"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Film, Comic Books
Creators | Although he almost missed the anniversary, Mark Waid celebrates 25 years as a comics professional by recalling his first day of work at the DC Comics offices: “If you’re wondering what an Associate Editor does – or did in 1987 – I’ll list my job duties those first two days. Ready? Here we go: I erased Green Arrow pages. Eight hours a day for two days.” [MarkWaid.com]
Publishing | DC Comics’ Senior Vice President of Sales Bob Wayne and Vice President of Marketing John Cunningham are pretty upbeat about DC’s most recent graphic novels — with some justification, as a number have made The New York Times graphic books best-seller list. “Batman: Earth One has been a runaway bestseller for us, even better than Superman: Earth One,” Wayne said. “People are familiar with the Superman: Earth One title and we don’t have explain what the new book is about.” [Publishers Weekly]
Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen—specifically Alan Moore’s side of it—was Topic A in comics circle for a few weeks after DC announced Before Watchmen a while back (10 years, in blog time). During that time, one of the many “arguments” anonymous online commenters were making against Moore’s expression that he wishes DC wasn’t doing Before Watchmen was that since the work featured characters somewhat inspired by the DC-owned Charlton characters, he should therefore be cool with DC continuing to exploit them.
Moore and Watchmen and that argument were all quite present in my mind while reading Supurbia #1, or Grace Randolph’s Supurbia, as it appears on the cover of the issue. The premise is “superhero Desperate Housewives,” and that premise is so strong in the first issue you can practically hear that very pitch ringing in your ears as you read.
The super-people are all obvious and, in the first issue at least, barely-extrapolated-from analogues of DC (and two Marvel) superheroes: Sovereign, the caped demigod in constant Superman Is A Dick-mode; Night Fox, billionaire playboy with an underground cave lair; Batu, warrior woman from an ancient culture of warrior women; Cosmic Champion, current member of the Cosmic Corps who inherited his mantle; and patriotic super-soldier Marine Omega and his grown-up sidekick, Bulldog.
It may simply be symptomatic of my having been reading superhero comic books for too long now, but when by the time writer Grace Randolph and her artist partner Russell Dauterman introduced the third obvious analogue, I started sighing. Moore didn’t invent the use of analogues, of course—Marvel and DC were using thinly veiled versions of one another’s characters to comment on them for fans’ sakes at least as far back as the last Silver Age—but Watchmen sure made the strategy more present for the generation of comics creators and readers that followed that work.