"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Comic Books, Film
Artist Juan Carlos Ruiz Burgos recently added the above Zatanna illustration to his deviantART gallery, drawing our attention to his occasional series of frankly amazing tributes to the classic Saturday Evening Post covers using DC Comics characters.
In addition to Zatanna, surrounded on stage by white rabbits, there’s a heartwarming depiction of Clark Kent casually reading The Daily Planet as a little boy gapes in awe at Action Comics #1, The Joker and Harley Quinn on the run like Bonnie and Clyde, Wonder Woman listening thoughtfully to a little girl, and an autumnal Poison Ivy piece that’s probably not safe for work.
As Man of Steel, with its spiritual themes, soars toward a $590 million worldwide box-office haul, the Vatican’s official newspaper has turned its attention to the faiths of other prominent superheroes, asking in the headline, “Is the Hulk Catholic?”
The answer, according to L’Osservatore Romano writer Gaetano Vallini, is yes, and he points to the wedding of Bruce Banner and Betty Ross as the most concrete evidence of this. “Bruce Banner, the incredible green man, in fact married his beloved Betty Ross in a church and a Catholic priest presided at the ceremony,” he writes in the full-page article. “There are other indications dispersed among the hundreds of comic strips dedicated to him that are said to unequivocally reveal his faith.”
Of course, Adherents.com, the go-to source for the religious affiliations of comic-book characters (and other figures, both real and fictional), lists the Hulk as a lapsed Catholic, but the website appears preoccupied with the Ultimate and live-action TV versions of the character. A final determination may require Pope Francis to intercede.
Friday was “Smallville Day” in Hutchinson, Kansas, as the city changed its name for 24 hours to pay tribute to Superman’s hometown. The Hutchinson News, however, honored another name that’s synonymous with Superman, as the newspaper changed its name to The Daily Planet: Smallville Edition for the day. Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Perry White and Jimmy Olsen all receive credits in the paper, while several past “Supermen” get their photos on the front page (poor Brandon Routh once again gets the shaft).
On that same day, Superman joined the inventor of basketball, 1970s rock band Kansas and the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry Regiment as the 2013 class of the Kansas Hall of Fame. Experience Hutch details some of the other activities that occurred on Smallville Day and notes it’s been good for tourism.
“The Smallville push has already brought international visitors to Hutchinson, in anticipation of it happening. It will bring other visitors who want to experience Smallville as well. It’s not for everyone, as most tourism is not. But it’s important to a segment of the population and their money is as good as everyone else’s,” the website writes.
Check out the front of “The Daily Planet” after the jump.
It’s not exactly what three residents had in mind last year when they launched a campaign to change the name of Hutchinson, Kansas, to Smallville, but this week city council voted to proclaim June 21 as “Smallville Day” in honor of Superman.
That’s the same day the Man of Steel will be inducted into the Kansas Hall of Fame, alongside “the Father of Basketball” James Naismith, the band Kansas, Menninger Clinic founders Charles, Karl and Will Menninger, and the Union Army’s 1st Regiment Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry.
The push to rename Hutchinson was begun last year by friends Ben Eisiminger, KC McNeely and Christopher Wietrick, who noticed similarities between their city and the fictional hometown of Clark Kent — among them, a similar location and population (many more are detailed in the video below). The city of 42,080 also has a Clark Road and a Kent Road.
The Hutchinson News reports that given the 75th anniversary of Superman, the looming release of Warner Bros.’ Man of Steel and the Hall of Fame induction, Wietrick thought it was a perfect time to approach the city council with the idea. Tuesday morning, the members voted unanimously in support of the “Smallville Day” proclamation, which will be read at the June 18 by Mayor Bob Bush.
On June 21 the editor and publisher of The Hutchinson News will travel to Topeka to accept Clark Kent’s induction into the Kansas Hall of Fame, alongside Laura Siegel Larson, the daughter of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel.
