Monday, December 26, 2016

Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio -- Superman BBC style

THE annual Christmas Day (2016) "Doctor Who" special on BBC was surprisingly loaded with Superman and Man of Steel references.
Not only was the show centered around a super-hero, but I counted many references and similarities to Superman in the program.

Titled, "The Return of Doctor Mysterio," producer Steve Moffat made it no secret that this special was his take on super-heroes, particularly about Superman. His "superman" was called "The Ghost."

The Doctor Who Christmas specials are also more humorous than the regular series and this one was no exception. Doctor Who is, in a way, his own variation of a super-hero, so this plot worked smoothly.

Any serious Superman fan -- even if they have never watched a Doctor Who before -- will not want to miss this show, also playing in a limited number of theaters on the big screen.

BELOW is a list of the Superman similarities I noticed in the show -- and they include SPOILERS, lest you read further below ...........

1. There's an early reference in a corporate setting to a Siegel and Shuster (creators of Superman).
2. There's a female reporter, Lucy Fletcher Lombard, in the show. Steve Lombard is a womanizer in Superman lore and apparently is too, as he left his former wife.
3. Lucy is an obvious reference to Lois Lane's sister,
4. There's a rotating globe on top a business building.
5. The show takes place in New York City (a Metropolis).
6. At one Point bullets bounce off "the Ghost" the super-hero, who flies and also has a big chest emblem.
7. The Ghost's powers come from the stars, kind of like Superman's.
8. At one point Lucy and The Ghost fly off together over the city, reminiscent of "Superman the Movie."
9. The Ghost also has super-strength, X-ray vision and super-hearing.
10. The Ghost has a secret identity as a mild-mannered nanny, named Grant.
11. At one point in the show, Doctor Who is reading an actual Superman comic book. Later, a reference is also made to Spider-Man.
12. Grant wears glasses in his civilian identity.
13. Lucy interviews the super-hero on top of a tall building rooftop.
14. Lucy asks the super-hero, "Do you have a girlfriend?" (Both reminiscent of "Superman the Movie.")

-All-in-All great fun -- and Doctor Who is eventually shown to have been the one who created "The Ghost."

-There are lots of non-Superman references too, as Doctor Who is mistaken for Santa Claus at one point.

-In the end, Doctor Who makes it clear that The Ghost should retire and that he is Earth's protector, not The Ghost.

-I couldn't tell if DC Comics or Superman showed up in the show's credits, as BBC America made them so small in side window at the end ...

-I surmise the "Doctor Mysterio" title is a reference to next season of "Doctor Who," where he moonlights as a college professor.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Don't Judge a (DC Comic) Book by its Cover ....

DC Comics has been putting way too much effort into its comic book covers of late (fall of 2016).
They often have 2 covers for one single regular comic book issue.
Also, the old adage, "Don't judge a book by its cover" also applies heavily of late to DC Comics.
DC isn't paying enough attention to its inside art or storyline.

EXAMPLE: I purchase "The Flash" No. 9 issue, solely based on the great cover artwork. I should have looked inside. The artwork inside was way sub par, almost bizarre in nature and the story not so great either.
A total waste of $2.99, except for the cover.

Lois Lane dies ...

DC Comics has quietly killed off Lois Lane --- yes Lois Lane.
Admittedly, there were two Lois Lanes in Superman comics at the start of DC Comic's new reboot, as were there two Supermans too.
Then, the younger Man of Steel died.
I was personally looking forward to the surviving Superman having to deal with two Lois Lanes -- the one he was married to and the other one, who worked at the Daily Planet.
When the other Superman died, The unmarried Lois eventually gained powers similar to Superman's.
A new comic book, Superwoman, came out and there was a super-powered Lois.
However, she got sick and died in issue No. 2, meaning a super-powered Lana Lang was really the actual Superwoman.
Kind of disappointing that all doppelgangers are now gone .
AND, the surviving Lois has assumed the Daily Planet identity of the late Lois Lane and works there now ...

Saturday, September 17, 2016

DC fails to bring back the pre-52 Superman, the real Man of Steel

DC Comics promised to bring back the pre-52 Superman when it rebooted its universe this year, but so far it hasn't happened.
From a lack of oxygen weakness, to simply not being strong enough, this current Superman is not up to power levels.
In fact, he is more like the less powerful John Bryne Superman of the 1980s.
Why is DC afraid to bring back a strong Superman?
In recent stories, Superman has had trouble breathing and surviving at the Earth's core. He didn't fare well with Doomsday's return and he simply isn't magnificent or powerful enough to deserve the title of Superman.
DC editors -- please conference with your writers and fix Superman, as promised ...

