Monday, April 25, 2011

CBXF Mailbag

You know this has been on my mind ever since I first heard about Project Superman, but I think I finally understand why I don't follow Superman comics. It isn't like I dislike the character. While I never really got into the movies as a kid I loved re-runs of The Adventures of Superman and looked forward to Lois and Clark the New Adventures of Superman every week to say nothing of STAS.

I think my problem is that every time I look at one of his titles it is always has the author either trying nerf his powers or come up with some new outlandish villain that is a match for the Man of Steel. The thing is this Superman he is always going to win out I never have any doubt about that, there is no suspense. And more often then not it seems the solution to his problem ends up being him punching someone. I would love it if more stories where about him finding a clever solution instead of him just using brute force. I think one of the few recent authors that got was Joe Kelly (I really want to start to track down his run on Action). I think if any character needs to evolve beyond the current superhero model it needs to be Superman, he was the first and should continue to lead the charge.

The next matter is why I like Batman books over Superman books. I say books and not characters for a reason. I like the idea of Batman books more because of Gotham City. I think DC has done a big disservice to Superman by not building up Metropolis as much as Gotham. While Metropolis does have certain features it just seems to lack any real character of it's own, you can point out landmarks but you can't really describe the city. And it is a reason I think Superman books have never really taken off like the Batman books, it is much harder to ground a spin-off when it lacks a unifying element. The various Bat books have such a great leg up, Gotham provides a basic setting and mood that all the various can share (like Marvel had with the X-Men). I think while still do it do they really need to push the fact that Metropolis is a city full of science. I mean the one character that ever really did anything with that was Steel. 

CBXF's Robb responds
If only I had a nickel for every time I've had to defend the Man of Steel in this very same arguement...  Let me first state that yes... you do have some very valid points. As of late, I can't really defend Superman in his self named title. It has been very poor, even with the new creative team taking form, I feel it has been very lackluster. Action Comics has rocked, but not featured Superman in months. So, what can I say?

I'm going to come off as very cliche and say, "There are No bad characters, there are just bad writers." That I firmly believe that. Gail Simone made Catman awesome. CATMAN, and lets not forget Killer Shark, and Bane... all characters who have had some very lame runs. Next I'd argue that MOST of the Batman titles haven't been much to brag about either... in a long time. Batman Inc.? Batman? I feel both of those books have alienated the me as a reader and as of last month, I dropped both books. Now Batman has exceptions and some outstanding titles in its roster as well. Red Robin, Detective Comics, Batgirl, even Batman & Robin has taken a good turn.

Returning to Superman... we all know that the powers that be, kept upgrading Superman through the years to keep him the "best". And in the long run that really hurt him. In recent years, Superman has bounced back and forth in his power levels, depending on writers. But to me, Superman's BEST stories are never ones based on how he punches a villain. The ones where he is discovering his humanity or struggling with no being able to save everyone. But I feel that his powers aren't what makes him Super... its his humanity behind the power.

As for Superman will always win... isn't that the way it is ultimately with every hero?  And actually one of the best Superman's story I ever read was Clark failing to save his father because he was saving others.  But in the end, yes... Even Batman always wins.

I know nothing I can say or write will change someone's mind. A person will like and dislike things for their own personal reasons. I respect that. But I'll use the example that growing up I used to think that the Fantastic Four was the most boring dull group. Why on earth would anyone find them entertaining? My college roommate was even a huge Fantastic Four fan... and I still couldn't get into them. But reading what Jonathan Hickman has been doing on his run... has been awesome. I really believe that the right story and a good writer can make anyone interesting.

PS... I think Metropolis is as much a character to Superman as Gotham is to Batman. Superman is a Symbol to that city too. He needs to have the "city of tomorrow" that Golden Peach that sits in Delaware... (or New York or Connecticut or where ever) Especially when Luthor was a Billionaire, and Superman shows up to challenge him for power in that city. Metropolis will even play a roll in the Legion Of Super-Heroes in the future... it's a true useful character!

No comments:

Post a Comment