Friday, December 11, 2009

The real Batman set to return!

The original Batman is set to return from the "dead" in 2010.
DC Comics will have a six-issue miniseries, "The Return of Bruce Wayne," starting in April.
Wiped out from existence by Darkseid's omega beams at the end of the latest "Crisis" in 2008, Dick Grayson (formerly Robin) has most recently been "Batman."
As the "world's greatest detective," Bruce Wayne is lost in the timestream, with much of his memory lost.
He wanders from caveman times to the old west and more, seeking answers of where he belongs.
Everyone knew the real Batman wouldn't remain "dead" forever. And, it has never been said the omega beams "kill" you -- they wipe you from existence.
Batman is DC's hottest property of late and no one can replace Bruce Wayne for long as the Caped Crusader.
Time travel plots can be a real kick, if handled well and so even non-Batman comic readers might want to consider this mini-series.
Of course, if Superman showed up somewhere in the series too, that would be excellent, since the Man of Steel was there when Batman was wiped out.
--In a related matter, DC has a revamped "World's Finest" series running. It is a weak series and is an insult to the original "World's Finest" team of Superman and Batman.
I don't care for it and if it fades away, that would not be much of a loss.
(Above image is from the "Brave and the Bold" animated series -- a great production, but again one where Superman is strangely absent!)

Another version of Superman; "War of the Supermen"

Superman turns 72 in 2010 and despite the non-milestone age, it will still be a pivotal year for the Man of Steel in the DC Comics world.
Forget that there's no new major motion picture starring Superman on the horizon. DC is looking to pick up that slack and here's three reasons to prove it:
1. Another Superman reboot is planned in "Superman: Earth One." This is a new graphic novel coming out sometime in 2010 that will retell the Man of Tomorrow's roots in an all-new continuity.
Never mind that "Earth One" used to be where the mainstream Superman was supposed to live. This new "Earth One" is apparently going to be different than that.
Graphic novels can be expensive, but if this new alternate Earth storyline is creative, it should be well worth it. Also, hopefully it will explore more of Superman's teenage years, as they were skimmed over in the current "Superman: Secret Origin."
Earth Prime was traditionally our real world; Earth One was where Superman of the main Superman comics lived; and Earth Two was where the older, original Man of Steel lived. Is all that out the window now?
2. "War of the Supermen" is another series that will spotlight the Man of Steel — and many super-powered men. It premieres on May 1 on "Free Comic Book Day" with issue No. 0 (and as the occasion suggests, it really is free for first issue).
This saga appears that it might be Superman and many other fellow Kryptonians in some kind of battle.
Is this the follow up to the "New Krypton" series? It looks like it is.
DC boasts that this series will show that "no cows are sacred."
3. The "New Krypton" series will conclude on Feb. 3 with its final issue No. 12, where a skull-shaped ship is headed for New Krypton. Could that be Brainiac?
This series needs a great villain and this computerized alien is a great one.
(in fact, if a new Superman movie is ever made, Brainiac should be the villain, not the overdone on the silver screen Lex Luthor!)
This Krypton series has dragged on far too long and its conclusion hopefully means that Superman will return to Action and Superman comics, where he has been absent for a year (minus one brief appearance).
With some lackluster super-hero wanabees having taken over those two comics, for the real deal returning would be great news for 2010.
(Image is from DC Comics.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bring Superman back to his own comics!

Superman, the star of DC Comic's Action and Superman comics has been absent from them (excluding one brief appearance) for some 10 months now.
What a lame idea!
DC has filled those comics with substitutes and only Mon-El is worth anything.
The rest are junk!
DC's plot of a military group gunning for Kryptonians has gone on way too long and is getting stale.
It's bad enough that DC has tens of thousands of super-powered Kryptonians flying around, but you just can't leave the star of a comic out for a year.
(The only time that worked was when Superman was "dead" after the Doomsday battle for about a year in the early 1990s.)
My 20 copies of Action and Superman comics are next to worthless and their only value is to complete my collections of all such comics since about 1963.
(The DC plan is that Superman will likely return after a year, when "World of New Krypton" saga runs its course.... in 12 issues.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How "original" is Superman?

