Robot 6

‘Man of Steel’ broke Mark Waid’s heart (and other Super-tidbits)

ew-superman coverWith director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel opening today nationwide (many theaters had screenings as early as 12:01 a.m.), it’s impossible to swing a dead Kent without hitting a dozen Superman-related items online or in print. Although most of them are directly related to the Warner Bros. franchise reboot, there are plenty with clear comic-book ties. Here are just a handful of them:

• Superman gets the cover of this week’s Entertainment Weekly, on which Neal Adams and Murphy Anderson’s rendition of the Last Son of Krypton (from December 1972′s Action Comics #419) is given prominence over the movie and TV versions — possibly because Man of Steel star Henry Cavill was featured in April, but hey, we’ll take it. But poor, poor Brandon Routh …

• Mark Waid, whose 2003-2004 miniseries Superman: Birthright (with Leinil Francis Yu) influenced Man of Steel, saw the movie last night and tweeted, “That thunder you heard at around 9:15 EST was the sound of my heart breaking in two.” He followed that with a review on his Thrillbent website that he prefaced with, “It’s a good science-fiction movie, but it’s very cold. It’s not a very satisfying super-hero movie. That said, if your favorite part of SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE was Superman standing in the Fortress while Jor-El lectured him, you’re gonna love MAN OF STEEL.”

USA Today‘s Brian Truitt examines “Why Superman is the greatest American hero” in an article that includes quotes from Waid, Scott Snyder, Brad Meltzer and Jim Lee. There’s also a timeline tracing the evolution of Superman’s S emblem.

The Kansas City Star tries to figure out where exactly Smallville is.

• Writing for The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs blog, David Betancourt offers recommended Superman reading.

• The Los Angeles Times’ Hero Complex blog looks at 10 key covers from Superman’s 75-year history. BBC News takes a similar approach.

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Comments

34 Comments

Right. Because Hollywood should make a Superman movie steeped in Silver Age whackadoo to please a jealous comic book creator. Go write more comics that start with IN.

Yeesh, Waid is entitled to his opinion just as much as everyone else. Why the strong reaction? I find interest on his thoughts because of how much I enjoy his comics work.

Damn, Waid’s birthright is my personal definitive superman origin, hate to see him not like it. I wrestled with a lot of “forgiveness” when i saw Iron Man 3. I’ve come to understand the need to make the movie different than the book. Maybe Waid, since he was a writer, is a bit more of a homer than we the readers, but because he is one of my favorite writers I trust his storytelling opinions and im going to see the movie tonight with low expectations now.

My problem with Waid’s review is he’s looking at the character through the eyes of a Superman that’s been in the game a long time and has tons of experience dealing with these situations. That is not this character. It’s a younger Superman who’s first real fight in his life is against a military trained equal with the same power set. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. When he says this Superman is not for him he’s right, because it’s not carrying on the Donner movies for a sixth time, but introducing and entirely new paradigm for the character.

That being said, I understand that a character with 75 years are going to have fans who have it ingrained in them what this character is. Deviating from that path is going to lead to disappointment. It’s just a case of not being able to satisfy everyone. After seeing this movie (I liked it a lot even if it wasn’t perfect), it’s more clear to me then ever that a lot of the history of this character (both in comics and other media) is probably never going to allow for it to get a completely fair or even review from any audience. Too many people see the character or the concept of what could make a good movie with this character in too many ways for it to ever satisfy anymore then half of the audience.

In related news, DC no longer pays royalties to creators if their story/character concepts are used in movies.

https://twitter.com/MarkWaid/status/345411555724251137

“In related news, DC no longer pays royalties to creators if their story/character concepts are used in movies.”

Hey, that’s my Quote of the Day post that I just finished! Don’t steal my thunder!

Why are people on this site bagging on Waid’s opinion? He’s one of the best comic writers in the business. He also wrote “Irredeemable,” the story of a Superman destroying everything with wild abandon like he’s 90′s image character. And everyone on here’s piling on him because he didn’t like the new movie? What the hell, people? The guy loves the character way more than pretty much everyone on the planet, let him vent.

And while I haven’t seen the movie, I have read the spoilers via the AV Club. My heart broke reading THAT.

Mark Waid is probably a bigger Superman fan than the rest of us combined. I’d say his opinion of the film holds some weight.

At least he didn’t give some candy-coated pr friendly bull like a lot of other people do. Let the man have his opinion and respect him for being honest about it.

El Santo, Mikael is a fanboy of DC’s pornographically violent rape comics. He gets this way whenever anyone criticizes DC. I’m surprised he had the time to complain about Waid, since he’s likely still quaking with rage that Comics Alliance came back.

and waid has a point compared to birthright(that had an inexperienced clack deal with things) this movie was a little dark and cold but that’s what movie goers want heart and warmth are out the window

I very much think Mark Waid is entitled to his opinion. But I don’t think that bars his opinion from being able to be discussed. Especially if there are some people who don’t agree with it and further more see some problems with the argument he is making.

