Tagged: Man Of Steel

Mindy Newell: The Superman That Should Have Been

You know what they say. Moms. Can’t live without em…

Um. Right.

In honor of all the wonderful women without whom we wouldn’t be here, today’s column is about moms. Specifically, a mom with a kid who happen to have X-ray vision, the power of flight, is invulnerable – you know.

This über-mom, is, of course, Martha Kent, nee Clark.

Martha was a country woman, wife to a farmer. She loved her husband Jonathan, but sometimes she wondered why she married him. The guy never wanted to go anywhere. He had been in the Army and already “seen the world.” Martha read the travel section of the newspaper and dreamed of Paris. They didn’t have any kids, so “the world’s our oyster,” she would tell him. Metropolis was about as far as he would go. Then one day, literally out of the sky blue, a baby boy crashed (also literally) into their lives. Martha’s husband wanted to take the kid to the police, but Martha took just one look into those baby blues and she was hooked. “Uh-uh, Jonathan,” she said to her husband. “We’re just going to mosey on down to the local orphanage, give the kid to them, and come back a few days later to take him home. That way nobody will question how we got a baby when everybody knows in this one-horse town I can’t have one. Sheesh, you can’t pass gas after Sunday dinner without old man Corsino telling everybody in church the next week.”

So that’s what they did. They were lucky nobody else wanted the kid.  (Now that would have been a whole ‘nother story – probably the “imaginary” kind.) In between they went over to the next town where there was a Babies ‘R’ Us and bought a crib and a changing table and boxes of Pampers, the start of going into parenthood hock. They decided to name the kid Clark, ‘cause that was Martha’s maiden name, and also they wanted the boy to be made fun of by all the other kids in school ‘cause Clark is such a dorky name.

A few months later Martha was vacuuming – Jonathan did the laundry, so it was a fair exchange – and went to move the couch, where all the dust bunnies lived. Baby Clark wanted to help mommy, so he picked the couch up. Martha went to the liquor cabinet and poured herself a stiff one.  When Jonathan came back from the lower 40 for lunch, he found an empty bottle of Johnny Walker Red and his wife in a drunken stupor. When she came to she had a hell of a headache and a hell of a story. Jonathan called Doc Newman who told him new mothers are under a lot of stress and to just take it easy with her. The doctor then hung up and called his wife and told her that Martha Kent was nuts.

Mrs. Newman called the Women’s Bible Study Group. At the next meeting Martha wondered if her Arrid Extra Dry had given out, ‘cause everybody was treating her like she had the bubonic plague or something. Except for Mrs. Lang. “I know just what you’re going through, Martha,” she said. “Sometimes I just want to take Lana and throw her out the window.” She gave Martha the number of her psychiatrist and some of her Xanax.  “Just to tide you over until you get an appointment with him, Martha. You’ll love him. The man is simply amazing.”

Martha went home and told her husband that he had a big mouth. Then she said, “I’m going to prove it to you.” Over Jonathan’s objections she woke up Clark, who started crying. She put him down next to the couch. Then she got out the vacuum cleaner and started cleaning.

“C’mon, Clark,” she said to the screaming infant. “Show Daddy how you helped Mommy yesterday.” Clark kept crying, dirtied his diaper and did not cooperate.

By the time Clark was in kindergarten Jonathan had apologized to Martha a million times for not believing her and had even taken her on a trip to Paris to make up for it – bringing Clark along of course, because where the hell could they find a babysitter for a kid who flew? Jonathan wanted to home-school Clark, but Martha said the kid needed “socialization.” Anyway, she got a job as a teacher’s assistant to keep an eye on him.

When Clark was in high school Jonathan didn’t want him to play any sports because he said it would be “unfair,” but Martha told him to shut up and told Clark to go ahead and try out for the football team. “Just don’t score too many touchdowns,” she said. “And let yourself get tackled once in a while.” When the other mothers wanted her to sign a petition banning football because it was “too dangerous,” she told them that football was as American as apple pie. Martha was very proud of Clark, but he had a crush on Lana Lang, who was the daughter of Mrs. Lang. Martha had never forgotten how Mrs. Lang had run around telling everybody that Martha refused to go to her shrink.

