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.)