I got to read some really, really good stories.

I suspect when someone preaches to the choir about Wonder Woman and Superman checking in at the local Days Inn, ten people are going to make a mental note to buy Justice League #12 when it hits the stands.  Way to control the damage, people.

It's great to care about the characters.  I know I do!  But STUDY the history of comics.  Become a more educated consumer and DON'T FALL FOR THE HYPE.  If you did, you'd know that DC actually announced this BEFORE the New 52 hit the stands.  To paraphrase Heath Ledger, why so SURPRISED???

If you are as vehement about the changes as you claim, send Dan DiDio and Jim Lee a note.  Don't just complain on Facebook in a forum where you KNOW they won't read it.  Show a minimal amount of guts and try to affect some change because really, isn't that what a real superhero (like Superman) would do?

And as history shows, everything changes back.  Clark went back to The Daily Planet in his basic blue jackets and white shirts.  Kandor returned and Pa Kent left us again.  The Hulk went back to speaking the third person again, as well as the more erudite manner he'd done for over a decade.  Batman went from Lone Avenger of the Night to having not just one Robin, but a couple extra.

Wait for the story to show up before complaining about it.  It might actually be a well-done tale, for all we know.  History shows it won't have any lasting impact, just like last year's Action Comics story where Superman supposedly renounced his global citizenship and nothing ever came of it.  If this is still going on 20 years from now, I promise to apologize.

This story will join other events like Daredevil being "Mike Murdock," Dick Grayson being Batman, Eddie March being Iron Man, and George Lazenby portraying James Bond.  It's all been done before and it all returns to normal sooner or later.  Just be patient.

The Annual Celebration Survival Thread Tags: Superman Celebration Metropolis Survival Water Food Money

Every year about this time, we all start rubbing our palms together in anticipatory glee.  And why not?  The Superman Celebration is coming up soon!

For those who've never experienced the fun for the first time, here's a guide to making the best time of your year even better.

(comments and other tips are appreciated)

PLAN AHEAD!

A trip always presents an opportunity for things to go wrong and just one mess-up can ruin an entire weekend -- and for some people this is THE vacation for the family so there's only one shot to get it right.

GET YOUR ROOM EARLY!

Many visitors to the City of Tomorrow book their accommodations six months out and wisely so.  The closer the hotel to Market Street, the sooner they fill up.  You can't always hope that someone will cancel their reservation at the last minute.  Otherwise, you might wind up sleeping at the rest stop north of town or in the Wal-Mart or Sam's Club parking lots in Paducah.

Don't be surprised that the cost of rooms on the Illinois side of the Ohio River skyrocket over the weekend.  They know we're a captive audience and we'll pay.  Rooms across the river in Paducah are often not quite as expensive as in Metropolis, but one should also factor in the time spent driving and the gas being burned.

If your lodging offers a benefits card, sign up for it.  They're usually free and the points you earn for the stay you booked anyway can be redeemed for gifts and even future stays.  Also, for instance, the Wyndham Rewards card is good at the Baymont as well as the Super 8 and several other chain operations.  Thus, it's easier to accrue points as you travel.

STOCK UP!

Metropolis is junk food paradise.  Aside from several decent restaurants, the main strip is lined with vendors who'll deep fry just about anything from 'gator to snack cakes.  What you pop into your belly is the fuel that moves you from event to event.  While whatever gets breaded and boiled on Market Street tastes good, make sure you eat at least one balanced meal per day.  Load up on veggies and fresh fruit because that'll give you the most energy with the least fat and calories.

But most importantly, stay hydrated!  Drink a LOT of water because the temperature is usually in the mid-nineties with lots of humidity.  Carry water with you and refill that bottle often.  It's far better for you than any soda, tea, or coffee and more easily replenishable than sports drinks.

Frequently, one of the local concerns offers free bottled water for the asking.  However, most of the food vendors will carry ice cold water.  There are also grocery stores, convenience stores, and other places that will have bottled water.

Take advantage of the mini-fridge, should your room have one.  Stock up on food and beverages from the local stores (spread the financial love around locally, don'tcha know?).

DRESS FOR SUCCESS!

Since it will be way hot and muggy, as much as possible, wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing and a hat/cap that provides some shade.  Any exposed flesh should be covered in sunblocker (and don't forget your neck, ears and top of your head.  Also, don't forget the tops of your feet if you wear sandals.

When you go indoors, take off your hat and release the built-up heat since your head is where most of your body heat exits.

If you are costuming, drink extra water!  Many super-hero fabrics don't breathe so stay hydrated so you'll keep on breathing for years to come.

OTHER TIPS!

This is not a comic book convention.   The Superman Celebration is a local street fair with a little more geek oomph to it, but certainly no less enjoyable (for many of us, a LOT more enjoyable).  Expect to make new friends.

Getting opportunities to meet certain celebrities, mostly the media guests, may require a bit of inconvenience for you.  While you might find the process annoying, it is not unfair.  Also, you can get certain things signed for free, but not always everything, even if it's something you brought.  The list of what's what will be posted in the event schedule and usually on site.

Bring a bag for your autographables, water, and extra supplies.  You don't want to ruin your sketchbook by sweating on it, do you?