Awards | Although the website for the 40th Angoulême International Comics Festival is down, several outlets managed to pick up on the official selections for the 2013 festival, to be held Jan. 31-Feb. 3. Contenders for book of the year include Big Questions by Anders Nilsen, Daytripper by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, Fables by Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges and others, The Hive by Charles Burns, The Nao of Brown by Glyn Dillon, Paying For It by Chester Brown, and The Walking Dead Vol. 16 by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard. Fatale Vol. 1 by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, and The Green River Killer by Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case were among those named in the crime comic category. [BoDoi]
Publishing | Bluewater Productions Publisher Darren G. Davis isn’t afraid to talk about real numbers: Bluewater’s income is about $2 million a year, and the most popular titles sell 5,000 to 10,000 copies apiece, although others never make it out of the triple digits. And while he admits he doesn’t have a thick skin, Davis says he has gotten used to criticism: “I’ve learned that I’m not my company. When they attack my company, they are not attacking me personally.” [The Columbian]
Conventions | Jason Knize makes a case for New York Comic Con potentially becoming “the Comic Con” next year, surpassing Comic-Con International as the completion of renovations on the Jacob Javits Center frees up an additional 90,000 square feet of space. However, he notes that space and attendance — NYCC’s 116,000 this year versus CCI’s 130,000 or so — certainly aren’t the only determining factors. [Panels on Pages]
Comics | Don MacPherson, who’s a newspaper reporter as well as a comics blogger, ponders Clark Kent’s departure from The Daily Planet in this week’s Superman #13: “In the scene in which Clark issues his ideological proclamation, Perry White retorts, ‘Go easy on us mortals, Clark. Times are changing and print is a dying medium.’ The challenges the Planet faces in the story reflect not only real-world ones in the newspaper industry, but also those faced by DC Comics itself as it struggles to stave off ebbing readership and find a way to foster an audience for online comics. Digital-publishing initiatives in the world of comics aside, I feel it important to argue Perry is wrong. Print isn’t a dying medium. What’s dying are past business models.” [Eye on Comics]
New Superman writer Scott Lobdell is wasting no time putting his mark on the relaunched series: With this week’s Issue 13, he shakes up Clark Kent’s life, as well as one of the foundational elements of the Man of Steel’s mythology. Warning: If you don’t want details of Superman #13 spoiled before Wednesday’s debut, turn back now.
Even as the debate still rages over last week’s revelation that Superman and Wonder Woman begin a romantic relationship in the new issue of Justice League, The Associated Press introduced a potential new wrinkle: that in DC Comics’ New 52, not only have the Man of Steel and Lois Lane never dated — something readers have known for more than a year — but that they “likely” never will.
However, a DC spokesman told Comic Book Resources the latter assertion “definitely” didn’t come from the publisher, which has characterized the story development as “the new status quo,” one made possible by the year-old relaunch that wiped clean much of the history of the DC Universe.
Have you heard? Some maniacal super villain has kidnapped the Justice League and turned them into… tater tots? Don’t worry, super friends, it’s all part of a unique promotion DC is doing with the fast food chain Sonic Drive-In.
Available “for a limited time only” with purchase of one of Sonic’s Wacky Pack Kids’ Meals, these “Super Tots” come in 10 varieties: Superman, Clark Kent, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Flash, Hawkgirl, Aquaman, Supergirl, Bizarro, and Plastic Man. Batman and Green Lantern are conspicuously absent, but I’d chalk that up to the adult world of licensing agreements and what not given their recent movies.
This isn’t the first time comic heroes have shown up in fast food kids meals, but it’s arguably one of the most deliciously cute ones in recent memory. Check out all the little guys after the jump, courtesy of Sonic.
As part of their promotion of September’s new Superman #1, DC Comics and the New York Daily News are asking fans to vote on whether Lois Lane’s new boyfriend “Jonathan Carroll is an upgrade from Clark Kent.” That’s the way the Daily News puts it, anyway. On DC’s Source blog, they phrase the question a bit differently: “Are you Team Superman or Team Jonathan?”
