Big Changes in the Superman Family this July!

Optimist* I’ve wanted to see Mark Waid writing Superman on a monthly basis since Kingdom Come.

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Oh, for sure. The “cynic” part merely referred to the inevitable(?)/potential(?) hasty return of Clark to headlining the Superman comic. I, too, would very much like to see Mark Waid writing monthly Superman. In particular because it’s apparently been his life-long dream, one that he’s long been denied, and I like to see people achieve their dreams.

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Interesting that the wedding album is on what…20th? 25th? anniversary as he’s out the door on his own title.

I personally, don’t see it as a huge deal, even as a comic fan. As someone else said farther up, he’ll be back.

I think one of my favourite modern Superman Story is when the Superman and Lois of Prime Earth - Jon’s parents - were blasted out of their destroyed universes into the New 52.

I really don’t understand why it’s a problem to have him get married, but to each their own. Even before they were married, he was head over heels for Lois. Not much is really different with/without the wedding, one way or another. And meh, Jon is pretty easily ignored if you don’t want to think about him.

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Earth 2 was the Golden Age Superman and was married to Lois.

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Tom Taylor is one of DCs best writers and excels at doing characters justice. I have waited for him to take the reins on Superman. This is going to be awesome.

I badly want King’s Supergirl to be great. It could be. But he needs to stay clear of a lot of traps that is waiting to bring it down.
If he can avoid:

  • PTSD Kara
  • Superman’s dog being Kara’s anchor to humanity.
  • Kara attacking living beings with a sword.
  • Making Ruthye the main character and Supergirl the extra in her book.
  • Darkness

He could potentially have a great space adventure going with the space bus. But there’s a lot of ifs. His predecessors all made the mistakes above and he has every chance to make the same mistakes. I really hope he doesn’t, it would be such a waste of Bilquis phenomenal art.

I have no insight into the the new action comics team. Wait and see.

Its a Tom King comic, I’d be surpised if it wasn’t in it.

His Superman was great. His Supergirl will be as well.

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Honestly, all of them. Is it July yet? If not, can it be? Pretty please?

I like how the cover of Superman: Son of Kal-El #1 is an homage to Superman v1, #1. That’s a neat touch. I wish Jon’s S-shield was a bit better drawn, however. It looks a little haggard and uneven, as opposed to a nice, crisp S-shield.

The cover of Action #1033 is nice. IDK why (maybe because of how Superman is standing?), but it reminds of this:

As for Superman and The Authority, I will happily take any Superman by Grant Morrison, as I love his work on the character and franchise. I’m also a big fan of The Authority, so blending them and Superman together is like peanut butter and chocolate: two great tastes meshed together for one amazing taste!

Come July, make mine Superman.

I could not disagree with you more. In my opinion, the two years of Rebirth Superman we got with a married Superman and Lois and young Jon were BY FAR the best Superman stories in the ongoing titles since before the New 52. I think stories with the family in that stage could have been told for years. It sure seems like Jurgens and Tomasi/Gleason had more plans or at least ideas.

Having recently reread Superman’s monthly titles from the John Byrne reboot until the end of the Triangle Era, I don’t think the marriage was ever the problem with the stories. In fact, Jeph Loeb and co. used the marriage really well when they took over in late 1999.

I love Tom Taylor, but I am not very excited about this new direction. I want Jon and Clark stories. We really haven’t had that many of those. I think it’s far too early to go to Jon without Clark.

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@brian_hofman

Yeah, the marriage was a mid-90s sales gimmick that DC got stuck with… and I say got stuck with because you can’t undo something like that without doing major things to your overall storyline. You can easily kill Superman and bring him back. But un-marrying him is a major undertaking.

And just like the Spider-Man marriage was a late-80s sales gimmick that Marvel got stuck with and couldn’t undo without doing major things to their overall storyline.

Marvel of course got rid of the marriage with their “One More Day” storyline in 2007 and didn’t look back, and aren’t suffering from it one bit in the comics or the movies with Spider-Man. And so 20 years of marriage in the comics for him.