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Supermen on the Hollywood Walk of Fame ...

SADLY, the rest of my family petered out after only traversing a few blocks on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on August 10, 2016 ... I would have walked many more blocks.
Still, I was fortunate enough to see the George Reeves Star, as that late actor was the TV Superman I grew up with.
Also, they was at least one man dressed as Superman on Hollywood Boulevard, though he seemed to purposely turn every time I tried to take a quick photo of him. (He was hanging out with "Zorro.")
I have no doubt that Christopher Reeve and other "Supermen" have stars there too, but you'v got plan on a lot of walking and time if you want to see them all ....

Monday, April 18, 2016

Supergirl TV show is becoming lame and silly ....

MY comic book store manager hates the Supergirl TV show because it is so silly.
I'm beginning to think he is right.
Supergirl in the TV episode that aired April 18, 2016 could not survive in orbit even 30 seconds. She couldn't even fly in space. Her "flying" power did NOT work there.
What? Yes, she had to be rescued by a space ship.
Who are the writers on this show? Have they not read past Supergirl or Superman comics? -- She is supposed to be able to be able to survive in space for a limited time if she holds her breath. In other versions, she can fly effortlessly without air in the vast reaches of the cosmos.

Yes, this is a lame version of Supergirl and some of the recent plots have NOT been very compelling or imaginative either.
The show's aim seems to be to take the "Super" out of Supergirl and Superman ....

OR, are the producers trying to make the character more believable by "MARVEL-izing her?

Either way, I won't be religiously watching season 2 -- and predict the show is going to falter on the CW Network; plus the new DC Comic with the same kind of Supergirl won't last either. (I'm not buying any of those comic books).

Is a dead or dying Superman the ultimate storyline for the character?

IS death the granddaddy story plot for Superman?
DC Comics and Warner Brothers seem  to think it is ....

SPOILERS ahead ....

If you watched the movie "Batman v Superman," you know what happens.

Also in April of 2016, DC is killing off Superman too.

In the JLA Comic No. 8, that I thought was outside the regular DC Comics continuity, Superman is shown as dead in the last panel. His battle with Rao was too much. He had suffered broken ribs, a ruptured spleen and collapsed lung.

Then, the same month in Superman Comic No. 51, Superman is shown to be dying.
His triple whammy of exposure to the firepits of Apokolips, being temporarily powered up by kryptonite when he was powerless and his battle with Rao is slowly killing the Man of Steel.
So, the JLA stories are IN the regular DC universe then?  (That doesn't even add up!)

Anyway, DC -- first you take most of Superman's powers away last year and now he is dead or dying --- what's next? A plausible resurrection?

This Superman dying thing has been overdone as it is.
Please DC, come up with some new twists.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Superman's most under-used power?

WHAT is Superman's most under-used power?
I'd put money on super-speed.

Almost as fast as The Flash, Superman rarely gets enough mileage out of this power.

In the "Batman v. Superman" movie, I think I saw speed used once, to save Lois Lane. However, why was his great speed not used to dive on the bomb in the movie and save many, many people?

AND, why should Superman get hit by every punch a villain or monster throws, or by every bullet or blast, when he could dodge some of them?

What good is super-speed if you rarely use it?


1. Super strength
2. Flight
3. Relative invulnerability
4. Super speed
5. Heat vision
6. X-ray vision
7. Telescopic vision
8. Microscopic vision
9. Super breath
10. Super hearing

Did I miss any?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

'Batman v. Superman' review: Dark, serious and steeped in comic book lore

Batman v. Superman is certainly no Marvel movie.