So Clark and grew up and became Superman, the Man of Steel, the hero of the world, the embodiment of the American dream of justice for all.

And he owes it all to Mom.

TUESDAY MORNING: Michael Davis Goes Black!

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Emily S. Whitten Loves Deadpool!


Marc Alan Fishman: Lights, Camera, Inaction!

It was inevitable this week, now wasn’t it? All of us true-blue-comic-geeks are reveling in the acclaim and success The Avengers is enjoying. The critics generally liked it. Audiences are eating it up. Mark Ruffalo’s star is rising like Apple after the invention of the iPod. And comic book columnists are dancing in the aisles over it all. Michael Davis wrote a great piece on how the flick is a giant bitch smack to Bruce Wayne and his Brothers Warner masters.

Now I could suggest that, based solely on the sheer brilliance of Nolan’s Bat Films, our resident Master of the Universe (his phrase) isn’t exactly on the money… but why start a fire? Rather than blather for the sake of creating a phony flame war between the king of San Diego Con and this lowly Midwestern cracker, I’ll find my muse in Michael’s throwing of the gauntlet. It’s the idea we’re all thinking; DC could just copy Marvel’s blueprint and rake in the dough. But really, when we dissect that idea, this molehill quickly becomes a mountain. Where to begin? How about with the lynchpin – Superman.

Man Of Steel can set DC on the right path – or just nail the coffin closed. As many have seen with the various leaked set photos, and blurbs being dropped on the interwebs… the movie is assuredly in the vein of Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, where realism is king. The men with the checkbook want results this time. No doubt that influenced all those in on the production to match the tone and soul of Nolan’s films. And the skeptics all agree, the blue Boy Scout should be as gritty as soft-serve and real as well… Superman!

Paul Dini, fifteen plus years ago, got it right. Based solely on some production stills, Zack Snyder isn’t paying attention. Granted I like Snyder a lot, but his last few cinematic efforts (Sucker Punch and the Watchmen) didn’t exactly incite waves of acceptance from the geek nation. It leads me to state the obvious: There’s only so much angst the fan base is willing to accept for the prodigal son of comic books as a whole. Simply put, Superman without a smile is indeed no Superman at all.

Think back, just a week ago, when you were watching The Avengers. Think how many times you laughed out loud, smirked, or just geeked out over a simple fight. Now think of Green Lantern. The proto-franchise out just one summer ago showed just how wrong DC “got it” when it came to the bridge between the pulp and the picture on the big screen. The movie was over-produced, under-written, and a pitiful invitation to celebrate the greater DCU. Don’t believe me? If that movie had lived up to its potential, mark my words, there would be no “New 52.” When Marvel launched the Avengers initiative, they did so with Iron Man. And that movie, nose to tail, was as good as Batman Begins. Hold that up to the boy in the green jeans? Don’t even try.

If DC intends to make their way into the arena to match The Avengers with a multi-franchise comic book based pantheon, they must be mindful of more than just the broad strokes. The House of Mouse was smart enough to hire genuinely good directors and writers to helm their pieces. They chose strong stars. Most important, they spent time developing stories that kept in mind plot, pacing, and fun… more than toy tie-ins. In order to match, or dare I suggest, beat Marvel at their own game, Warner Bros. needs to do more than throw money at the problem. At their very core, they need to trust DC with their product and presentation. That means when the screener gets a bad reaction, you don’t just write a check to increase the CGI budget and hope special effects cover up the plot holes. It means not demanding you gank a style of a successful movie and apply it to a wholly different franchise in hopes of snagging an unsuspecting public.

In other words… do what Marvel did.