DC finally got rid of the marriage with The New 52 in 2011. Then brought it back in Rebirth. And are now in a sense getting rid of it again. Because the Clark Kent Superman will no longer be on Earth for an unspecified amount of time. And the Jonathan Kent Superman will obviously not be married.

So DC got rid of it for five years, brought it back for about five years, and are getting rid of it again.

So an initial 15 years of being married. Then off for 5. Then back on again for 5. And now kind of nebulous… married, but meh.

So about 20 years for each company for two of their major characters.

And yeah, like I said, it doesn’t make much of any difference sales-wise. An unmarried Superman sells just as poorly as a married one, so it really doesn’t matter one way or the other.

And of course DC are doing what they’re doing with Superman because of sales once again. And if the marriage was this massive storytelling element that generated huge sales for them, then we wouldn’t be getting a Jonathan Kent Superman, and the Clark Kent Superman wouldn’t be going off into space and leaving Lois Lane back on Earth.

And I say that Superman shouldn’t be married because, one, it’s not that interesting to me the way that it’s been done over the last 20-plus years. And of course that’s purely subjective. But also when you look at the greatest Superman stories ever, I’m not sure if any of them involve a married Superman. And if there are any, then it’s only a very small few.

And of course a lot of the best Superman stories are stories of his origin, but that’s just maybe a shortcoming of the character. Or of the creators themselves. Or a function of corporate and/or editorial mandates.

And yes, there’s of course an audience for a married Superman. But it’s not that big. That’s why things are they way they are now.

And just like we’re not getting more Jon and Clark stories, because there must not be that huge of an audience for that. Or a shortcoming of the creators themselves, or a lack of interest on their part in telling those kinds of stories. Or a function of corporate and/or editorial mandates.

And I suspect it’s probably largely a function of corporate and editorial mandates. Because they probably looked at the numbers and thought, “Yeah, this isn’t really popping so let’s do something else.”

And of course one may ask, “Well, what about Superman & Lois?”

Yeah, it’s a low-rated CW TV show that’s not really setting the world on fire. It does well for a CW show, but not for a television show. So like the comics, there’s an audience for it, but it’s not that big.

It’s just okay. And I’m not sure if “just okay” is okay for Superman. But if it’s the best they can, then it’s the best they can do.

And I’ve gotten really far afield, haven’t I? :relaxed:

But yep, marring Superman is like marrying Wonder Woman or Batman. It’s like, what are you doing? You can of course do it, but you shouldn’t.

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When is Superman '78 coming out in print? That is the one I want the most.

Jon will be fine. Taylor is off to a good start on Nightwing, so I have high hopes here.

Johnson hasn’t been wowing me so far, but we’ll keep going with Action. I am not happy with the “building toward Future State” theme across the line.

King’s Superman: Up in the Sky had really great parts and I’ve enjoyed Kara’s last two trips to space.

I love the creative team on Superman and the Authority, but UGH! And we’re throwing Manchester Black in with this pack of clowns? If DC is going to use Wildstorm characters, can we use the good ones? (i.e. the ones by Alan Moore and Kurt Busiek) OK Grant, you’ve worked miracles before…

@Isaac.Lawrence I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Where do I send the self addressed stamped envelope?

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@CaptainYesterday

I believe sometime in August is the date for the first SUPERMAN '78 in print.

Then November for the hardcover.

I already pre-ordered it at Amazon.

You don’t have to like married Superman. That’s your opinion. That’s fine. :superman_hv_4:

But I don’t think it’s totally fair to say Superman can’t be married. As you’ve pointed out, married Superman doesn’t really sell worse (or better) than unmarried Superman. I can’t speak for creators’ preferences, but I think 20 years’ worth of married Superman stories would suggest that marrying Superman doesn’t mean no more stories can be told. (In fact, many of those years had 3 or even 4 monthly solo Superman titles.)