This dark and violent movie is steeped in DC Comic book lore and is in no way suitable or relevant for children, age 10 and under.
(I still saw 4 or so such grade school kids sitting through the sparsely populated showing I went to.)
My college son had some serious plot questions after the movie's ending -- proof that no grade school kid is going to make sense of it, or perhaps even enjoy it.
(Admittedly, only my 50-plus years of DC Comics experience and of having every Superman comic since 1960 allowed me to make full sense of the movie ...)
DC Comics has decided to make its movies dark and serious and in that vein, they are far different than the bright and sometimes funny films that Marvel produces.
Indeed, the mounting death count in this movie could not be kept up with, same as in "Man of Steel." 
This movie is in a world of Superman where he actually can't save everyone, as he often does in the comic books.
Notwithstanding, "Batman v. Superman" is finally the first Superman movie after "Superman II" in 1982 that hits the bull's-eye. 
While I gave "Man of Steel" only 2 out of 4 stars, this movie was far, far better. Sure, there are some little things I would have done differently in the film, but this is certainly a 3.5 out of 4 star movie -- and any critic who blasts the film was probably expecting another "Marvel" type of movie, of just wanted to downgrade what they could not understand.
The vast majority of critics seem to hate this movie, but they had it all wrong -- This is a great action-packed movie for grownups. I just don't think the critics switched from a Marvel to a DC gear when they saw the movie!
The only big fault of "Batman v. Superman" is that it is perhaps too steeped in comic book lore for the average movie goer.

-Ben Affleck nailed the Frank Miller "Dark Knight" version of Batman almost perfectly.
-Henry Cavill continues a steady portrayal of Superman-Clark Kent, same as in "Man of Steel."
-Jesse Eisenberg doesn't overdo it or overact his Lex Luthor role. He plays it to a "T" the insane criminal Luthor version.
-Yes, I was hesitant to accept Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, but again she does very well acting and even physically gets by OK.
 -- There is action galore in this movie and so much of it -- especially in 3D IMAX -- that your mind is kind of knocked silly at times with an overabundance of violence.
The film is a good introduction to future Justice League, as well as Wonder Woman movies.
-You also can find great movie bargains out there too -- I paid just $5 to see the movie in IMAX 3D on a Tuesday, just 5 days after it premiered.

NOTE: Lynn Arave has written professionally about Superman since the late 1970s in college. He reported on Superman for the Deseret News newspaper (Salt Lake City) from 1984-2010. He had a letter published in a Superman comic book back in 1967, when the Man of Steel raced the Flash for the first time. Lynn was also written into a Superman comic book story in 2008. He has interviewed Christopher Reeve, Jack Larsen and some DC executives/writers over the years, as well, being in Washington, D.C. for the 1987 premiere of
"Superman IV" and a Smithsonian exhibit on Superman.


--If you've already seen "Batman v. Superman" and/or want some spoilers and more discussion, read down below, beyond the Superman photo for that ------


1. Yes, Superman dies, that's what happens when he meets Doomsday.
I would have rather had Superman and Doomsday duke it out umtil both perished, but instead a Kryptonite spear did Doomsday in and Doomsday's bony appendages speared Superman fatally.
Will Superman stay dead? No. Batman's strange visions of the future and a little dirt on the casket moving prove the Man of Steel will be resurrected.
(In the comics, Superman resurrects and eventually so dos Darkseid.)
However, will Darkseid somehow be involved in his revival? Superman appeared to be under Darkseid's control in those future visions ....
(Who is Darkseid? He is the original Thanos and created first as an ultimate evil in the Universe.)
2. The Flash seems to be the one giving Batman these visions. He has periodically been a time traveler with important news in past DC Comics stories.
3. Jimmy Olsen dies early on in the movie. 
Apparently, there were too many characters for movie producers to deal with. So, this "CIA-operative" Jimmy died a quick death, likely unnoticed by the average movie goer.
4. Darkseid is obviously the big villain in the fall of 2017's first Justice League movie. His "Parademons" were shown in the movie, as well as his Omega Symbol and some ancient portrayals in artwork of this "New God." Darkseid obviously invades Earth and only the Justice League can stop him.

