Monday, November 30, 2015

In Which We Review the New Superman (circa 1971)

And we're back!  Let's celebrate the return with a look at the... well, it's not a reboot, but it's certainly a change in direction, so... I don't know, it was just a new era for Superman, starting off with yet another iconic Neal Adams cover.


And, it turns out, the cover was accurate because Superman, through a situation I don't completely understand, indeed became immune to Kryptonite:

Yup!  That was the first appearance of Morgan Edge, who has been part of the Superman universe for over 40 years, but non-fans generally have no idea who he is.

And that was a valid point he raised, but as a comic reader, I wonder why they were ditching Kryptonite.  I mean, the whole reason Kryptonite was created was to give Superman a weakness.  I'd hate to have to try and write a character who was effectively invincible.  You can only do magic and imaginary stories so many times.

This was also the transition of Clark's day job:

It's funny when you see comics making major changes to adapt to the times.  TV reporting had clearly been around for decades, but I guess it was finally time for comics to start catching up.  Isn't the Daily Bugle a website these days, or did I get that wrong?

Anyway, while it still enables Clark to be on the spot for big emergencies, it created a logistical problem: Clark could always duck out, become Superman, and then just write a story later.  But when he has to actually be present in front of a camera to report the news, he has to adapt thusly:

That's actually pretty cool.

Anyway, no more problems with Kryptonite, which leads me to yet another oft-reproduced scene:

Superman is now also much more inclined to smack a bad guy:

This whole "time limit" thing might get stale or ignored in the future, but it's nice to see something different.

Here's another thing that was different: Without Kryptonite, Superman gets kind of an attitude:

You see what I mean?  He used to address man-made and natural disasters.  Now, he's just smacking regular guys unconscious and being rather cavalier about it.  I'm not sure I'm loving that.

Anyway, the change in job assignment is made permanent:

And that's when things took a new direction in Superman.  Of course, my worry is that we'll see an upswing in the quality of storytelling, which means I'll have a harder time finding blog material.  But hey, let's give it go!

See you tomorrow!

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Greatest Superman Story Ever Told!

Dear Ones, I will be taking a staycation next week for the Thanksgiving holiday, so I'll see you again on Monday, November 30th.  But fret not, because the comic we're looking at today will fill your little bellies all the way through next week and then some.  I give you:

And yes, it's every bit as awesome as the cover would lead you to believe.

It's yet another imaginary tale, but that's perfectly okay when the story is this awesome.  Superman and Lois get married and the greatness ensues:

Am I the only one thinking Seth MacFarlane read this comic when he came up with Stewie Griffin?

First, the expression on Superman's face is hilarious.

Second... I could read about this kid complaining all day.

And then this happens:

Love this kid.  Love him.

Seriously, I would buy two copies a month if this kid got his own series.

Actually, Lois... it's kind of a big deal that Superman almost destroyed the Earth.  He should probably remember that if he's ever in a similar situation.  I appreciate that you're trying to be supportive, but let's not spare Superman's feelings at the expense of the entire planet, what say?

Anyway, the baby goes on a crime spree and Superman resolves the issue the only way that a loving, caring father could:

Yes... by giving his only son a super-lobotomy.

Super-Baby is going in to the CMNS Character Hall of Fame (tm!) for sure.

Have a great week ahead, folks!  I'll miss ya, but we'll have more comic book shenanigans on November 30th!  See you then!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Clark Kent is Dead Dead Dead! POW POW POW!

Well, I guess we'll stop talking about Jason Todd.  The next issue after today's post was the "A Death in the Family" storyline, which was the death of Jason Todd.  So, to review: Jason gets rebooted in Crisis on Infinite Earths as a tough hooligan, he then reverts to a "gee whillikers" sidekick straight out of the 1940's, then a swing in the completely opposite direction where he's basically the Punisher in short green pants, then killed off.  What a mess.  Anyway, he's dead.  Until Superboy Prime literally punches him back into existence, something I refuse to dignify with space in this blog.

Back to Superman, starting with issue #210:

That had to be cathartic for Superman.  It certainly was for me.

The next issue had a very ballsy story about crooked art schools:

Is there something wrong with me that I don't think the art is all that bad?  I mean, it's a story of an ape with super powers so maybe that's coloring my view.

Anyway, more to the point:

Considering how many times I've seen "draw a turtle or a pirate" inside comic covers over the years, that was a pretty bold plotline.  I don't know if those companies advertised in comics after this story (or, more likely, had already stopped), but even if the companies that advertised in comics were legit (and I have no reason to think they weren't), I can't imagine any art schools would have been excited with DC.

Here's some Fun with Out of Context Dialogue (tm!) from Superman #220, courtesy of contributor Robert Gillis:

Dear Penthouse Forum, I never thought this would happen to me...

Moving on to....

Well, trying to perform for three women at once is a lot to ask of any man.

Hey, I was talking about performing heroic acts, I don't know where your filthy little mind went.

This is the club he couldn't get into:

First?  "We've decided to admit our first male member" is hilarious.  That's classic Fun with Out of Context Dialogue (tm!) right there.

Second, this group is awful.  They have a stupid name, their individual names are even worse (I've forgotten them already) and their powers are just recycled Superman powers.  Yeah, there's a reason for that, but I lost interest from the beginning.

Until I saw that Superman's initiation test was this:

Yeah!  A little payback for all that Unnecessary Animal Abuse (tm!) we've seen from Superman over the years!  Awesome!

See you tomorrow!