I understand that everything comes down to sales and money, so DC will continue to make changes. (My personal take is that Superman doesn’t sell well because of poor corporate/editorial management. There does not seem to be a shortage of creators with good Superman stories to tell—I can name a fair number of well-received miniseries.) I’m certainly not an expert on reviews, but the impression I’ve gotten is that the married Rebirth-era Superman was much better received than the unmarried New 52 Superman overall, so I don’t think marriage really hurts public perception.

Sure, a lot of motivation for marrying Superman was a sales gimmick, but I don’t think the creators approached it that way. I think the marriage was a natural evolution of the development of Superman and Lois post-Crisis.

Finally, I personally think a married Superman does not mean the end of good Superman stories. CBR celebrated 80 years of Superman by collecting fans’ top 40 Superman stories. Several featured a married Superman:
“Final Crisis” (Final Crisis #1-7, Superman Beyond #1-2)
“For Tomorrow” (Superman #204-215)
"Last Son” (Action Comics #844-846, 851 and Action Comics Annual #11)
“Brainiac” (Action Comics #866-870)
“Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes” (Action Comics #858-863)
“Up, Up and Away” (Superman #650-653 and Action Comics #837-840)
“What’s So Funny about Truth, Justice & the American Way?” (Action Comics #775)

Also “Secret Identity” (Superman: Secret Identity #1-4) definitely features a married Superman.

If you’ll allow engaged Superman (which I understand isn’t exactly the same), the list expands to include
"Time and Time Again” (Adventures of Superman #476-478, Action Comics #663-664, Superman #54-55)
“Funeral for a Friend” (Justice League America #70, Adventures of Superman #498-499, Superman #76-77, Superman: Man of Steel #20-21, Action Comics #685-686)
“Reign of the Supermen” (Action Comics #687-691, Adventures of Superman #500-505, Green Lantern Volume 3, #46, Superman Volume 2 #78-82 and Superman: The Man of Steel #22-26)
“The Death of Superman” (Superman: The Man of Steel #17-19, Superman Volume 2 #73-75, Adventures of Superman #496-497, Action Comics #683-684 and Justice League America #69).

Thanks for the discussion! I’m not sure I’ve got more to say, but I welcome your response.

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@brian_hofman

But I don’t think it’s totally fair to say Superman can’t be married.

Yeah, you could have stopped right there.

I never said that he can’t be married. I’ve only said that you can of course do it, but you shouldn’t.

There’s a world of difference between can’t and shouldn’t.

They married him, told a couple of decades of stories with him married. And now DC are doing something else because they’re bringing in Jonathan Kent to headline their Superman franchise when it comes to the comics.

And I wouldn’t be surprised at all if some type of live-action interpretation of Jonathan Kent is in the works.

And the Superman reboot in the movies will feature a different Superman, who in all likelihood won’t be married either.

So the marriage was a thing that they did exclusively in the comics (up until this year), and now they’re doing something else.

And of course I didn’t argue whether or not it hurt the public perception of Superman. No, I imagine that most people in the world probably weren’t aware that Superman was married in the comics. Because it’s the comics and no one but comic book readers care or are knowledgeable about such things.

And in the comics the marriage wasn’t setting the world on fire in terms of sales. So that’s why they’re doing something different now.

And yeah, it is editorial and corporate driven. They look at what’s selling, and if it sells well then they don’t worry about it. And if it doesn’t sell well, then they try something else in hopes that it will sell better. And if that doesn’t work, then they’ll try something else. And on and on.

And if something’s not selling well, then DC editorial will tell their writers to write something else, or get new writers who will write something else if they old ones don’t want to write the new thing that they want.

That’s kind of their job. And they’re never going to throw away something that’s doing well. That’s why they don’t reboot Batman every time DC reboots their universe. :relaxed:

And I guess when you think about it, Superman is really the only reason why DC does reboots. Because Batman does fine for them. Superman just never sells that well. So they just keep trying the same thing over and over again and (maybe?) expecting different results.