DC has truly globally recognized properties in Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman. Second tier talent like Green Lantern and Flash have oodles of untapped potential. DC even boasts a far better villain list. The Chitauri were undeveloped screaming CGI props to be blown up. Darkseid’s parademons are too, but they serve a grander purpose. And Darkseid brings with him InterGang and a slew of lieutenants that add flavor to a generally one-note bowl of soup. The pieces are all on the table, it’s just a matter of taking the time to put them together instead of mashing and taping them. Here’s hoping DC takes the time to realize the potential they have – and make the choice not to squander it for a quick cash-grab.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander


MIXED REVIEW: Glenn and Mike Geek Out Over “The Avengers”

We each saw The Avengers at fan-filled midnight screenings, separately but equally. We tried to avoid any spoilers here, but we can’t guarantee we hit that mark. And, being who we are, there are a couple of teasers in this dialog.

MIKE: Did you see it in 2-D, 3-D, or IMAX?


MIKE: Me too. This was the first movie ever that I can recommend in 3-D.

GLENN: Which is amazing, considering it was upsampled to 3-D. The film was converted to 3-D during post-production for the theatrical release. But it certainly paid off.

MIKE: The 3-D imaging credits were as long as the Manhattan phone book.

GLENN: Someone asked me point blank if The Avengers is the greatest superhero movie of all time. I said I don’t know about that, it has some very tough competition. But hands down, it’s the greatest superhero battle movie of all time. Act Three in particular is just completely packed with the loving destruction of the New York skyline, and in 3-D it’s incredibly staggering. It’s also fast and fun, as compared to the smashing of Chicago in Transformers: Dark Of The Moon… that just felt drawn out and more akin to a disaster movie. Here, it’s battle, action, and a much better feeling of scope and scale.

MIKE: Yes. It was a real superhero battle in the classic Marvel sense: everybody fights each other then gets together to fight the bad guys. And I’ll never be able to look at Grand Central Terminal the same way again.

GLENN: Or the Pan-Am building. Or 387 Park Avenue South, or Marvel’s address on 40th Street. All of that and they didn’t blow up any of DC’s offices. Have we reached detente?

MIKE: Well, they blew up CBS’s first teevee studios. Which is funny, as this was a Paramount movie.

GLENN: Not really a Paramount movie, Disney bought ‘em out but they had to keep the logo on.

MIKE: And, of course, Paramount got a truckload of money and, I’ll bet, a piece.

GLENN: Exactly.

MIKE: Did you notice they hardly ever referred to anybody by their superhero name – other than The Hulk, who is obviously different from Banner, and Thor, who is, obviously, Thor.

GLENN: I think everybody got name-checked at least once.

MIKE: Yeah. Once or twice. Period.


DENNIS O’NEIL: Springtime For Superheroes

DENNIS O’NEIL: Springtime For Superheroes

So how’s the resurrecting going in your neighborhood? Despite a very warm March, it’s pretty much on schedule here in Rockland County. Oh, most of the trees are still barren, but here and there, some of them are getting beleaved; the dogwood in the front yard is growing buds and wow! – the forsythia bush in the back is covered with bright yellow flowers. So fecundity is returning to southern New York and I guess Gaia will make it through another growing season.

I’m thinking of death and resurrection partly because I’m typing this the day after Easter – a real holiday, this, because it acknowledges and celebrates something real and vital, the aforementioned fecundity. The proof, I guess, is that it – the return of the fecund – is reflected in a lot of myth/religion, the area in which we humans often attend to stuff like this. Give a quick Google to Persephone, Osiris, Adonis if you doubt. (Am I leaving a name off that list? An obvious name? Ummmm….) And don’t forget that the word itself – “Easter” – is derived from the name of a pagan goddess of fertility, Eostre.