-Pa Kent, who died in "Man of Steel"  made a mysterious showing in the movie. How that was possible was not explained. Again, will deleted scenes show the how?
-How the State ended up with an empty casket, while the Smallville funeral had a real body was not explained either. General Zod's dead body from "Man of Steel" ended up in government control and so why not Superman's corpse? More deleted scene fodder here perhaps? (In the comic books, Superman always tries to make sure the government doesn't get any tech or equipment or bodies from Krypton, but if this movie had done that, there would have been a different story here ...)
-One of the little things that bothers me is how they can't seem to get Superman's cape right -- there should be an "S" symbol in that, same as on the Man of Steel's chest. Why is that so hard to do?
-Also, Wonder Woman in his Diana Prince identity was shown to be flying on a commercial airline. What about her Invisible Jet? Might it show up in some deleted scenes too?
-Zack Snyder got tons of extra mileage out of both Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent having a mother with the same first name -- Martha. That word becomes the most important one in the entire movie. That was a nice touch and akin to Snyder's excellent tinkering in "Man of Steel" to make the "S" symbol really a family coat of arms from Krypton that just happens to look like an English "S."
-Perry White was all too forgiving in letting Clark Kent get out of his assignments. (I was in newspapers as a reporter for 40 years and never once had that kind of freedom/flexibility). But, at least newspapers in the movie were accurately pictured as struggling for both readers and income.
-There's also a spray-painted Robin suit in the Batcave, an obvious reference to the Joker killing a past sidekick, but which one?


Friday, March 25, 2016

How come the movies can't get Superman's cape right?

                            How Superman's cape is supposed to look ....

MOVIES are mostly fiction and so are comic books, but why can't today's Hollywood even get Superman's cape right?
There is supposed to be an "S" symbol on the cape, right along with the Man of Steel's chest.
How can directors/producers/writers miss that?
Why is that so important?
That "S" on the cape is majestic, colorful and further identifies Superman in an ever brighter, more hopeful manner.
Superman movie writers ("Man of Steel" and "Batman v. Superman") must want the Man of Steel to be darker and less colorful.
The 1970s-1980s Christopher Reeve Superman movies got the cape right.
It is this darker version of Superman that doesn't do the character justice.

                             A second comic book example of a correct cape.

-EVEN my extended family gets the cape correct. My granddaughter is fascinated with Supergirl of late and her mother used one of my old "S" emblems to create a great super cape (see below). Now that's cool and how the cape should be!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Another DC Comics reboot coming in June, like it or not ...

DC Comics is planning a reboot/revamp of the majority of its comics lineup in June of 2016.
Action and Detective Comics, DC's two oldest publications, will return to their original 900-plus numbering, but everything else will restart at No. 1 issues.
It is NO secret that DC Comics are struggling right now. My local comics store informed me last week that DC sales are significantly lagging and that Marvel only is doing well.

What? How many re-numberings are you going to do DC?
At present (January of 2016), many DC Comics are at number 47, meaning it has been about 4 years only since DC's last reboot.
I grew up in the "Silver Age" of comics (late 1950s to early  1970s) and comic numbering was simply sacred back then.
For example, in 1979, when Action Comics hit issue No. 500, that was a first-ever milestone and meant something. Now, DC has discarded and trashed such numerical significance.
I personally feel that DC Comics are OUT OF TOUCH with their fans and what they want.
While Marvel has long term/well thought out plans for both its comic and movie super-hero properties, DC has lagged behind in everything, EXCEPT animated movies.

-HERE are some other suggestions I think DC Comics should consider doing:

1. Get rid of your $2.99 comics, Sure they cost less, but there isn't enough room in them to tell a good story. ALL comics need to be $3.99 or more for good story telling. Fans will pay extra for higher quality.

2. Get into the super-hero poster business DC!!! Marvel has tons of good posters for sale out there. You have zero.

3. Get in touch with your fans. Every since you dropped the DC message boards, what fans want never seems to be known or considered. At the least, DC needs a special nation-wide panel of fans to keep in touch with for input, suggestions and ground-level reaction.

4. Return Superman and the Justice League to their glory days. The ONLY great DC comics stories these days are in the titles that are OUTSIDE the standard continuity, like JLA, Injustice and the late Adventures of Superman comics.

5. Quit letting the movie productions of Superman and the JLA tinker with origins and standard fixtures so much. Almost none of this kind of action has been for the good. Marvel has expanded its comics sales by keeping more true to their heroes traditions. Marvel is also in it for the long haul and NOT in for a short gain with playing another renumbering game.

6. DC has RUINED Superman of late with its far too lengthy "almost powerless" storyline; with Clark Kent's secret identity getting made public; and a loss of ALL majesty that the Man of Steel character had. Make Superman pure again, if you must do a reboot. If Superman's two creators were still around today, they would trying to sue DC for character defamation -- and I'm talking about for Superman the character himself.