And yeah, the sales: Superman is a character that is recognized around the entire world, he has global recognition. His comic really sales poorly though in relation to that. You would think he would be at Batman levels in terms of sales, at the top of the market. But Superman sells about a third of what Batman does.

I imagine for years (decades even) Warner Bros. were more or less fine with that. Because the comic wasn’t losing them money (and when it got close to losing them money they would just reboot it, or do a sales gimmick like the marriage), and the licensing of course is where the real money is at with Superman anyway.

So impressions on how well something is received I think makes next to no difference in the comics. What and how well it sells is what matters in the final analysis.

Anyway, and of course none of the licensed Superman products depict a married Superman because they’re not idiots. :laughing:

Only the comic book guys do that because it’s comics and nobody cares.

Now I imagine AT&T, the new bosses, what to do something more with Superman. I imagine they want to leverage him more now. And I’m guessing they like corporate synergy – corporations often times tend to like that. It often makes selling the product easier.

So AT&T are probably like, “DC editorial, get us a young, unmarried Superman. And get your people to write us comic book stories that we can maybe use ideas from, and leverage into things that will actually make us real money.” :relaxed:

And yes, as been noted, married or not really makes no difference in terms of sales of the Superman comics. This new status quo with Jonathan Kent will in all likelihood just do the normal, momentary tripling or quadrupling of the sales of the regular 35,000 or so people who read Superman month in and month out. And then it’ll drop back down.

Overall though I imagine AT&T have bigger fish to fry with Superman, and that’s why it’s being done now within the first few years of their ownership of the character and the property.

I’m sorry. You’re right. You said “shouldn’t,” and then I said “can’t” in my response. That’s an honest mistake on my part. I’m terribly sorry for misrepresenting your opinion.

Clearly we have completely different opinions here. That’s fine. I would not say that Superman shouldn’t be married. Thanks for giving me space and taking time to read my opinion and some of my thoughts behind it.

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@brian_hofman

Yep, shouldn’t is just my opinion.

And the marriage could work for me, but DC would have to do it in a totally different way for it to be at all interesting to me.

They would have to do it like a slice of life anime.

And I’m not a “cutesy anime” fan, no, I’m a normal person so I like normal stuff like Evangelion. :relaxed:

No, the rebuild stuff is kind of cool to me.

Anyway, but I checked out this slice of life anime and it was like, “Oh my god, this is so good.”

And Super Cub on Funimation is what I’m talking about.

Start Your Engine! Super Cub Joins the Funimation Spring 2021 Lineup

What if your whole life could change… if only you had gotten a secondhand Honda Super Cub motorcycle? Well, get ready to find out. We’re excited to announce that Super Cub will stream exclusively on Funimation as part of the Spring 2021 anime season!

This new slice of life series follows the lonely Koguma whose life is turned upside down when she gets her hands on a used Honda Super Cub motorcycle. This new mode of transportation takes her to new heights, and brings about friendships she never expected!

And fun note: Honda Motor Company is actually overseeing the accuracy of the series!

So DC would have to handle the marriage in a slice of life anime manner in order for it to be at all interesting to me.

And of course they’re never, ever going to do that. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

This is America, not Japan.

So that’s why the Superman marriage is like, “Yeah, whatever” to me. It’s just half-a** to me – and not even really half-a**, more like 1/200th-a** or something. And if you’re going to do it, then go all in. Otherwise, why bother, I say.

And yes, Superman & Lois do pretty much go all in, but the setting and the circumstances of the show aren’t interesting to me in the least, so it’s an easy pass for me.

Anyway.

Anyway, SUPERMAN '78 should be good and something that I like, I suspect.

And hopefully SUPERMAN: SON OF KAL-EL will be good to me too. And I suspect it will.

You know… the more I read your posts the more I feel like you’re a man of extremes… and I don’t mean that in a negative fashion.

  • Married Superman? Cool, but do it in a totally unexpected fashion (I admit, I did not read the anime stuff in your post.)
  • Traditional Supes? Sure, but only if the mother of all traditional versions: Superman ‘78.
  • Black Superman? Heck yeah, but prefer a version we’ve never seen before.
  • Joker? Yeah, especially the darkest version shown on the screen.