OK, so Superman is simply NOT as original as I thought he was and here's why:
DC Comics in launching a shadowy new universe, “First Wave,” in March 2010, where super-powers or aliens do not exist.
It features the return of "Doc Savage," a hero from pulp fiction in the early 1930s.
(“Batman-Doc Savage Special," $4.99, is now out and is the prologue to an eventual six-part miniseries to focus on this new, pulp-inspired universe.)
Anyway, when you examine Doc Savage, there are at least three things that Superman may have borrowed from him.
(Savage started in 1933, Superman in 1938.)
1. Doc Savage often retreats to his “Fortress of Solitude” in the Arctic. That reference pre-dates Superman’s origin.
2. “Man of Steel”? Does that sound reminiscent of “Man of Bronze," who Doc Savage was nicknamed before Superman came along?
3. Savage’s real name is Clark Savage, Jr. Know any other hero named Clark?
So, pulp fiction may be much more an influence on comic books than I earlier thought.
DC Comics is also not being secretive about billing Doc Savage as the 'superman" in this First Wave universe.
Doc Savage — “He’s our superman, but as you notice, in the lowercase sense,” DC Comics states of the revived character.
Doc Savage is also not to be confused with “Doc Sampson,” a gamma-powered Marvel Comics character.
(However, Marvel did feature Doc Savage in an early 1970s comic series. DC ran a Doc Savage series in the late 1980s and Dark Horse Comics did a series with Savage in 1995, so he's a hero who has been around, but has never found a permanent home.)
Besides Batman and Doc Savage, “First Wave” will also feature “The Spirit,” a former cop, as a force for good. There’s also a Black Canary, The Avenger and Rima the Jungle girl in this new, alternate universe. Savage is also backed up by his “Fabulous Five.”
The "First Wave" variation of Batman has the Dark Knight at a youthful and inexperienced age. It also has Batman carrying a .45 pistol.
(Photograph at the top is of the prologue to "First Wave," "Batman-Doc Savage," a November 2009 comic that introduces a new universe. Courtesy from DC Comics.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Who is better, DC or Marvel?

Who is better, DC Comics or Marvel?
Marvel certainly has the better overall movies these days (with the exception of "Dark Knight Returns").
However, I believe DC has the best super-heroes, ones with piz-azz and flare.
Mike Justice, former employee at Salt Lake's Night Flight Comics, used to tell me simply "DC is better."
Now this is not to conclude that I hate Marvel. I've always been an Iron Man and Hulk fan.
Some argue that Marvel is better because its super-heroes are generally more believable. Well, to that I say: I want my heroes less believable.
In one of the X-Men movies, the heroes fall out of a plane and only one of them can fly. In the DC Comics Universe, that just wouldn't happen and would be a lame movie plot, as many more heroes fly.
If the X-Men and Justice League could battle under independent terms (and not the usual DC-Marvel crossover arrangement), the JLA would win hands-down and quickly.
Even if the JLA fought the Avengers, the JLA would come out on top.
DC may not always handle their characters best, but their properties have the most potential and excitement.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Comic book price history

OK, so I was on a government inflation calculator Web site recently and decided to see how comic book costs have changed over time.
What I found:
--When comics were 12 cents in 1968, that equals 74 cents today. So, that 12 cent price was truly a bargain.
--Today's average $2.99 DC Comic book was the equivalent of 48 cents in 1968 and so the reality is that comic books today cost 4 times what they did 41 years ago.

--The oversized Superman vs. Muhammad Ali comic I bought in 1978 sold for $2.50. That's the equivalent of $8.28 today.

