frank

quiet frankly an all star superman, yeah i know it’s a cheesy joke

Over the ages superman has always embodied our highest aspirations. in the late 30’s he was a man of the people a socialist who fought the corrupt capatalist’s and industrialists who had bankrupted the common man. during the forties he was a patriot who waved the flag and carried an eagle on his forearm. Created by two jewish teenagers he even┬álanded a specifically “non-aryan sock” on the little moustacioud dictator whom the man of steel had by the neck┬áhe then grabbed Joseph Stalin (hitler’s then ally the story being published in 1941) and took then byt the scruff of their necks, hauled them off to the league of nations and as he does best saved the world in a handful of panels.

Superman has changed considerabley over the years from being the damaged “war veteran” in the 50’s. To being a confidant young yuppie in regan’s america in the late 80’s in john bryne’s man of steel. Kal-el of Krypton has changed and will always changed heat the turn of the century with stories like mark waid and alex ross’ “kingdom come” and joe kelly’s “what’s so funny about truth justice and the american way”. Stories in which superman embodiedded the lost ideals of the old generation and was considered outdated and too soft for the stormer generation who wanted superheroes like the authority to come down and kick the living snot out of the real bastards of earth. The Authority whom executed their villianous prey with out thinking about it and tried to put the question “how many people did we kill today in this fight?” out of their heads. superman seemed almost naive when he said the line to Princess Diana (Wonder woman for the uninitiated) as she readyied their justice league army they had built for battle “but you can’t have a war without people dying” this was the man of steel as underdog again fighting against the tide of public uproar. However both these books were published before the events of september 11th 2001 after which superheroes seemed trivial and nothing but paneled page filled fantasies. Infantile almost.

With the coming of a new superman film, directed by geek favourite Bryan Singer for his work in both his x-men films and wonderful indie film the usual suspects. Hopes were high as he planned to continue the Donner series only with a younger superman and lois and expertly cast lex luthor in kevin Spacey. Proving still that with all the criticism you can give Singer about his superman film he can always perfectly cast bald white guys. Compared to the previous outing DC had in Christopher nolan’s batman begins apart from everything else Nolan batman had the mob to fight and the sinister scarecrow which did scare me as a ten year old watching the film and Liam neeson’s villianous charm as ra’s al ghul who believed in entropy as the natural order and was a match for batman. Compared to Returns’ lex luthor who as ever was little more than a villianous real estate agent. The film was a widely considered failure, you don’t need me to tell you that with an emo superman who watched lois from afar rather creepily. infact if i imagine lois would have invested in lead lined bedsheets and a lead lined shower to prevent the super-emo from watching her and her husband in bed or her in the shower. The indie blockbuster was disheartening to superman fans and yet more fodder for the cannons of the comic fans who cried out that superman was outdated. A relic of a lost america a lot simplier.

The reason i’m saying this is because i’m asking the question what is superman of this century? Grant morrison redifened the character for most people with his series All star superman. a beautifully constructed comic with a brilliant lex luthor that was a throwback to the 50’s and 60’s lex as the super-genius who believes he could’ve saved the world if it wasn’t for this fascistic alien who thinks he’s better than the great Lex Luthor! i loved it and brilliantly superman wasn’t a messiah figure he was a brawler who fought bizarro and giant robots and was’t afraid to throw a punch, because bullies don’t like to be bullied back. But superman’s different in Morrison’s action comics. Thing is i love it though this socialist superman who fights less for the american way and more for the little guy, it’s brilliant and he dresses like a young person in the t-shirt and the boots and converse even recently in an issue. he’s very humble again and hegoes after the bad people regardless of their position in society from wife-beaters to corrupt politicians without killing because he’s that good. Oh an Morrison’s clark kent he’s an activist a mid-western farmboy who believes the pen in mightier than the sword bringing down corrupt Rupert Murdoch types with his columns in a tiny little metroplis newspaper. He also wants to change the world not just fight giant alien warlords he want to wipe out poverty he even argues with the justice league about doing so.

Recently however the trailer for the zack snyder directed Christopher Nolan produced man of steel. Now we know this is to done in the veil of batman begins with an “edgier” take on superman’s origin. And i thought ok that’s interesting and Henry Cavill seems rather promising and that the villian will be Zod rather than say brainiac in the style of the animated series that he destroyed Krypton giving him and superman an interesting realtionship as brainiac wishes to complete his kryptonian collection with kal-el and superman bitter at the artificial intelligence at it destroyed his homeworld and killed his mother and father. However upon witnessing the trailer i was unsure for the first time. First off in action comics clark kent isn’t a reporter anymore due to having to fake his death to mislead an assassin. Fairdo’s a straight ahead story meaning superman getts to pretend to be a fireman now for a while Johnny Clark and even tells Batman in a conversation “i felt like i outlived clark kent”.

johhny clark superman’s new secret identity

I’m still unsure as whether Morrison feels this way that there have been enough story’s with kent and it’s time to give superman something else to do in his spare time. Or that the character has actually outlived Clark and did it because as he says “i felt comprimised” as many people were learning his secret identity and he needed more time as superman less time as Clark. Or that DC stepped in and said that superman is a hero wheteher or not he’s in the costume or not and a journalist thanks to the inquiry about the phone hacking scandel of several of Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers. perhaps they as a company believed that a journalist was no longer a noble profession in the eyes of the public and had opted to make clark a fireman.The same speculation could be used as to why he is a fisherman in the new man of steel movie or that DC and Warner brothers have lost the rights to the superman origin and the changes were manditory then. however the reason’s he’s a fisherman and not a real-world hero like a fireman could be to do with the messianic portrayel of superman again as Christ figure as jesus is referred to as the fishermen of men. Morrison was widely regarded as drawing the messianic comparisants to superman better than bryan Singer whom had his suprman not even throwing a punch. However snyder has drawn parrallels to modern day comics work and Cavill has said the series Superman red son has been an inspiration despite superman being mid-western american he’s still the same guy. (i’d also like to point out that i consider this mark millar’s best work when he actually used to write comics as opposed to now when his content is generated to pursue movie projects)


So i’ll leave you with a question what do you think a superman of the 21st century needs to be and should he get involed in things like the middle eastern situation?
and what do you think of the man of steel trailers?

For the first i think he should without killing but by hearing the peoples opinions and dragging the dictators and African warlords hand cuffed in front of th u.n. to bejudged for their crimes against innocent civilians. #
and secondly i liked the trailers as the jor-el dialogue seems to be borrowing for his speech to clark at the end of Grant morrison’s all star run although the clark kent as loner angle and the bleak outlook of most of the trailer seems to be devoid of hope apart from the sonic boom flying superman at the end and i might’ve got a bit glassy eyed thinking again about the young clark in the jeans with the cape. But that’s me i couldn’t give a toss about titanic but a justice league episode where superman dies has me balling me eyes out like a big girls blouse.
thank you for bearing my ramblings if this is done a bit haphazardly it’s because i’m a little rusty but i look forward to knocking out more posts when i can. For more ramblings follow me on twitter @assemble124

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