I may be wrong in my observation of course, but you like things that take really big swings, preconceptions be damned. We have different tastes, for sure, but I do share an affinity with you for movies & comics that go all in. Done playing armchair psychologist :slightly_smiling_face:.

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Good Superman podcast. Latest episode is an interview with Phillip Kennedy Johnson. Worthwhile listen.

@moro

You know… the more I read your posts the more I feel like you’re a man of extremes… and I don’t mean that in a negative fashion.

  • Married Superman? Cool, but do it in a totally unexpected fashion (I admit, I did not read the anime stuff in your post.)
  • Traditional Supes? Sure, but only if the mother of all traditional versions: Superman ‘78.
  • Black Superman? Heck yeah, but prefer a version we’ve never seen before.
  • Joker? Yeah, especially the darkest version shown on the screen.

I may be wrong in my observation of course, but you like things that take really big swings, preconceptions be damned. We have different tastes, for sure, but I do share an affinity with you for movies & comics that go all in. Done playing armchair psychologist :slightly_smiling_face:.

Yes, of course, take big swings. It’s Superman. Why would you do it any other way?

Again, what Warren Ellis said.

WHY THEY’LL NEVER LET ME WRITE SUPERMAN

Brief, Disconnected Notes On An American Mythology—Warren Ellis

I’m not a superhero fan. I had to learn the subgenre when I began writing for the States. I’ve had to learn to read them. Now, I can appreciate some of them. Not many, it has to be said… but some.

The one I always wanted to like was Superman.

Superman is a uniquely American icon, and the first true myth of the electronic age. One special facet to it is that it began as a myth told to children by children. Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster were youths when they created Superman, a far cry from today’s handful of twentysomethings and carloads of middle-aged men who give today’s children their superheroes.

(Perhaps this is why, to me, a strong adult story told with Superman would seem curiously inappropriate – and, conversely, the 20th Century social nightmare given inky form that is The Batman seems to me strangely inappropriate as figure of children’s tales.)

Superman, then, is the agent of modern fable – the most compelling fable the 20th Century gave us. Soap opera is unworthy of him, and, as has been proved many times, is not big enough to contain him and the central concepts of his story. At the heart of myth and legend is Romance. That is not the same as the weak, whiny demands of soap opera that begin with “characterization” and crap on with demands for ever more levels of “conflict”, “jeopardy”, “ensemble writing”, “tight continuity” and all the rest of that bollocks. These things are unimportant. Many of them just completely get in the way of the job at hand.

SUPERMAN requires only the sweep and invention and vision that myth demands, and the artistry and directness and clean hands that Romance requires.

SUPERMAN is about someone trying their best to save the world, one day at a time; and it’s about that person’s love for that one whose intellect and emotion and sheer bloody humanity completes him. It’s about Superman, and it’s about Lois and Clark. And that’s all there is. That’s the spine. That must be protected to the death, not lost in a cannonade succession of continuing stories.

That’s what, in the continuing rush to top the last plotline, I see getting lost.

I understand, accept and even to an extent agree with what’s going on; The SUPERMAN creators are trying to keep the books vital, keep them moving, keep those sales spikes coming. But they seem to me to be getting away from the sheer wonder of the Superman myth.

(The single title that does seem to be hewing to the line I’ve just scratched in the sand is Mark Millar’s charming and energetic SUPERMAN ADVENTURES.)

What SUPERMAN must avoid is genericism. It must live up to its billing. The comics must crackle with invention and mythic power. They must always resolutely be of Now, be utterly modern – if not utterly of Tomorrow. They must thrill and frighten and inspire and give us furiously to think.

Crucially, they must not simply offer us a parade of costumes and odd single name/titles. There must be stories where something important is at stake. Something worth saving, be it the life of a human, the soul of a city, the fate of a world, or the future of a child.