--Here's a history of average comic book prices, courtesy of Wikipedia

1938-1962: .10 cents
1962–1969: .12
1969–1971: .15
1971–1974: .20
1974–1976: .25
1976–1977: .30
1977–1979: .35
1979–1980: .40
1980–1981: .50
1982–1985: .60
1985–1986: .65
1986–1988: .75
1988–1991: 1.00
1992–1995: 1.25
1995–1996: 1.50
1996–1997: 1.95
1997–2000: 1.99
2000–2005: 2.25
2005–2006: 2.50
2006–2009: 2.99

The strangest guest stars with Superman ...

What are the strangest/weirdest Superman comic book stories you've ever seen?
I've watched Superman from the early 1960s to the present and here are my top 3 oddballs:
1. "Superman vs. Muhammad Ali."
This oversized 1978 comic reads as if Ali himself wrote it.
But I've got to admit the story portrayed Ali exactly as he really seems to be.
The biggest kick of this comic are all the real-life VIPs portrayed on the cover. A special index identifies them all. You could never get away with that today.

2. "Superman Meets Jerry Lewis."
In 1968, this comic took the Man of Steel to a new low. The story idea seemed to cross so many imaginary boundaries into real life, that it seemed awful.
Was Superman meeting "I Love Lucy" next, I wondered? (Later, I saw the "Lucy" TV episode where George Reeves guest starred and that did work great.)

3. "Superman and Bugs Bunny."
In 2000, this comic came out. It was odd, but after seeing Bugs and company play real NBA players in "Space Jam" (1996), it seemed more plausible.
However, the story had no spark and this is one alternate universe I hope Superman never visits again.

Honorable mention:
When funny man Don Rickles appeared in a Superman comic, Jimmy Olsen, No. 139, in the early 1970s.
To have extra wicked villains of the "New Gods" and Rickles together seemed a mismatch, to say the least.

What's left?
--Superman hasn't met "Archie," yet, that I know of.
--"Donald Duck" isn't a likely meeting for Superman now that Disney has acquired Marvel comics.
--What about Charlie Brown?
--What about the "Simpsons"?
--There's also "Futurama," and "Family Guy."
Since my top 3 oddball pairings were done, any of the above are also do-able in the same weird light.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

How many times has Superman died?

UPDATED May 31, 2016--

Many recall the famous time in 1992 when Superman died fighting Doomsday and returning to life about a year later.
However, he died at least four other times BEFORE that most famous incident in the comics.

(That doesn't count all the so-called "imaginary tales" or the what if? "Elseworld" stories out there ….)

Here's a synopsis of the 7 times the Man of Steel has perished in the comic books (and obviously returned to life, or will):

Some SPOILERS ahead .....

1. 1992: Superman is killed fighting Doomsday in a widely publicized comic book landmark event. He returns to life a year later, without his powers. They return shortly after a Kryptonite weapon is fired at Superman, but hits an artificial Kryptonian being (the "eradicator") first. returning his abilities.

2. April 1977: Count Crystal, an unknown master of magic, kills Superman. The Justice League, led by the Phantom Stranger, travels to a realm of dead souls to bring Superman's spirit back before a devil creature permanently captures his soul.

3. Nov. 1971: - World's Finest Comics. Clark Kent is hypnotized into thinking he needs to help kill his alter ego, Superman. He obtains a powerful magical wand and is killed when Doctor Light, a supervillain, uses the weapon. Batman gets the wand back and reverses the spell to bring the Kryptonian back to life.

4. July 1966: - Superman comics. Zunial, the ``Murder Man,'' also an alien, kills Superman with a Kryptonite ray. However, a Superman android some villains had built and designed for combat training to act like Superman himself gave up his artificial life to bring the Man of Steel back.

5. 2008: In the "ALL Star Superman" 12-issue story, Superman dies. Lex Luthor infected him with too much power and he goes into the heart of the sun to die at the end of the story.

6. April 2016 -- the JLA comic, No. 8, Superman is shown as dead in the book's last panel. In his battle with Rao, another Kryptonian who had extra power from many human life energies, Superman suffered a collapsed lung and liver damage, but he kept fighting. 