For a while now, I’ve had an unparsed and maybe dunderheaded notion that the history of comics recapitulates the history of religion (the way ontogeny is supposed to recapitulate phylogeny?) Maybe I’ll someday do something with the idea, maybe not, but for our present purposes I’m happy to remind you that resurrection is not a stranger to comic books, though sometimes it has been more reincarnation than resurrection. I have (he said, thrusting out his chest) personally presided over the demise of Jason Todd, a.k.a. Robin The Second and, editing Marvel’s Daredevil when Frank Miller was doing the title, the very thorough scragging of Elektra and behold! – both characters are back in business, seemingly unharmed by their stays in the afterlife.

Superman is probably comics’ best known resurrectee. His fans know that, in a long, much-crossed-over storyline that appeared in the early 90s, our favorite Man of Steel was put down by the villainous Doomsday and later revived by a visit to the regeneration matrix in his Fortress of Solitude. (Should I have prefaced that last sentence with a spoiler alert? Sorry…)

Superman may be the numero uno returner-to-life in the DC Comics universe, but there are others, including Green Arrow, the Flash, Donna Troy, Elongated Man, Green Lantern…You might want to complete the list yourself.

Across town, in Marvel’s universe, the death of Jean Gray, known as Dark Phoenix, was a big deal in the X-Men saga and generated some pretty a deluge of fan mail from – brace for it! – die hard fans. I’ve already told you about Elektra. Again, the list can undoubtedly be amplified.

There are pros and cons to this reviving the dead and they might be worth a longer discussion. Maybe later. For now…get your nose out of the damn comic book and look out the window. The dogwood’s blooming!

RECOMMENDED READING: The Superman stories mentioned above are available in book collections that your comics shop or online book purveyor will be happy to sell.

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases Takes Us From To Kill a Mockingbird to Mein Kampf


MIKE GOLD: Truth, Justice, and the American Way

Well, I suppose it was inevitable.

After all, the American Nazis objected to Heimdall being played by a black man in last year’s Thor movie. To swing 180 degrees in the opposite direction, many Asian groups objected to the casting of a European in the role of a Eurasian in the play Miss Saigon. They felt that the part should have gone to an Asian and not to a Eur.

There are numerous examples of this, and some attracted justifiable outrage. I’m not too certain about the Miss Saigon thing: the character is Eurasian but Asians are woefully underrepresented on western stages. The Thor thing is just completely stupid: Heimdall is Asgardian and not Teutonic, and the American Nazis are assholes.

Several thousand white actors have been cast as American Indians in several hundred (at least) motion pictures, and that’s simply wrong. We should have grown out of that, yet for the past several years I’ve been involved in a comics project that stars an American Indian lead but has been “unsellable” to Hollywood because they “can’t find” an acceptable American Indian actor. Besides, there are none who could carry a movie.

So I’m not surprised to see the beginnings of … let’s say discomfort … at the casting of a British actor in the lead role of this summer’s Man of Steel. Truth, Justice, and the American Way, right? Superman lives in Metropolis, which is in or near Kansas, and you can’t get more American than that, right? Hollywood is pushing its internationalist agenda down our throats again, right?

Well, no. That’s not right. Superman is not American, he’s Kryptonian. Clark Kent is American, but he’s not the guy referred to in the title Man of Steel. Clark Kent is a disguise. Kal-El is Superman, and he wasn’t born here.

In fact, he’s an illegal immigrant.

I don’t get bent out of shape over characters not being portrayed by actors of the same nationality or race. It’s called “acting.” Look it up in the dictionary. Should only white people be cast as characters originally conceived as white people? Tell that to Jeffrey Wright. James Bond wasn’t born in Scotland, but Sean Connery was. Johnny Depp is playing Tonto, and that’s just too weird to be right or wrong.

And Kabuki? Hello – men playing all the female roles? Orson Welles cast himself in the lead role in Othello and then he cast black actors in all the other roles in Shakespeare’s ditty, and then they performed Othello in Harlem!


