Robot 6

A retcon for the ages: Lex Luthor, cake-taker!

From Superman #709 (art by Eddy Burrows)

It’s days like this that I regret not being a regular reader of Superman.

Via Dean Trippe, Rob Bricken and undoubtedly countless others comes this glorious panel from Superman #709, out now. If you don’t get the reference, then you’ve probably not experienced the wonder that is The Super Dictionary, a bizarre 1978 children’s book that used DC Comics superheroes to define some 4,000 words. (Also, you’ve probably not spent much time on Tumblr.)

Assembled by Warner Educational Services, the surreal 416-page book utilizes an image of Supergirl, I don’t know, winking at a rat to teach kids the word “ever,” and a shot of Joker ready to hurl a woman to her death to illustrate “scream.” And for “forty,” the lil’ ones get a purple jumpsuit-clad Lex Luthor making off with 40 cakes. And that’s terrible.

But with this week’s issue, Superman writer Chris Roberson does the previously inconceivable: He introduces that dark chapter from Luthor’s past into DC canon! And that’s fantastic.

What’s more, if Luthor’s cake-stealing actually happened in the post-Crisis DC Universe, so did Wonder Woman’s tug of war with a shoe-stealing whale, and Hawkman’s possible devouring of the Atom! To heck with Flashpoint — Roberson has created the launching point for the next big DC event.

From The Super Dictionary

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Comments

23 Comments

It’s still early, but I’m pretty sure this is the best thing I’ll see all day.

Um, that’s awesome. Let’s incorporate more of The Super Dictionary into DCU proper continuity!

Whoever ok’d this deserves an award and a raise.

If that doesn’t justify Grounded, I don’t know what can.

Classic fanboy BS.

What’s “classic fanboy BS”?

The need to revive the past like it had never ended, which is what this does.

How does this make the character or the story better? It doesn’t, just like the multiple reboots over the last decade haven’t improved one single thing in the Superman comics. The only purpose this accomplishes is refreshing old reader’s memory about something that happened over 30 years ago.

Or … it’s simply a funny nod to something that never actually “happened,” because it was an entry in a weird children’s dictionary.

Ha Ha Michael, get a sense of humor!

A nod that you need to be in your 40s or 50s for it to resonate.

Hey, Michael has a point. This throwaway gag undercuts the seriousness of Superman, which is what the fans demand!

… No, wait a minute. No one really cares about a serious Superman. In fact, the last time Superman had any presence was when he was slightly goofy. The Big Blue Boy Scout going against villians every comic with ramped up powers … it kinda gets boring.

I welcome the additional of cakes!

“A nod that you need to be in your 40s or 50s for it to resonate.”

Given the number of times images from The Super Dictionary crop up on Tumblr and LiveJournal, I somehow doubt that’s the case.

El Santo

Fan(boy)s demand the return of the 60s and the Silver Age, that’s what we’ve seeing over the last decade. Readers demand more.

Prior to the barrage of unnecessary reboots and retcons, Superman was a character with a following that could hold four monthly comics and one quarterly comic (not to mention the spin offs) that told a consistant story.

Now, he requires popular writers to hold him up in order to sell because of the damage the fanboys have done to the story. In fact, there IS no story anymore. There’s just filler until the next reboot.

“A nod that you need to be in your 40s or 50s for it to resonate.”
Or happen to have internet access and be part of an increasingly insular community.

Which probably constitutes a majority of the people reading Superman. Heck, I knew about this and I’m 24 and hate (most) Superman stories.

I thought everything in the Super Dictionary was canon, but only on Earth-40…

@KevinMelrose – Dude, I can’t recommend picking up Chris Roberson’s run on Superman (and his two issues of Superman/Batman) enough! It’s all-out awesome all the time.

@MichaelSacal – Disregard my advice to Kevin. These books clearly aren’t for you.

A nod that you need to be in your 40s or 50s for it to resonate.

My 6-year-old will get it, because I gave a Super Dictionary a couple years back for Christmas. And he loves it!

Me, I never had one, and I’m in my 40s.

Prior to the barrage of unnecessary reboots and retcons, Superman was a character with a following that could hold four monthly comics and one quarterly comic (not to mention the spin offs) that told a consistant story.

Don’t think the retcons caused the sales to go down — it was the collapse of the market. When the triangle-numbered books were at their peak, so was the speculator bubble, a rising tide that lifted all boats.

Uh… Michael, the forty cakes thing appearing in this comic is the total opposite of a return to the silver age, it’s a nod to something that’s become a minor internet meme. Way to miss the point in such a spectacular way that I’m surprised you managed to type without getting angry at your keyboard for calling you a ‘qwerty’.

If it makes you feel any better, Michael, I’m well under 50 years old, firmly believe that the Big Two’s reluctance to leave the past in the past is one of the factors hurting their ability to reach a larger mainstream audience . . .

. . . and find the “forty cakes” thing absolutely hilarious. It’s an internet meme, dude! Super Dictionary knows no age!

funkygreenjerusalem

March 17, 2011 at 5:43 pm

I didn’t even notice that – AWESOME!

I was too busy being happy about Roberson having Flash discredit what he said in the first part of the abortion that was JMS’s Grounded.
They really should remove JMS’s name from writing this comic – it’s pretty clear Roberson isn’t following anything more than the briefest of outlines from him, and now he’s undoing things characters said to set up the storyline.

Wow, Michael…. thanks for demonstrating how miserable internet grouches can suck the fun out of ANYTHING…

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