I also think name calling as the first poster did, is juvenile and uncalled for. It is possible to understand, respect, and disagree with another person’s opinion.

I also think however big his fandom of the character is, it doesn’t make his opinion of the movie hold any more weight then yours or mine honestly. At the end of the day it’s not up to Mark Waid or CBR or Rotten Tomatoes to make any single viewers decision about this movie other then the viewer. I do think it’s a shame that Mark Waid did have somethings he liked about the movie and people are instead taking the one thing he didn’t like and making that a decision for them not to see the movie. I like making up my own mind. I’d hate to go through life having everyone make up my mind for me before ever seeing or reading anything. Seems like a terribly uninspired way to live your life.

If his heart breaking is all you need to hear to make you not see the movie without any of the context that goes around it (I’ve heard people call Superman cold blooded and harsh in this controversial scene clearly without having seen it because if you actually watch to movie the decision he makes is ANYTHING but) then I really feel like you were championing it to be failure for you to begin with.

At the end of theday, I actually think his extreme fandom for Superman, and more specifically a certain era of Superman in particular, in general makes his bias towards this movie that much greater and for me actually makes it hold less weight.

Right there with you, El Santo. Liked a lot of the movie, but some real wrong-headed thinking in the last hour. And it woulda been so easy to avoid …

I’d put more stock in BIRTHRIGHT-writer Mark Waid’s opinions on MAN OF STEEL than anybody here commenting upon them.

His thoughts on how Superman/Kal-El SHOULD be presented in a $225M WB/DC production certainly holds much more weight and importance to me than those of MoS scripter Goyer (a current H’wood fave tapped for all those ‘Geek’ properties brought to screen)— Producer Nolan (fresh off his sucess in achieving a cinematic
‘DarkKnightverse’ that’s separated from the rest of the established DCU)— and Director Snyder (WB Pictures’ own version of DISNEY/MARVEL’s Whedon or PARAMOUNT’s Bay, choose one).

Haven’t seen the movie yet… but Waid’s words definitely ratcheted down my expectations lower than where it was already. I mean, I won’t go in expecting a DARK KNIGHT drama/gravitas- or AVENGERS celebratory/popcorn- level of enjoyment from MAN OF STEEL— but at least it’ll be better than GREEN LANTERN, right?

(Wonder what does M*ch**l S*c*l thought of the film/Waid’s oberservations?)

Mark Waid just expressed his opinions. He’s a gigantic Superman fan and was honest in his appraisal.

Personally, I’ve read Superman books and watched Superman in other media since I was 4 years old, and I loved the film.

Am I any more right than Waid? Absolutely not. Arguing opinions is fine, but the personal attacks are out of line.

What Mark Waid did to the Legion of Super-Heroes in 1994 is 1,000x worse than anything in this movie.

Jesus Christ, for once Waid offers a thoughtful, nuanced opinion and everyone pounds him for it. There were a lot of things he liked about the movie! What, would you rather he draw moral equivalence between mass murder and saying mean things on the internet?

Goyer went with the easy way out. when superman killed Zod he exiled himself. Every alternative version of him killing someone (the last comic from infamous: god among us comes to mind) ends with Superman going evil and twisted. And to be honest the “not killing” oath is what makes him interesting. Those set of powers could probably let him kill almost every villain in the DCU universe. Where would be the fun in that. What would stop him from killing in the sequels or the JL movies if they ever come out.

There is nothing about Mark Waid that should makes his review any better or worse than my own. He has his thoughts about the movie and I have mine and if I don’t agree with him, then I am perfectly within my rights to say so. Also, honestly, I feel like this review partly comes out of being pissed at not being a part of this project or thinking that he “gets” Superman better than the rest of the plebs. I don’t appreciate ego or condescension from someone in a business that is all about the fans.

“There is nothing about Mark Waid that should makes his review any better or worse than my own.”

Well, he is a pretty swell writer who can turn a phrase like the best of them, and I haven’t seen a lot of comics, movie reviews or other writings by “JD.” But if you have a link to your review, feel free to share it, and we can judge for ourselves who has a better review.

Kory Stephens

June 14, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Nevermind Routh. They left out Kirk Alyn on the cover, too! Harumph!