The fault of extremist thinking on both sides is that people jump at the symptoms and ignore the issues. The real issue is the underrepresentation of minorities in our media, and that’s an issue that is slowly being addressed. Should we never make a Charlie Chan movie ever again because white actors had played the Hawaiian detective, most notably a performer from Sweden. But nobody complains about the current incarnation of Hawaii 5-O even though the two Hawaiian detectives in that show are played by actors of Korean descent.

Grow up and let actors act. And let’s level the casting stage. Right now.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil


MICHAEL DAVIS: Why I Still Like the New 52!

Because Marc Alan Fishman doesn’t.

A few days ago Marc wrote that he doesn’t like the New 52 and he took me to task over a few things I wrote in my Why I Like The New 5 article last week.

It seems that Marc, or he who is Dead To Me, or simply Dead To Me as I now call him, doesn’t think DC went far enough with the reboot.

I said in my article that I liked a lot of the books but what I really liked about the New 52 is that DC had the balls to do it in the first place. I also said that as fans of the DCU it would be hard to satisfy everyone with the massive undertaking.

A lot of people hate the New 52. I get that. It’s easy to hate from the sidelines. I do it, you do it, everybody does it. My point was, love it or hate it you have to respect the people that put it all on the line to do it. A lot of people don’t think that matters because to them it sucks and it will always suck because change is bad.

Change sucks. The DC comic reboots sucks. I suck for liking the DC comic reboots. And let me not forget to the GOP, Obama sucks.

Mar…  I mean Dead To Me, thinks the reboot was an easy out. He thinks DC didn’t go far enough.

Really? Let’s see how you would have rebooted the DCU. You who are Dead To Me. Here’s how I would have done it.


I’d make Batman black and call him Black-Man. He became Black-Man because his parents were shot in a drive-by on their way to Yale where they were both professors of Black History. Oh, I bet you thought his parents were walking in the projects looking for some drugs or some other stereotypical black bullshit storyline.

No! In my DCU there will be no stereotypes.  So Leroy Washington son of Ray Ray and Shaiqua Washington becomes Black-Man!

The Justice League

I’d make the Justice League black and call them the Malcolm X-Men.


I’d make Hawkman black and call him Black Hawkman.

Black Canary

What do you think I’d do? I mean, duh.

Green Lantern

I’d make GL black. His name will be John Stewart and his secret identity will be a talk show host.

The Flash

I’d keep the Flash white. I mean a black guy with super speed? Ron Paul would have a field day with that. “If you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be.” Ron Paul said that. Now just imagine if the Flash was black. Nah; I’m keeping Barry Allen a white guy but I’m making him a teen-age criminal who robs people and runs away.


He would stay white too. Everyone knows black people don’t swim…duh.

Wonder Woman

I’d make WW my flagship book. Why make it my flagship book? To make it clear Michael Davis’ DCU avoids racial and any other stereotypical depictions.For my reboot, I’d make Wonder Woman black. Hell ,in my book she’s already a black woman. She doesn’t take any shit and she’s got a banging booty.

So, Dead To Me, where is your DC reboot? My reboot only features classic characters and it’s taken me 10 years to come up with this new universe. Yes, I started 10 years ago when it was crystal clear to all in the industry that I was going to become head of DC.

After waking up I decided to work on the universe anyway and I’m glad I did because it has certainly come in handy today wouldn’t you say? Yes, 10 years of hard work, research, toil and trouble. I lost a wife with my unwavering commitment to redoing the DCU. Well, actually I was going to call it the MDCU but that’s beside the point.

The point is this type of universe building or rebuilding takes some serious balls not serious eggs like you wrote in your column when you thought you were being clever and used Spanish…wrongly.

It’s obvious you don’t regard research as something you need to do when you create something.

Eggs? Really?

So. I await your universe. If you think it’s so easy let’s see you put the time and effort into it and in 10 years we can talk about it. Or you can knock something out by next week because you don’t have the discipline to take the time to do it right.

I’ll leave you what I would do with DC’s biggest character and the biggest challenge for any DC universe do over, the Man Of Steel…


I would make Superman black and call him Icon.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold kicks it up a notch