7. April 2016-May 2016: In Superman comic No. 51 (and other comics with Superman in this same time period), he is declared as dying as a result of the fire pits of Apokolips, kryptonite that powered him up temporarily when he was powerless; and also as a result of his battle with Rao. This "New 52" : Superman from 4 1/2 years ago, died in Superman issue No. 52 and is replaced by the "Lois and Clark" Superman, a Man of Steel who is actually the real deal -- the pre-Flashpoint Superman (and who is older and who is married to Lois Lane, with a grade school age son). This is actually a case when a "Superman" will NOT be coming back to life.

Two significant times when Superman almost died:
1. Action Comics, April-August 1968: In a five-part saga, Clark Kent is hypnotized to want to kill Superman, and he inflicts himself with Virus X, a fatal disease from Krypton. He nearly dies, but during his supposed cremation in the hottest star in the galaxy, the virus is burned off and he's restored to full power.
2. Action Comics, April 1970: In a story titled ``Even a Superman Dies,'' a time-traveling Superman becomes more than one million years old and is nearly killed by a weapon Lex Luthor let loose to search for the Man of Steel centuries ago. Superman is healed by a robot and is flung into the time stream by a comet - going so far into the future that he returns full circle to the present and is restored to his youth.

The latest "fooled ya" death of Superman:
-December 2013: A "Superman" dies in "DC Universe vs. Masters of the Universe" issue No. 2, through the magic sword of He Man. However, this was a magical copy of Superman and not the real deal.

A Superman clone death:
In "Justice League 3001," No. 6, (December 2015), a clone of Superman in the year 3001 has his head blasted off in one of the most grisly of deaths in comics.
While that was sad in one sense, this reborn Man of Steel was nothing of the sort in a future sort of "Justice League." He bragged endlessly, even though he could not fly and never seemed to do anything "Super." Obviously, he didn't even have the original Superman's full invulnerability.
AND, a Supergirl -- apparently a real one from the past, was there to take his place in the Justice League.

NOTE that DC Comics in their "Earth 2" stories did have Darkseid's minions imprison Superman and he eventually died on that alternate Earth trying to save the planet in a 2015 story.

(Don't read below if you haven't seen "Batman v. Superman"!!)

Of course, in the "Batman v. Superman" movie, the Man of Steel does perish and is buried .... another of his "deaths."

(-Photo is courtesy of a DC Comics poster from the late 1980s)

Monday, October 12, 2009

2 Smallville shortcomings ...

OK, I faithfully watch Smallville on TV each week and it is definitely a different re-telling of the Superman legend.
However, I have 2 problems with where the series is going:
1. The absence of eyeglasses on Clark Kent. He's now working at the Daily Planet as a young reporter and yet has no eyeware! How is that supposed to work?
That's not true to an absolute, main theme in the Superman legend.
How are people not supposed to recognize him in his two different identities, if he lacks glasses?
This is too late in the game to be adding glasses, since he sits by Lois Lane now at the Daily Planet.
Even if the Smallville series concludes BEFORE he becomes Superman, that's a pretty big loose end to not address -- his lack of glasses.
2. "The Blur," as he is known now, lacks some significant Super-Powers he should have now. A lack of flight has been addressed in the show, in that Jor-El has told Kal-El that his too human thinking is why he can't fly.
(But Kal-El does have a Legion flight ring and why he has that, is concerned about not flying and doesn't use the ring is a flat-out contradiction in the series.)
However, he also doesn't have telescopic vision at all and is X-ray vision seems much too primitive at times, only seeing a view of skeletons, when he's looking through walls and things for people.
I believe one upcoming episode this season will have Jor-El giving Kal-El a temporary ability to read minds.
I think Kal-El needs episodes that explore all his regular powers, before they add new ones….