When getting something signed, have it ready to be signed by the time it's your turn.  This helps the already long lines to move just that much faster.

As soon as the event schedule is released, plan your itinerary.  Many of the Super Friends-related events (Bowling, Meet-And-Greet, Radio Re-enactment, Opening and Closing Skits) are on the official schedule so don't pass up a chance to hook up with us.  Any event not put on the official schedule will be posted here or on the Facebook page.

Don't forget that camera!  You'll want a record of the events and the people you share them with.  And let us know if you post them on Facebook, here, Twitter, your website, etc.

Remember that not all events can be paid for with credit cards.  Bring an appropriate amount of cash, but be careful about flashing your wad in public.  Keep some money in your vehicle or back in your room, just to be safe.

Travel with other people.  Not only is it more fun, they can watch you (as you'll be monitoring them) for signs of heatstroke. 

Know the signs of too much sun and heat!  If someone turns bright red, stops sweating, becomes disorientated or dizzy, and their flesh becomes hot to the touch, get them into the shade immediately.  An air conditioned room is even better.  Pour water over their head -- dignity be damned -- until they cool down.  Also, get them to drink some of what they're being doused with.  Be ready to summon medical help at the first sign of heat stroke.

Many costumers appreciate being called by the name of the character they are portraying.  You shouldn't call them by their civilian names unless you receive permission.  Many of them have worked up poses and love showing off so don't be shy about asking for a  photograph either alone or with someone.  On the other hand, some do not appreciate being photographed while eating, drinking, or even not in a casual situation.  "May I take your picture?" is a question that solves many problems.

If you host a podcast or want to spread the word about your website, bring business cards.  They're easier to carry around than a flyer.

Be a little more patient than usual.  Remember that everyone around you is hot, thirsty, and uncomfortable too.  A little courtesy makes everything better.

Remember that we are guests in Metropolis.  Let's leave it as nice, or better, than how we found it.  And be polite to the locals, especially the members of the MetroChamber who work hard to put on a great event every year.

Most of all, travel safely and have fun.

Any other ideas?

New 52 Review: Action Comics #1 Tags: Superman Action Comics 52 Grant Morrison Rags Morales

Whether you like it or not, you have a brand new Superman ... or perhaps a familiar old one.

Action Comics #1 arrived in the first full week of releases of the DC relaunch.  In this one, in a tale from five years ago, we meet a Superman who invades the penthouse home of a Mr. Glenmorgan, a local developer who uses bribery and substandard materials to fill his coffers.  The Metropolis police arrive to see Glenmorgan in the arms of a character who holds the man effortlessly over his head and then leaps over the side to easily survive the fall.  Needless to say, the criminal begins to confess to his many misdeeds.  But instead of being grateful (and probably aware of what a confession under duress means in court), the cops pursue the man in blue and red, but to no avail.  The Superman disguises himself as Clark Kent, a crusading reporter for The Daily Star.

However, General Sam Lane has his eye on Superman as does consultant Lex Luthor.  Since sighting Superman six months prior, the being's power seems to have increased.  To prove his point, Lex stages a trap for the Man of Steel, knowing it would endanger innocent lives.  But after repelling the military's attack, the people put themselves in harm's way to allow Superman time to escape.

Clark warns his friend Jimmy Olsen to not board the local trains, saying that they are part of Glenmorgan's retaliation for being arrested.  However, Lois Lane of The Daily Planet tracks Glenmorgan's muscle to one of those trains ... which begins to pick up speed.  Clark changes to Superman in time to stop the train.  However, pinned against the side of the Daily Planet building, our hero appears to be drained of all strength ... as Lex Luthor tells General Lane that he's made good on his promise to deliver the alien.

I'm NOT a huge Grant Morrison fan.  He can be absolutely brilliant (Animal Man, 52, Zenith, Batman, All-Star Superman) or lose sight of his plotting in the light of his high concepts (Infinite Crisis, The Invisibles, Skull-Kill Crew).  In this story -- and it is a story -- he is focused like a laser.  This Superman is a bit cocky, morally outraged, and willing to use his powers to help the helpless.  A nod is given to events in the original Action #1 ("I heard about a woman in Bakerline whose husband was beating her every night until Superman heard her crying and threw the guy out the window and into the river.") along with a nod towards the real life consequences ("Broke both his hips and six ribs.").  His Clark Kent is capable and low key, similar to the George Reeves and John Byrne versions.  In fact, the supporting characters all ring true as well.

If Rags Morales had any reservations about accepting the art assignment, as evidenced in his blog, he doesn't show it.  The storytelling is solid and a good balance between cartoony and more realistic.  Inker Rick Bryant and colorist Brad Anderson round out the visuals with rich blacks and plenty of light, bright colors.

Complain all you want about the end of the Modern Age Superman ... this is a Superman with solid roots in the past who shows traces of the hero and inspiration he will become, wrapped in a well-paced story that makes a good jumping on point for new readers and a solid read for veteran readers who are giving it a chance in droves (Action #1 will go through a second printing soon).  My only complaint about this issue might be that I have to wait a month between issues.

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