Saturday, April 30, 2011

…The American Way

I heard about Superman’s decision to ‘renounce his American citizenship’ last week and I have been waiting to actually read Action Comics issue 900 before passing judgment.

“…I’m sorry, what was that?” you may ask, “something about Superman?”

If you have not heard by now here are the details: Here are more details: Here are even more details:

“WHAT!? The writers and publishers have turned Superman into a traitor!”

Nope, I’m not jumping on that bandwagon; unlike these quotable souls here: [NOTE: Not my blog - not my choice of language. However; it's still an interesting set of quotes.]

The one word that comes to mind describing the situation that the publishers have placed the Man of Steel and that word is BRILLIANT.


Let’s look at this through the eyes of a writer and publishing house. Issue 900 of Action Comics is a collection of stories from several writers and artists giving their take on the iconic character. DC did not just hand the keys to anyone to tell the stories in issue 900. No, they brought out some members from the A-Squad. Richard Donner, Paul Dini, Geoff Johns and David S. Goyer are all amazing writers who have large volumes of high quality writing to their names. Mr. Goyer wrote the story that is causing all of the controversy; I also happen to be a BIG fan of his work. It must be very exciting as a writer flipping a static character into a dynamic one making what is old new again. He is not a minor player in this field. In fact a smart publishing house that had access to some of the finest talent in the industry may be very pleased with having a comic book from the nineteen thirties relevant once more; controversial to the point that it is making worldwide press. John Q. Public is once more buying a Superman comic book! Chances are it will be a third or a fourth printing of said publication by this point. People are going to want to read it for themselves.

Simply Brilliant.

I haven’t read any Superman title since the “Death of Superman” & “Rise of the Supermen” story arcs back in 1993. I will pick up issue 900 because I stand with John Q. Public – I want to read it for myself. As a fan and a guy who likes to write all sorts of different stuff I can see the story arc that could sprout from the seeds planted in issue 900. To quote the Joker from The Dark Knight, “It’s all part of the plan.”

Everyone knows the history, really. Kal-El, the Last Son of Krypton is the BIG ONE when it comes to American immigration stories in the world of Comics. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster designed him that way in 1932. “The pair sold the rights to Detective Comics, Inc. in 1938” and in June 1938, Action Comics # 1 went on sale. Superman was born. The truth be told Superman is the prototype for all the other comic heroes that followed. The Man of Tomorrow has been around now for 900 issues – that’s 73 years. His popularity has ebbed and flowed over those years but to the masses the first image that creeps into the collective unconscious when someone mentions the words; comic book, is Superman. Superman is American pop-culture and people identify with that whether they read comics or not. That disenfranchised Kryptonian is a shared cultural touchstone, so to speak.

As a fan, a writer and a Geek for all seasons I can’t wait to see what’s next for Kal-El. I just may have to add Action Comics to my subscription again. These notions would not have crossed my mind if it weren’t for the story arc that is about to launch from a company with several tricks still up their sleeve.

…Brilliant DC, simply Brilliant.

[NOTE: Evil Chicken would like to thank his favorite second brain, Wikipedia and his friend the Internet for the information disseminated for this blog you’re just read, Gentle Reader. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. Until next time, I’ll see you at the Comic Book Shop – I’ll be the one picking up the 4th or 5th printing of Action Comics issue 900.]

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