New twist on Halloween -- the Joker and Catwoman

I visited Lagoon Amusement Park, Farmington, Ut., for their "Frightmares" Halloween event.
One of their musical sideshows included Joker and the Catwoman, both from the Batman world.
Seemed kind of strange at first, but it eventually seemed to fit.
Joker and Catwoman dancing and singing along side a mummy, witch, wolfman, etc.
This Joker really looked and acted like the real thing.
Ended up being quite a kick to watch.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

DC editors: Re-do "Immortal Superman" story

To the DC Comics editors:

I'd like you to consider re-doing the 1970 Silver age Superman tale, "The Immortal Superman."
I don't think this was a GREAT story, but it was a great story IDEA and it could be expanded and improved significantly now.
Action Comics No. 385 (Feb. 1970) started this three-part tale and now that the Legion is back in Superman's life, the timing for it is right.
Some of the best sci-fi out there involves time travel and this could be a very imaginative work.

(Note: I regularly purchase DC Comics products. Occasionally, I do receive some free comic books from DC, but NOT the comic or item blogged about here, unless stated otherwise.)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Review of "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies"

The latest DC Comics animated movie, "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" is now available ($19.98-$29.99 suggested retail prices, depending on the version).
I thought the just over 60-minute video was great. I was never bored and if you love action and fight scenes — this story has the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight taking on some of their worst villains all at once!
They even fight some super-heroes and that adds a whole new twist to standard comic battles!
Even the ending had some surprises, as it does not absolutely follow the graphic novel it is based on (though it does for the majority).
I thought the music could have been a little more rousing and would have prefered it to be more like the other DC animated movies.
Also, Superman's face was a lot different in this video than the previous DC animated creators. I'm not an artist or art expert, but I simply preferred some of the previous works in this regard.
If you think the purchase price is high, I'm sure Wal-Mart will soon sell it for more like $14-ish. Cheaper deals on it may also soon be found on the Internet.
I'm now looking forward to the "Earth 2" DC animated adventure.
And. I still think DC is plain dumb if making "Secret Identity" into an animated production isn't on their list!
(Accompanying photo is courtesy of DC Comics.)

(Note: I regularly purchase DC Comics products. Occasionally, I do receive some free comic books from DC, but NOT the comic or item blogged about here, unless stated otherwise.)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Star Trek vs. Batman?

If you want some nice offbeat entertainment, go to this Web site:

A 3-part, pretty spiffy story of Batman and Robin meeting the original Star Trek is to be enjoyed there.
Not a Superman thing, but Joker is great and Batman is more like Adam West's version.
The real shortcoming with these productions is that they give Star Trek's creator, the late Gene Roddenberry, a lot of credit, but none to DC Comics or Batman's creator .... Bob Kane.

(Note: I regularly purchase DC Comics products. Occasionally, I do receive some free comic books from DC, but NOT the comic or item blogged about here, unless stated otherwise.)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Too many Kryptonians!!!!

One of the worst Superman plots ever, in my opinion, is to have too many Kryptonians running around.
Now I should clarify and note that I mean full-size Kryptonians, as Kandor in a bottle works for me.
The old "Lois and Clark" series in the early 1990s was the first to try this as one of its episodes had dozens of people from Krypton rambling around. That was one of the worst shows of that entire series.
DC Comics is currently having its "Superman: World of New Krypton" miniseries approaching its 7th issue in a 12-part run. This series has 100,000 plus super-powered men and women flying around.
Next, the current "Smallville" has dozens of Kryptonians featured in with the return of Zod. Now, they initially lack their super-powers, though.
The whole base concept of Superman is that he is rare, almost one of a kind.
Dilute that and the "S" shield seems to mean little.
I'm not enjoying either the current "Smallville" or "World of New Krypton" much, because they have little spark or imagination. The sooner they end and a new plot takes over, the better for me.
"World of Krypton" also includes so many new weapons that can affect or kill super-powered beings that it is pitiful. To be consistent, DC would have to redefine Superman's invulnerability after this miniseries ends ...