Mike Carlin always characterizes the ongoing thrust of the Superman titles as the “Never-Ending Battle”. Those battles must have stakes beyond those of smacking about this month’s new costume with an odd name.

(Superman tackles natural disaster and human crime. It’s his belief that nothing else falls within his purview. War and the politics of famine, he feels, are part of human government, and so not his place. He will not interfere in the growth of the human race, as much as it sometimes breaks his heart.

He merely, obliviously, shows the human race, by example, how to be great.)

And especially the part about “What SUPERMAN must avoid is genericism. It must live up to its billing.”

Exactly, don’t give me a generic Superman. I don’t want that, that’s boring as hell.

The marriage? That’s boring as hell. Sure, some people like it, but very few. Because it’s generic. And that’s not just my opinion, it’s fact, the sales numbers back it up. Because if it wasn’t boring and generic, then more people would like it and read the comics – and the same holds true for an unmarried Superman.

So yeah, do marriage, just don’t be generic about it though – but they are and have always been generic about it.

And the 1978 Superman is currently the only truly universally liked or known Superman.

Don’t do the movies like that today though, because it would be a disaster, because the world is in a different place now.

It would almost be like doing the George Reeves 1950s Superman today. It’s like, yeah, that was a popular take, but don’t do that now. That’s why the 1978 Superman didn’t do that then.

And SUPERMAN '78 the comic isn’t going to do well. Only those of us who grew up with that and love that nostalgia are going to read it, no one else. It’ll just be a nice, neat niche thing to have.

And so no, I’m not advocating for Superman today to be done like 1978 Superman because it would be a flop. SUPERMAN '78 will just be a nice, niche comic to read.

And yes, a Black Superman. Yes, do not do anything like what’s done in the comics, because that’s boring as hell. That’s generic Superman. That’s not a particularly interesting take on Superman, it’s just a Black Superman.

Or rather, the President Superman idea is somewhat interesting, the execution of the idea in the comics though is dull – the very little of it that there is, at least. And that’s also why I say don’t bother with it with the movie, because there’s nothing really there anyway.

If you’re going to do a Black Superman, then you better make it interesting. You better take a big swing. Otherwise why are you doing it, right.

And yes, what I think is the greatest comic book movie ever made, Todd Phillips’ Joker movie… that was a very interesting take on the Joker. That’s why it made over a billion dollars and got 11 Oscar nominations. Because it wasn’t generic, it was interesting and well done.

And of course the lesson learned: don’t do generic. :relaxed:

And on perceptions. One thing about Superman is that, yes, he has global recognition, but that’s about it. Most people around the world know who he is or recognize the symbol, but very few people find him to be particularly interesting. He’s generic to most people. That’s the perception. He’s safe and boring.

And I suppose that’s good enough to sell t-shirts or whatever, but that’s about it.

So yeah, I suppose I’m extreme in that I don’t want generic Superman. Nope. I do not want that. And surely that cannot be the best that they can do.

And speaking of armchair psychologist, give me some of that Friedrich Nietzsche Superman. Give me some of that Thus Spake Zarathustra Superman.

I want some of that “Behold” rah-rah.

Behold, I teach you the overman: he is this lightning, he is this madness! –

I want some of that “lighting” and “madness.” I want something that pops and crackles. I want some of what Warren Ellis said, I want a Superman that “thrill and frighten and inspire and give us furiously to think.” :relaxed:

It’s Superman. Live up to the name. Go big or why bother, right.

And yes, Zack Snyder took a somewhat big swing with Man of Steel. He hit a stand-up double by my scorecard, but he fouled it off for others. And that was the best that he and his team could do. And now he’s out.

Next man up, Ta-Nehisi Coates. Take your cut, slugger. Let’s see if you can knock it out of the park. I’m of course assuming he will.

Either way, that’s Warner Bros.’ and DC’s mindset at the moment it seems. Big swings with the movies with a Black Superman, and somewhat big swings with the comics in Jonathan Kent.

And if either of these are generic, then they won’t work.

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