The point I was trying to make is that there is nothing so special about Mark Waid that I cannot criticize his opinions. He is free to think what he wants about anything and I am free to either agree, disagree, or call him an idiot for his opinions(I am not, in this case, but I reserve the right.) Other posters on this thread seemed to take up the tack(as you yourself do) that because he has written some admittedly great stories, that somehow Mark Waid rides higher than me and I can’t say that I don’t agree with his assessment of something and that I feel like part of his assessment of that film seems to come from jealously and ego with a dash of condescension thrown in for people who enjoyed the movie. I also feel that Waid contradicts himself in his own review in the discussion of Superman killing Zod. At first, he says that Superman does not kill–full stop, but later he talks about how he doesn’t feel that the movie does enough to convince him that Superman had no other option than to decide to take Zod’s life. That admission there suggests to me that, even for him, the movie could have shown a scenario where Superman had no other choice and he would have accepted it, despite previous claims that Superman does not kill, at all, ever.

Kory Stephens

June 14, 2013 at 4:56 pm

For the folks bashing Waid for his opinion, grow the hell up!

“… or call him an idiot for his opinions(I am not, in this case, but I reserve the right.)”

Just so we’re clear, you don’t have that right.

“many theaters had screenings as early as 12:01 a.m”

I saw MOS at 7pm EST last night!!

Waid’s opinions are just that…..”his opinions.

I just saw Man of Steel and loved it. I loved the extended scenes on Krypton, I liked the suit and like Waid I thought the destruction and loss of life was epic, but he was fighting Kryptonians. Only in comic books would Superman fight Kryptonians and there would be no loss of life.

Superman killed Zod ! Boo friggin Ooohh. Faced with the same situation Superman did just that under John Byrne.

Its not your Grandpa’s Superman, no bumbling Clark Kent and Lois already knows.

A Man of Steel I can live with.

Craig Danvers

June 14, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Superman killing and having Jonathon Kent say Clark should have let children die to protect his identity goes against the core of Superman, especially when the character is about hope, not death. In a movie mass marketed toward children, this is not something for children, nor is watching Mr. Kent being killed by a tornado. As for John Byrne, he also had Superman be faced with being in a porn film, so his thoughts on Kal-El are flawed. No one says a film on Superman must be of the most childish of Silver Age tales, and in fact there are many great Superman stories from before Crisis, Bronze or Silver Age even, that are good, but in the long and short of it, Superman (and Supergirl) is about hope and light, rising above a planet’s death, and is not about being dark, “gritty” and embracing death.

Kory Stephens

June 15, 2013 at 7:47 am

^^^THIS

Marvelbunny, you hit the nail on the head. Plus, he was writing for DC during John Byrne’s run, he seems like one of those guys that only cares about a story if he/she wrote it.

I’d agree that no one’s opinion is intrinsically worth more than anyone else’s. though I can understand people being interested on those who are professional creators. But then, I think Jim Lee said he loved it, so you’re back to square one.

What *can* be better or worse are the arguments we use to justify our tastes.

Well, since Mark Waid’s site is now closed to comments, I’ll comment here.

I cannot refute any of Mark Waid’s arguments.

That’s not to say I agree with him.

In Mark Waid’s view, Superman – Clark Kent – learns all the moral, upright behaviour from his parents. And pretty much every incarnation of Superman has that as part of Clark Kent’s central core of who he is.

In my view, Man of Steel plays with that, and announces it will do so fairly early on, when [SPOILER] in a flashback, Clark and Jonathan are talking about the school bus incident, and Clark asks if he should have let all those people die, and Jonathan replies, “Maybe”. In no previous incarnation of Jonathan Kent would he have said, “Maybe.” In my opinion, his answer would have been an emphatic, “No.”

Jonathan’s later sacrifice – risking his life to save the family dog, and then choosing to sacrifice his life to protect Clark’s secret – shows where he priorities lie. It’s no wonder that the Clark Kent of Man of Steel has to spend years wandering to figure stuff out. He’s driven to help, but driven to hide, and has trouble resolving the conflict.

I think that., in the Man of Steel universe, all the moral lessons Clark learns from Jonathan and Martha Kent are planted, but they haven’t yet sprouted. I think that two people cause these seeds to germinate and grow. One of them is Lois, and one of them is Zod.

Lois’ contribution is her acceptance of this alien, her determination to track him down so that she can let him know that she accepts him and respects him. And as she comes to love him, he learns that he can find a home for his heart among humans.

Zod’s contribution is force Kal-El to kill him. Kal-El killed Zod, and hates it. He will never kill again. He will, from now on, find another way.

I will be very disappointed if some of this isn’t played out in Man of Steel 2. Here’s hoping…

JMW: I think your talking about Spider-Man in that penultimate paragraph.

Hi, Jonlz. Thanks for replying.

Spider-man? In what way?

Everyone’s saying how Superman was new at being a hero so he didn’t know how to protect the people from his fight with the Kryptonians. Um… Why not fly to a deserted area? It’s not that hard. They would have chased after him and finished the fight wherever he was. They followed him to Smallville when he made Zod crash into the gas station. It doesn’t take 10 years of experience to just fly somewhere else.

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