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Superman reboot .... starting over

I recall being shocked back in the mid-1980s, when Superman was rebooted. His origin was redone. He was never a Superboy in the retelling and his powers didn't start until his late teens. He was also less powerful, less strong,less fast.
Perhaps the success of the "Smallville" TV series is a factor in this, but as of late September 2009, Superman is being redone again and he's back to being Superboy, as told in "Superman: Secret Origin," a six-part miniseries.
The Legion of Super-heores has been lame for more than 20 years with no Superboy, the group's inspiration and yet now the Man of Steel is back to 1,000 years in the future too.
If DC Comics wanted Superman to appeal more to pre-teenagers, you'd think they would have been wise enough to have never discarded Superboy, but they did.
A return to Superboy should especially excite younger audiences again.
Supermnan's costume also looks to have returned to its indestructible state again too in this reboot.
Other returns to the pre-1985 era in the latest reboot process:
--Lex Luthor grew up in Smallville.
--Lana Lang knew about Clark's powers early on.
--Clark's glasses are made of Kryptonian glass from his rocket ship.
--The Legion comes calling for Superboy.
I like this reboot so far and it is adding some new fresh twists too, like the Kryptonian glass keeping Superman's erratic heat vision in check.
You can also see the "Smallville" show's imprint in this reboot.
So, I say yes to the "new" Adventures of Superman and Superboy.

How Superman, a fictional character, has truly improved my life ...

Ok, Superman isn't real in the proper sense. But this fictional character has nevertheless affected my life and it has probably been for the better!
Here are some ways the Man of Steel has affected me:
1. A daring spirit?
I recall at age 8 or so, jumping off my grandfather's chicken coop roof wearing a red cape. Silly? Maybe, but leaping off a 15-foot-tall roof (fortunately onto grass) was no small feat for someone that age. Superman's legend promoted me to be more daring.
I eventually tried to climb my other grandfather's taller barns in Idaho (not jump off, but to conquer). I did have some accidents and the wind got knocked out of me once when I slide off such a barn roof.
2. Superman's legacy seemed to make me more positive.
As a first or second-grader, I recall having a recurring nightmare about being in the middle of a large field and a bear coming along to get me.I just stood there, waiting for the bear to reach me. No weapon, no escape. That was my first nightmare.
But as I hit my late teen years, I recall having that dream a few more times and the outcome was different then. After reading hundreds of Superman comics, I would simply fly off into the sky now to escape that bear.
I had other weird dreams too, not so much nightmares, but about uncomfortable situations or sometimes attacks. Bullets would bounce off me or I would fly away.
3. As it turned out, I became a real-life newspaper reporter. Perhaps a coincidence, but Clark Kent was surely one factor in that choice. (I can and do dress up as Clark Kent on some Halloweens, cause that's a doubly relevant character for me.) I have also written about Superman and comic books in my newspaper job for the past several decades.
4. My reading skills were off the chart by 7th grade. I recall being in a reading class and taking a test. When you read the short story, you were suppoed to go up front and get a comprehension test from the teacher. I recall sitting there for minutes and minutes, not wanting to be odd and be done far ahead of the rest of the class. I'd wait until I could see at least one other person on the last page .... I got 80 percent or higher on the comprehension test too. How does this relate to Superman? That's the bulk of what I read in elementary school -- comic books. I credit them for great reading skills.
5. A stress reducer. Today life can be hectic and stressful. One way I relax is to pick up one of the 10,000-plus comics and re-read it. 99 percent of my comics are Superman or Superman-related.
Sure Superman is a fantasy, but he's shaped my career, spurred my imagination and made my life better and those are REAL things.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