It’s difficult to set aside feelings about Twilight when that’s exactly what DC’s alluding to. One of the biggest criticisms of the Twilight series is that its lead character is largely defined by who she’s dating. Robin Browne (by way of Andrew Futral) put it well when she compared Twilight to Harry Potter (though her quote is often attributed to Stephen King): “Harry Potter is all about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity…Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.”
It’s frustrating to hear DC express Lois Lane’s story in similar terms. By asking readers to join either Team Superman or Team Jonathan, DC’s suggesting that what’s really important isn’t whatever’s going on in the rest of Lois’ life, but who she ends up with. I hope there’s much more to it than that.
All we’re seeing is two pages from Superman #1. I hope that what we’re not seeing is that “boyfriend” is a hyperbolic term and that Lois isn’t really interested in this new douchebag. I hope it’s a one-night stand. I also hope that it’s a good long time before she sees anything in Clark Kent beyond simple friendship. And vice versa, come to think of it. I hope that DC allows her to be her own character before throwing the messiness of a relationship with Clark/Superman at her. Show her dating, sure. Let’s see what kind of guys she likes. That’s part of who she is. But I sure as hell want to see what she’s like in other areas too. I hope that she’s not just a prize for Superman to win.
It’s just that based on DC’s marketing so far, I don’t hope it very strongly.
When DC Comics confirmed on Monday that, as of its September relaunch, the 15-year marriage of Clark Kent and Lois Lane never happened, the publisher tossed in another juicy relationship detail: “Lois Lane is dating a colleague at the Daily Planet (and his name isn’t Clark Kent).” Could it be Steve Lombard or Ron Troupe? Perry White or Jimmy Olsen?
It turns out it’s none of those. Instead, the New York Daily News tells us this morning, Lois’ boyfriend is … Jonathan Carroll. No, not the award-winning fantasy author. The blond beau is a new character debuting in September’s Superman #1, where, judging by the preview, he receives a shirtless introduction to Clark and the readers.
Superman #1, by George Perez and Jesus Merino, goes on sale Sept. 28. Expect more details to emerge at Comic-Con International during this afternoon’s “DC Comics: The New 52″ presentation and Friday’s Superman panel.
Updated: DC has released a better-quality preview of Superman #1. You can see Jonathan’s two-page introduction after the break.
Just ahead of Comic-Con International in San Diego, the New York Post has unveiled a first look at what’s apparently the actual cover for September’s Action Comics #1, part of DC Comics’ line-wide relaunch.
Drawn by series artist Rags Morales, the cover is obviously different from the one that premiered last month, playing up action — lowercase “a” — rather than the iconic imagery of the original Action Comics #1. The art in the Post is small, but it appears as if the numbers of the police cruisers are “19” and “38,” the year the series, and Superman, debuted. It’s possible that the earlier cover could be used as the variant; however, the solicitation credits that to Jim Lee and Scott Williams.
The newspaper notes what was already fairly clear: that while most of the relaunch titles, including Batman and Green Lantern, “will showcase DC’s iconic heroes when they’re well into their careers,” Action will dwell on the early adventures of the Man of Steel — during which he wore blue jeans, a T-shirt and a little red cape.
“We felt it was time for the big adventures of a 21st-century Paul Bunyan who fights for the weak and downtrodden against bullies of all kinds, from robot invaders and crime lords to corrupt city officials,” writer Grant Morrison says, building on his earlier description of the superhero as “a Bruce Springsteen version of Superman.” “The new look reflects his status as a street-level defender of the ordinary man and woman.”
Update: DC has released a larger version of Morales’ cover, along with additional details about Action Comics and Superman, confirming earlier reports that Clark Kent and Lois Lane aren’t married in the New DCU: “Clark Kent is single and living on his own. He has never been married. […] Lois Lane is dating a colleague at the DAILY PLANET (and his name isn’t Clark Kent) and she has a new position with the paper.” Read the rest after the break.