DC animated movie ideas/Superman live action idea

Following the release of the "Superman-Batman Public Enemies" animated movie this fall, DC Comics plans on releasing "Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths" next spring.
Following those, what I would like to see is DC produce "Secret Identity."
Remember the comic book miniseries on this a few years ago? It was one of the best comic books ever and would make a great animated movie!
Here are some other worthy ideas for animated productions:
-Superman Red Son.
-Another Elseworld tale: "Speeding Bullets," where Superman grows up in the Wayne family of Gotham City.
DC never seems to strictly follow what the comic book did and so there would always be surprise plot developments in these productions.
Also, DC Comics/Warner Brothers has now said it has NO current plans for a new Superman live action movie. So, apparently animation is all we get for some years to come ....
If DC ever does re-start Superman years down the road, it may be wise to re-boot it from square one. That baggage of Superman having a son in "Superman Returns" was just awful and needs to be completely eliminated!
Since most people have heard of Superman's origin, I'd do a quick re-tell in a future movie and then spend more time on him growing up on Earth.
My best idea for a movie conflict would be to have Brainiac threaten Earth. (Too much Lex Luthor in past movies.)
But a new movie having 20 minutes of Superman doing little rescues and saves -- before the big conflict -- would also be great.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ideas for Superman Elseworld tales

Every so often, DC Comics delves into an "Elseworld" tale, a kind of "could have happened" story ….
(They are the counterpart of Marvel's "What If?" sagas.
DC has done dozens such stories over the years and many are excellent.
But recently, DC has stopped doing these as often.
I say there are still lots of possible ideas for new Elseworld stories out there.
Here are my 6 of my ideas for Superman Elseworlds, for what they are worth:
-What if Superman had landed as a baby to Native Americans in the west, in the mid 1800s?
-What if Superbaby had landed in the ocean and been adopted by Aquaman's undersea dwellers?
-What if Superbaby had been a girl and she landed on Paradise Island? How would she co-exist with Wonder Woman?
-What if Superbaby had landed in rural Hawaii in the late 1920s, just finding his super powers when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941?
-What if superbaby had landed in the American west in the early 19th Century and had been strangely adopted by grizzly bears (who could not harm him anyway)? Kind of a Tarzan-like tale in America…..
-What if the traditional Superman had somehow switched universes and landed on Earth Prime and was the ONLY super-hero there? (Omitting Superboy Prime from this tale would be wise….)
Note" The Picture above is my favorite DC poster of Superman.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Smallville. Canada

I had to see it to believe it.
I took a trip during a recent summer to British Columbia and went out of my way to see Cloverdale BC Surrey -- the town that doubles as Smallville, Kansas for the TV show.
I went during a non-filming season (early June) and so there were Canadian flags hanging all over the street where the TV show's retail area is. (I'm sure those come down, or are replaced when filming is underway...)
It was a clean, vibrant little suburb of Vancouver town.
Still seems kine of weird that Smallville is in in Canada, but there it was!
Saw the coffee shop, theater and hardware store.
I had misplaced my directions to the "Kent Farm" and so I didn't see that.
I was amazed at the waterfalls and mountain area located just north of Vancouver. Supplies all kinds of other filming options. This was a really pristine, pretty area and other than all the Vancouver traffic, I'd love to go back someday and see more of Lynn Canyon and Grouse Mountain.
Also drove east to Hells Gate, and passed through Hope, where the first Rambo movie was filmed.
It appears the Vancouver area is a hotbed for filming TV shows and movies these days.
(The three photographs are of the theater in Cloverdale, used in past Smallville shootings; a city sign; and a look down the business district street.)

Friday, August 28, 2009

"Prime" returning to DC Comics in November

"Prime" time returns to DC Comics this fall when Superboy Prime once again invades the DC Universe.
Last seen in the climax to "Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds," that premiered on July 22, 2009, this renegade, evil Superboy from a parallel universe, will return after a four-month absence in Adventure Comics No. 4, due out Nov. 18, 2009.
This comic will sell for $3.99 and will be a tie-in to "Blackest Night," a theme in many DC Comic books right now.
Since the "Black Lanterns" know Prime's deepest secrets and thoughts, DC is billing this story as prime meeting his match.
One of the most powerful characters in the DC Universe, it took two Supermen to stop him during his first run and the Legion of Super Heroes and three different Earths and Superman to stop him the second time.
Although now thought to be powerless on "Earth Prime," the Black Lanterns somehow free and power him up again.
Prime wiped out entire parallel Earths in "Final Crisis" and no other DC villains have been that destructive.
His immaturity, ego and rage make him one of DC's best villains ever. Especially since he is a dark parody of Superman.
Prime could die or be seriously injured in this Blackest Night appearance, based on a comic book cover where the Lex Luthor from the original "Crisis" is holding his body, like Superman did Supergirl in that story.

When comic books spill over into real life ...

COMIC books are imaginary and fictional, right? Yes, but they shocked me recently by proving that's not an absolute, when they crossed over to real life — my life.
I started a new thread on the DC Comics message board in May of 2009 and surprisingly it ended up being incorporated directly into the climax of a five-part comic miniseries, "Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds"  (September 2009)
This incorporation also proved comic book writers really do read the comments from readers on message boards!
"Can Superboy Prime be redeemed?" That was the title of the thread I wrote and DC reproduced it exactly as it appears at the top of the page on any computer screen that accesses it.
Just five words and only 26 characters (and I thought Twitter was selective with its 140-character limit), but this was my brief composition.

It was actually kind of spooky because first you have a real world thing that I started appearing in a fictional story. Next, you have this evil, alternate world Superboy stewing over my thread and responding in the story that the thread is wrong and they will never get rid of him.

Now, I've not only been written into DC Comic book history, I've been threatened by a super-villain -- perhaps the worst one ever in the DC Universe!
To make matters worse, I use my real name on the DC Comics message boards and I'm one of the few who do.... But DC only reproduced the thread to the line right above my name.
Still, perhaps I should have a secret identity, like most people who post on the DC Comics message boards do.
(I also did have a letter to the editor published in World's Finest comics back in the 1970s as a comment to an upcoming race between Superman and the Flash.)

How invulnerable is Superman?

As a sequel to my discussion of Superman's speed, how invulnerable to harm is the Man of Steel?
When Superman began in 1938, bullets did bounce off him, but it appears he was vulnerable to big explosions as "nothing less than a bursting shell could penetrate his skin."
By the 1960s, Superman was laughing at atomic explosions.
Enter the 1970s, where the only 4 weaknesses Superman had were Kryptonite, red sun energy, other things from Krypton, or magic.
Any weapon without one of those components did not affect the Man of Steel.
He could also fly in outer space without oxygen.
When Superman was revamped in 1986, he could be stunned by big explosions and was vulnerable to a lack of air. He was lucky to survive nuclear blasts and many alien weapons could affect him.
The reasoning now is that Superman is only invulnerable to most earthly things — bullets, fire and ordinary explosions. If something is hot enough, like a sun, it can fry him. His invulnerability is only relative to earth.
The problem I have is that in too many stories, he fights villains who clearly have no invulnerability and yet fight equal to Superman.
I also think that only magic, red suns, things from Krypton,including Kryptonite should comprise his weaknesses.
What do other Man of Steel fans think?

How fast is Superman?

What speed can the Man of Steel run/fly?
He could exceed the speed of light until 1986, when DC Comics revamped the character. Then, he was still fast, but could not even approach the speed of light anymore.
I recall one comic book story a few years ago where Superman exceeded the speed of light to escape a dimensional trap.
The problem with that type of speed is that if he is that fast, he can time travel again, based on the DC Comics universe belief in that.
But more recently, the Barry Allen Flash zoomed away from Superman as if he was standing still.
I guess that's OK, cause Flash is supposed to be the "fastest man alive," but the Flash was never fast enough in the past to be in a league of his own.
So, Superman is as fast or slow as the comic book writers at the time want to make him.
Superman's speed is one of his least used powers in stories. Too many times, he just stands there and get struck by some weapon, when you would think he would avoid more such blasts with his great speed.
A lot of villains Superman faces don't seem to have much speed, but rarely is the Man of Steel's speed used as an advantage in a fight.
I'd like to have Superman be able to run at only sub-light speed, but be able to fly faster than light in outer space, when he really pushes himself.
So, in that case, Superman can't run as fast as the Flash, but if Superman is flying, that makes them close to even.
What do other Superman fans think?